Rick and Monica Alatorre’s garden – #3


Lot size: 99% natives in front, 60% natives in back garden

Garden Age: Native plant garden was installed in stages, beginning in 2002

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 7

Showcase feature:

The tapestry of color found in a wonderful palette of natives provides aesthetic appeal. A robust coffeeberry and four kinds of mature manzanitas provide structure and greenery throughout the year. Swaths of rosy buckwheat brighten the garden in late summer. This lovely garden, designed and installed by Rick, owner of Alatorre Garden Design, brims with color from February through September.

alatorre05 Other garden attractions:

  • Weeds are controlled with dense plantings and by sheet mulching— newspaper and cardboard covered by wood chips (provided free by arborists).
  • Bring your children! Reclaimed school room chalkboards grace the garden, and are open for use on the day of the Tour.
  • The modest back lawn is irrigated with Netafim Techline, a subsurface irrigation product.

alatorre14 Gardening for Wildlife:

This spring, hummingbirds nested in the garden, delighting the family’s children. Butterflies, hoverflies, ladybugs and other beneficial insects regularly visit the garden. Thirteen species of butterflies flutter about. Some of them now lay their eggs in the garden, and four species of caterpillar thrive here. These creatures are attracted to the shelter provided by dense plantings, the variety of flowers, and the fallen leaves (which aren’t raked up). Birdbaths and the sound of water falling from a small fountain attract a variety of birds. Crickets bring a graceful end to the day, their soft chirping wafting through garden.

Garden Talks:

Garden Talks:  11:00 and 2:00 “How to select native plants for your garden” by Rick Alatorre, and 12:00 and 3:00 “How to plan and install a sub-surface irrigation system” by Kim Titus from The Urban Farmer

Lush lawns giving way to water-friendly meadows

Plant list

More photos: