Growing Natives Garden Tour 2017

Piedmont Hills Garden (18 photos)

Garden #43, San Jose


Showcase Features: In 2015 in the midst of the drought the homeowners renovated both their front and backyard landscaping. Lawns were removed in favor of a natural look with emphasis on habitats for local wildlife. Hardscaping included the removal of a large Mayten tree that uplifted a concrete patio. Parts of the Mayten tree branches and roots were kept for aesthetics. The new hardscaping includes permeable pavers and flagstone surfaces with drainage into dry wells, a pergola, and large boulders that hold up an uphill slope. Two water features were added; a pond-less creek with waterfalls in the back and a bubbling boulder in the front. In the fall 2015 the landscaping was planted with numerous California natives. The Water District rebate helped offset the cost of the new plants. In the spring of 2016 the next door neighbor also converted his front yard to California native and Mediterranean plants, so now they have a contiguous front yard area anchored by three Louis Edmunds manzanitas and a mix of native shrubs, perennials and annuals. Video Link:

Other Garden Attractions: There is a front patio garden which is a good example of small space native gardening. A native hedge row along the back fence is anchored by a Coast Live Oak surrounded by Toyons, Blue Elderberry, Holly Leaf Cherry, Coffeeberries, Chaparral Currant, Ceanothus Ray Hartman, and Chaparral Mallows, with an understory of Sticky Monkey Flowers and CA Fuchsia.

Gardening for Wildlife: The first summer the homeowners noticed a significant increase in activity with birds, butterflies, bees, and lizards. There were native bees that were seen for the first time and hummingbirds fighting over the best CA Fuchsias. When the CA buckwheat is in bloom, it is full of both native and European bees collecting nectar. Monarchs, Painted Ladies, and Swallow Tails are attracted to the Milkweed and other flowers. It's not uncommon to see multiple species of birds fighting for the best spots on the front boulder bubbler. The same goes for the Blue Elderberry tree. Birds love these berries when they are ripe in summer. With abundant insects lizards can be seen scrambling around the yard and hiding under brush or rocks.

Garden Talk: Every hour beginning at 10am with the last one at 3pm, by the homeowner who designed and installed the garden

Years of CA Native Gardening at this Location: 2

Garden Size: 3000-4000 sq.ft

Designer: Homeowner, with ideas from Annaloy Nickum and contributors from Gardening With Natives Yahoo Group
Installer: Homeowner

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