Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour

This weekend, May 2nd and 3rd, is the "Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour" here in the East Bay. I went last year and have to say the gardens are a mixed bag. Some are awe-inspiring, like the Fleming garden that I had the privilege of seeing a week ago. The front area (1st picture) has northern exposure and is shaded by redwoods and other trees. The back (2nd picture) is very sunny.

Others gardens on the tour are not so inspiring. I was disappointed with some of the gardens last year because they looked kind of rangy and unkempt. They don't have to be, and unfortunately those types of gardens are exactly why many people are hesitant to plant natives.

One of my personal favorites last year, aside from the Fleming garden, was the UC Berkeley native bee garden. My cousin was helping with the research and gave me some info on the native bees here in the East Bay. There are some 80+ bee species native to the Bay Area. Who knew? And they of course prefer native plants. Another pic from the Fleming garden, sedum spilling over the rocks.


  1. I agree that the Fleming garden is amazing and it's in a large part because the garden actually gets maintenance, like other showcase gardens, in contrast to many of the plant and walk away gardens on the tour. The Fleming garden is the one on the tour that makes people want to plant California natives even if they are not in or from California.

  2. Couldn't agree more about the rangy gardens turning people off to planting natives. It seems like we're on the cusp of a science and preservation-based genre moving towards a visually palatable design decision. It's up to us to get us there! Thanks for the post!