Growing Natives Garden Tour 2010

Bel Estos Drive Garden (4 photos)

Garden #63, San Jose


Showcase Features: This large corner lot is in the fourth year of a multi-year conversion from thirsty non-native plantings to low-water native plantings designed to attract wildlife. Last year, 2000 sq ft of lawn and a large magnolia tree were removed. New plantings include bush anenome, sierra golden currant, island alum root, pink-flowering currant, manzanitas, ceanothus, western redbud, chaparral pea, mock orange, spice bush, coffeeberry, monkeyflowers, penstemon, California fuchsia, sage, buckwheats, and several types of grasses and annual wildflowers. Young valley oak and madrone are insignificant now, but will dominate the space over time.

Other Garden Attractions: Chaparral mallow, alum root, hummingbird sage, California fuchsia, manzanita and ceanothus are located in the side yard planted the first year. The side of the house is screened by silver bush lupine, creambush, coffeeberry, pink-flowering currant and toyon. A young buckeye flanks the curving path to the sitting area. Across the path, a large boulder provides another nice focal point, with a small depression that can conveniently trap a bit of rainfall for the birds. Nearby, a small solar fountain bubbles up through a stone set at ground level. A resident hummingbird uses it frequently for bathing. The south fence and arbor shade the sitting area, with espaliered Catalina currant, wild grape, and a number of potted succulents softening the structure.

Parking strips planted in the second year range from heavy shade to full sun. Ferns, snowberry, phacelia, California goldenrod, nightshade, manzanita, deer weed, monkeyflowers, several bunch grasses, buckwheat, and dwarf lupines were selected for low height to protect sight lines for traffic while being compatible with the site and attracting native bees and birds. Native California bulbs thrive in these un-irrigated areas, and annual wildflowers provide a show each spring.

Gardening for Wildlife: Many birds and insects frequent the garden, including hummingbirds, yellow-rumped warblers, house finches, mourning doves, spiders, crickets, honeybees, carpenter bees, ladybugs, and figeater beetles. Western fence lizards enjoy the many rocks in the garden. Seedheads are left to provide food, and a small solar fountain provides water for birds.

Years of CA Native Gardening at this Location: 4

Garden Size: 3650 sq ft

Designer: Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds, and homeowner
Installer: Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds

Click here to download the plant list in PDF format (from year 2009).

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