Going Native Garden Tour 2019

GreerDucky (23 photos)

Garden #53, Palo Alto


Showcase Features: An ordinary small front yard made extraordinary because of native plants. The house is a rental, and the yard was reborn with hard work, ingenuity, and use of rebate program funding. The gardener (the tenant) convinced the Santa Clara Valley Water District to remove the invasive 60-year-old ivy on the fence bordering the yard and the creek, for free, as part of a creek mitigation effort. The yard also was full of weeds including crabgrass and oxalis. All of it is gone now due to mulching and weeding. Rebates covered most of the other costs. The total cost to the property owner: $0. Tenants and homeowners will be inspired by the before pictures contrasted with the current vibrant, wildlife magnet garden anchored by a long-blooming island tree mallow. Manzanita, Ceanothus and coyote bush provide a green lush look all year. Last year's updates include a buckeye and chaparral currant by the driveway, toyon, mountain mahogany and desert willow along the creek side, and a monkeyflower and several variety of buckwheat in the center areas. The neighbors love the cottage-style garden, and the gardener is hoping to inspire others.

The conversion has been expanded to the backyard as well. The main attraction is a wildflower meadow which is beloved by pollinators especially the native bumblebee. Pink flowering currant, coffeeberry, blue elderberry, western redbud, cream bush, holly-leaf cherry and toyon are along the fences. In the center, a quarter-circle shaped melic grass meadow, accented by blue-eyed grass and a young bladderpod, shares the space with John Dourley manzanita, showy island snapdragon, and Cleveland sage. Yarrow, hummingbird sage, seaside daisy, Douglas iris, and sunflower daisy provide additional seasonal color. Snowberry and yerba buena enjoy the shade of the house. A natural, mulched path edged by river rocks, meanders throughout the backyard.

The newest features, started in 2019, are a Dudleya potted container area and a small nursery for mallows and buckeyes. Every visitor to the garden is welcome to take a free buckeye or mallow seedling -- there are about 60 of each and all left over will be given away at 4pm.

Other Garden Attractions: The big feature in the spring, when the winter rains have been good, is the spectacular wildflower display in the backyard, started from seeds purchased from Larner Seeds. Visitors are encouraged to take photos and videos and post them on social media (please use the hashtags at the top of this page)!

The #GreerDucky_GNGT garden has been featured 2 years in a row by the Palo Alto Weekly.
2019: Going Native Garden Tour showcases 53 Peninsula gardens that require minimal maintenance. Photos: click here.
2018: Going native - Annual garden tour celebrates native plants. Photos: click here.

The gardener is a designated CNPS "Garden Ambassador" and the #GreerDucky garden has a webpage on the state organization's website here: Cynthia Typaldos' Palo Alto Garden

A note from Cynthia (garden owner/renter): "I would like to thank Marie Jasinsky of Zell Associates, the property manager, for partnering with me on the creekside ivy removal and the front garden installation. Also, many thanks to the owner who not only has let me completely renovate the landscape, but who originally suggested replacing the lawn."

PSA: Clean public restrooms one block away in Henry W. Seale Park.

Gardening for Wildlife: This is a wildlife magnet. Matadero Canal runs next to the house, a birdbath and al butterfly bath offer fresh water. A large variety of flowering species bring insects and provide nectar, berries and seeds throughout the year.

Years of CA Native Gardening at this Location: 7

Garden Size: 3100

Designer: Renter, Earthcare Landscaping, Agi Kehoe Landscaping
Installer: Renter, Earthcare Landscaping, Agi Kehoe Landscaping

Click here to display the plant list in a printer-friendly format.

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Hashtags: #gngt2019, #goingnativegardentour

#GreerDucky_GNGT (this garden)