Corinne Sera’s Groveland Garden
CNPS Garden Ambassador: Corinne Sera
Observe areas at different times of the year. An area that is hot and dry in the summer can become a swamp with winter rains.
Corinne has always had a love and concern for wildlife. She grew to understand that plants are the foundation for wildlife, and native plants are best suited to fill their shelter and food needs. In 2005, when she purchased her home she realized that she could finally create a wildlife habitat. She has loved making a difference with her garden. By sharing her story, she hopes to inspire others to create their own native gardens for wildlife and pollinators.
Corinne’s favorite California native plants
- Sage (Salvia)—I love the smell when brush by them
- Ceanothus (Ceanothus)—I love the flowers
- California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense)—I love to see the visiting pollinators
- Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)—I removed non-natives to help this naturally growing plant to spread rapidly. I let the plant go to seed for the quail to feast on.
Garden Location: Front and back yard
Garden Size: 5,900 sqft. garden | 200 sqft. pond | 200 sqft. pollinator patch
Year Planted: 2014
Lawn Removal: I initially used herbicide to clear the area when planting my meadow. I mulched, hand-pulled, and string-clipped for weed control on the remaining areas.
Design and Installation: I collaborated with a landscape architect on the initial planting of the main garden, the dry creek and the frog pond. Since then, I do all my own design, planting and maintenance.
Style Inspiration: Cottage gardens
Go-to Native Plant Nurseries: Solomon Gardens (Sonora), Yerba Buena Nursery (Half Moon Bay), and Las Pilitas Nursery (Santa Margarita)
Irrigation: I water two or three times a week in the heat of summer and while plants are establishing. Once plants are mature, I only need to water once a month in the summer. My large native garden has no drip and I water plant on as need basis.
Maintenance: I maintain the garden daily
Wildlife Spotted: Too many birds to list! I have several nest boxes that have been used every year by blue birds and flycatchers. I also have seen Sierra tree frogs, unfortunately bull frogs, deer, raccoons fox, chipmunks, several types of snakes, European and native bees, grey squirrels, one scared bear, coyote…also voles, ground squirrels and gophers that I do trap sadly.
Favorite Element: Native rye grass meadow
Biggest Challenge: Determining the right plant for the right spot (design element) while at the same time determining the right spot for the individual plant (the optimal spot that will meet all the plants need and wants)
Advice: Pay close attention to the amount of sunlight provided to a particular spot. Also, notice the drainage and soil. A few feet can make a huge difference in the elements of sun, water, and soil condition. In addition, observe areas at different times of the year. An area that is hot and dry in the summer can become a swamp with winter rains.
California native plants in Corinne’s garden
- Blue Jeans California lilac (Ceonothus ‘Blue Jeans’)
- Joyce Coulter California lilac (Ceonothus ‘Joyce Coulter’)
- Emily Brown California lilac (Ceonothus gloriosus ‘Emily Brown’)
- Howard McMinn manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Howard McMinn‘)
- Sentinel manzanita(Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Sentinel’)
- Sunset manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Sunset’)
- Purple Haze California Aster (Aster chilensis ‘Purple Haze’)
- Pigeon Point coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ssp. pilularis ‘Pigeon Point’)
- Twin Peaks coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
- Chaparral currant (Ribes malvaceum)
- White sage (Salvia apiana)
- Pozo Blue sage (Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’)
- Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)
- Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora)
- Hummingbird sage (Salvia spathacea)
- Blue oak (Quercus douglasii)
- Lagunita wild rye (Elymus tritcoides ‘Lagunita’)
- Indian rhubarb (Darmera peltata)
- Soft rush (Juncus effusus)
- Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)