Summertime around here at Habitat Corridor Projects are busy! We have installed quite a few wonderful demonstration gardens and are trying to find ways to get more folks switching their water thirsty boring traditional gardens over to vibrant and biodiverse California native ones. We are so excited to share 8 sets of plans including irrigation and fun ways to save water at our LivingLearningLandscapes.com project. Check out that website too.
Right now we are tending the demonstration gardens which means weeding, weeding, weeding. It’s so great we had such a wet winter and our plants are so happy but so are the weeds. We could use some help if you are interested in a fun way to learn, get your workout on, and meet some really fun people. Our gardening group has SUCH a wealth of information between them – I look forward to the workdays. Right now they are every Friday at different spots. email me april@habitatcorridorproject to find out more!
1808 Albany Drive is planted, irrigated and ready for the icing – mulch! Please visit the website LivingLearningLandscapes.com to learn more about this exciting multi-agency project. Free plans, pretty demonstration gardens, and a ton of biodiversity!
It is all about biodiversity- a big word that drives all of our work here at the Habitat Corridor Project. Yes,there are plants from other places in the world that are great for saving water and providing nectar for non-native pollinators; however, co-evolution of California’s flora with its fauna is one of the most compelling reasons for growing California native plants in your garden and supporting their continued presence in our urban environment.
Though many commonly used garden plants can supply nectar to bees, butterflies, and other insects- native plants do it just right - the right timing, the right nutritional content, the right floral structure. They have done this for a long, long time and it is important to protect their place in our urban landscapes.
We have a California native for every one of your favorites:
Lavender - use Salvia clevelandii (California Sage)
Privet or other edging shrubs - use our beautiful Rhamnus californica (Coffeeberry)
Camellia - use Ribes sanguineum (Flowering Currant)
Fountain Grass - use Muhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass) or California Wild Rye (Leymus condensatus)
Please email us with your plant and we will find a California native substitute:) firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Extremes of Drought Tolerance: Desert and Coastal Plant Communities – Gardening by plant community is important because these plants have evolved together. West of Hwy 101 many can use the coastal plant community East desert plants are well adapted to heat and no water for long periods of time.
The plants of California can fit in any design style from English Cottage Garden to Modern. We at the Habitat Corridor Project don’t stick to one style but a few elements are consistently in our gardens.
Boulders – big ones, flat ones to hold water for pollinators, small ones for swales and pathways. Mossy, smooth, granite, sandstone – we love them all.
Swales – keep water on site any way you can. California only gets seasonal rainfall so we try to make it an experience in the garden as well as sink it in to recharge the aquifer. Infiltration basins are an easy way to create a rain garden. Start with 2-4′ hole, add drain rock to about 4″ below existing soil level, then add some big boulders and rocks to make it pretty on top. We like to tie in down spouts off the roof or put these at the end of a swale. Add water loving native plants like Juncus and Equisetum.
Plant masses – even in a small garden when you plant 3 or more of the same species of plant together it creates more habitat and soothes the eye creating an elegant garden even in a small space. Some favorites: Mass Muhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass) with Salvia clevelandii (Cleveland’s Sage) , the tan tone of the grass with the gorgeous dark purple blooms on the sage is a year round pleasure; Mass Festuca californica (California Fescue) with Mimulus aurantiacus (Monkey Flower), the grass provides support and a bit of shelter for the orange flowering perennial.
Less is more – use less species and more of each one to create a professionally composed garden. Unless you just love plants and have a collector’s garden which we understand too!
Please use these drought tolerant and California native plant plans to rebuild your landscape hopefully better than before. A year in the making they are wonderfully biodiverse and suitable to Sonoma County in most areas …. actually in ALL areas! **
Our community has been hit hard by the Sonoma County Fires and we at the Habitat Corridor Project are devastated to see such loss in our community. We are working hard to produce some open source plans and information to help create safe landscapes. California native plants are vital in this rebuilding effort. Stay tuned for typical residential, large scale residential, and industrial landscapes that are fire resistant and biodiversity rich.
There is hope, we will rebuild – but let’s do it right.
It is finally in! After a long wait for our sheet mulching to work we’ve finally added phase one and phase two plantings. Just need to give these little plants some time and let them grow over a hopefully wet winter. There will be additional plantings as we go along and plants become available.
I stumbled upon this wonderful resource for sustainable landscaping from the Russian River Watershed nonprofit. It’s beautiful how powerful a group of people can be to change the planet. Nonprofits are so great! FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THEIR INFORMATIONAL .PDF
Fall is the perfect time for planting most California natives. This week we put in the second phase planting at our largest demonstration garden to date. A beautiful perennial meadow of that will be a buzzing lively habitat garden in a few months. Even as I was watering the plants in a few lovely butterflies and bees showed up to see what was new.
The plants are beautiful and come from California Flora Nursery in Fulton, California.