Going Native Garden Tour 2019

Meadowlands Garden (17 photos from 2016)

Garden #1, San Jose


Showcase Features: This garden has been cultivated for over 20 years, starting from a lifeless patch of subsoil, stripped bare during the house construction in 1996. Initially it was planted as a mix of native and exotic drought-tolerant plants. From about the year 2000 onwards, only native plants were added. Currently, the garden is at least 95% CA native, and boasts a collection of over 300 species and cultivars of CA natives. The main feature of the garden is a large collection of California lilacs (ceanothus), with over 60 different species and cultivars, most of them having grown to mature size. Ceanothus seedlings have volunteered in the garden in recent years; most of them are unique hybrids, and about 50 of these have reached flowering stage. The ceanothus blooming season starts with maritime and big pod ceanothus (and their local hybrids) in mid-January and ending with lakeside ceanothus in June. The garden also includes smaller, but growing collections of manzanitas, dudleyas, buckwheats, mallows, salvias, and oaks. Many other uncommon species can be found in this garden, such as bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida), desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), Mexican flannel bush (Fremontodendron mexicanum), saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis), Fernald's iris, coyote ceanothus (C. ferrisiae) and others. Heavy clay soil provides one of the challenges. The garden was designed, installed and is maintained by the homeowners who are passionate about native plants.

Other Garden Attractions: The garden features mostly plants that are clay-tolerant, but the fairly steep slope in the back makes it possible to grow plants requiring good drainage, such as flannel bushes. The lower portion of the backyard, where standing water has been observed during El Nino years, has became a home to a forest of coyote bushes, some reaching tree sizes. In the lowest portion of the yard, a Fremont poplar planted in 2003 has reached about 60 feet in height.

Gardening for Wildlife: The wide variety of native plans and large brush piles attract numerous wildlife. Visitors include jackrabbits, skunks, lizards, frogs, toads, snakes and many birds and insects. Several years ago, a covey of California quail made its home in the thickets of Atriplex lentiformis and other low-growing shrubs; the quail family can be usually heard and seen whenever one walks down the switchback path in the backyard.

Years of CA Native Gardening at this Location: 21

Garden Size: 1 acre

Designer: Homeowners
Installer: Homeowners

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#Meadowlands_GNGT (this garden)