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The theme of this virtually 100% California native hillside garden is the wealth of garden-worthy native plants local to Marin County that can create a beautiful and diverse garden landscape. The vast majority of the approximately 200 species of plants in this garden are California natives that grow in the wild in Marin County.  The garden is sectioned into different habitats that include riparian/woodland slope, coastal shrub, dry meadow, brushy meadow, hedgerow and chaparral.

•    Attracts Pollinators and Birds – One of the joys of the native garden is the return of beneficial insects and bees.  With the huge and sudden decline of European honeybee pollinators, California native bees are the pollinators of last resort.  Native bees flourish among the wide variety of flowering plants in this garden.  A variety of butterflies visits the garden for nectar and larval plants.  Insects, nectar, seeds, berries and protective cover also attract a variety of birds, including Bewick’s wrens, scrub jays, ruby-crowned kinglets, juncos, towhees, golden-crowned sparrows and Anna’s Hummingbirds.

•    Woodland Slope – A dry creek bed and path wander down the slope among California currant, scarlet monkey flower, red twig dog wood, creambush, elk’s clover, salal, California myrtle, solomon’s seal, coastal irises and a variety of ferns and Spring ephemerals are among the many native riparian plants found in this area.

•    Dry Meadow – A dry meadow features drought tolerant grasses, perennials and a few shrubs. It also features a variety of annual wildflowers that are sown annually to supplement those that reseeded from the previous year.  Most showy are the clarkias that come in many shades of pink and red.

•    Hedgerow – One side of the garden is planted with large native shrubs that form a hedgerow that provides cover for birds.

•    Declining Water Use – Grouping plants by habitat results in more efficient irrigation and lower water usage. Plants in the most drought tolerant zones receive no supplemental water after they are established. Drip irrigation is used throughout the garden except for the dry meadow.  Plants in the chaparral and hedgerow areas have been completely weaned off of irrigation.

•    Virtually No Fertilizers or Soil Amendments – Because most California natives are happiest without much fertilizer and soil amendments, this garden uses no continuing applications of fertilizer.  During planting only a small amount of soil amendment was worked into the soil to lighten up the clay/chert soil and a small amount of organic fertilizer was added.

•     No Pesticides or Fungicides – California natives are adapted to surviving and, if happy, thriving in Marin without pesticides and fungicides.  The variety of plants and habitats in this garden attract a large variety of beneficial insects and birds that maintain a natural balance in the garden. Nature is allowed to take its course rather than resorting to chemical warfare, and nature’s course in this varied ecosystem has favored this benign neglect.