East Bay Garden Ambassador’s Garden

CNPS East Bay Garden Ambassador

CNPS East Bay Chapter 
Garden Location:  Front yard
Garden Size:  1200 square feet
Year Planted: 2014


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Photos courtesy of CNPS Garden Ambassador


Over time I discovered that some of my original plants did not perform well […] I had to identify more appropriate plants to replace them. In the process, I learned a lot about caring for native plants and identifying ones more suitable for my area.

This CNPS Garden Ambassador is a working professional who has learned more about native plants in his free time. They enjoy knowing the the plants in his garden thrive in the are naturally. This gardener feels that through their garden they contribute to the local ecosystem, highlights the beauty of native plants, and welcomes beneficial insects while significantly reducing their water use. Doing so has attracted numerous guests, both six-legged and two-legged to enjoy his garden. Several species of butterflies frequently visit, including a few that live and breed in the garden. Neighbors pass by their garden and will often ask about the garden. They enjoy connecting their neighbors to native gardening and sharing their experience transforming his garden.

Favorite California native plants

  • Artemisia california (California Sagebrush) ’Montara’
  • Ribes sanguineum glutinosum (Pink-flowered Current)
  • Arctostaphylos edmunsii (Manzanita) ’Big Sur’

About the garden

Garden Location:  Front yard

Garden Size:  1200 square feet

Year Planted:  2014

Lawn Removal:  After pulling out Bermuda grass, we removed moved lawn with sod cutter. Then we flipped cut sod over and added top soil to form mounds.

Design and Installation:  Annaloy Nickum provided the original design. A landscaper did the original installation and since then I have added my own changes. Pete Veilleux and Jane Burgunder have provided great design advice as well.

Style Inspiration:  Initially, I was inspired by Annaloy’s beautiful native landscapes online. Over time, I added more low growing plants, which integrate better with my neighboring gardens and remind me of the coastal sage scrub habitat nearby.

Go-to Native Plant Nursery:  East Bay Wilds in Oakland

Irrigation:  I do not have to water many of my established plants at all. Some I water every 3-4 weeks in the summer/fall. I also use a drip system along with hand-watering.

Maintenance:  I make time to maintain the garden weekly.

Wildlife Spotted: Several species of bees and butterflies frequent my garden as well as birds, especially hummingbirds. I frequently see the Acmon Blue butterfly – I believe my buckwheats host the larvae.

Favorite Element:  I enjoy the shady area near my kitchen windows lush with various plants, including flowering current, coral bells, columbine, snowberry, and ferns

Biggest Challenge and Advice: Over time I discovered that some of my original plants did not perform well. Either they grew too large or did not thrive because they were endemic from cooler, moister climates. Consequently, I had to identify more appropriate plants to replace them. In the process, I learned a lot about caring for native plants and identifying ones more suitable for my area.

California native plants in the garden

Austin Griffiths Manzanita (Arctostaphylos ‘Austin Griffith’)
Sentinel Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Sentinel’)
Big Sur Manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmunsii ‘Big Sur’)
Louis Edmunds Baker’s Manzanita (Arctostaphylos bakeri ‘Louis Edmunds’)
John Dourley (Arctostaphylos ‘John Dourley’)
Tom’s Point Bearberry Manzanita (Artcostaphylos uva-ursi ‘Tom’s Point’)
Montara Sagebrush (Artemisia californica ‘Montara’)
Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum)
Twin Peaks No. 2 Dwarf Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
Ruby Chalice Clarkia (Clarkia rubicunda)
Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
Everett’s Choice California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum ‘Everett’s Choice’) 
Wayne’s Silver Fuchsia (Epilobium septentrionale ‘Wayne’s Silver’)
UC Hybrid California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum ‘UC Hybrid’)
Beach Aster Wayne Roderick (Erigeron glaucus ‘Wayne Roderick’)
Sea Breeze Seaside Daisy (Erigeron glaucus ‘Sea breeze’)
Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (Eriogonum arborescens)
Saffron Buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum)
Red Buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens)
Sulfur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum)
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Moonglow California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica ‘Moonglow’)
Canyon Snow Iris (Iris ‘Canyon Snow’)
Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana)
Catherine de la Mare Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Catherine de la Mare’)
Coffeeberry (Frangula californica)
Pink-Flowered Current (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum)
Catalina Currant (Ribes viburnifolium)
Jelly Bean Orange Monkeyflower (Mimulus ‘Jelly Bean Orange’)
Dara’s Choice Sage (Salvia ‘Dara’s Choice’)
Figueroa Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla ‘Figueroa’)
Point Sal Sage (Salvia leucophylla ‘Point Sal’)
Creeping Sage (Salvia sonomensis)
Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea)
Dune Tansy (Tanacetum bipinnatum)
Woolly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum)
De La Mina Verbena (Verbena lilacina ‘De la Mina’)
Giant Western Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata)

CNPS Horticulture Team

One Comment

  1. I recently discovered this site. Wonderful! As a horticultural consultant I like to give my clients Native plant options as much as possible.

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