North Beach ethnobotany garden

This North Beach garden is designed by homeowner with a special focus on ethnobotanical specimens and pollinator habitat especially for butterflies

When started: 2006

Neighborhood: North Beach clay soil & sunny weather

Notable features: There is one seep in one corner. Next door neighbor who permitted us to garden there for a while has 3 seeps, so have experimented with keystone (willow) and edible
native plants in the seeps.

Favorite plants – Keystone plant: Salix (in the seep); Edible plants Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea), Yerba buena (Clinopodium douglasii), native salvias, Viola adunca, Claytonia perfoliata, Fragaria vesca, Brodiaea elegans, Triteleia laxa, California onions (Allium), Western wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), Monkey Flower Savory (Clinopodium mimuloides), California hazelnut (Corylus cornuta ssp. californica), Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis); Medicinal plants: Salix, Artemisia californica Bee plants: Phacelia californica, Ceanothus, Scrophularia californica, Manzanitas, Heuchera, Stachys chamissonis, Deerweed (Acmispon glaber), Eschscholzia californica, Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata), Acer circinatum, Coffeeberry (Frangula californica), Lepechinia, Sidalcea malviflora, Malacothamnus; Hummingbird plants: California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum), Acer circinatum, Salvia spathacea, Monkey Flower Savory (Clinopodium mimuloides), Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana), Columbine (Aquilegia formosa);

Butterfly plants: all of the above (almost all local native plants provide some level of butterfly larval hosting/baby food) plus Dutchmans Pipevine (Aristolochia californica), Douglas’s Spirea (Spiraea douglasii), Twinberry Honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata var. ledebourii), Verbena, Dogwood (Cornus sericea) – I do not recommend Dogwood – it is too aggressive/big, California Grape (Vitis californica) – I do not recommend grapevines – they are too aggressive/big

Wildlife include, but are not limited to, Bumblebees; Western Tiger Swallowtail, Umber Skipper, Red Admiral, West Coast Lady and Painted Lady butterflies; Anna Hummingbirds, Dark Eyed
Juncos, Robins; Towhees, Mourning Doves, Scrub Jays; Lady beetles (insect predator)

Favorite thing – Keystone plant: Salix brings in butterflies that I had not seen until it was planted. Edible plants and bee plants to feed my family and my ecosystem

Biggest challenge – Learning which plants are dead easy and which are…dead

Advice for beginners? Plant in the fall after the rains start. Start the first year with “easy” plants, such as Toyon, Ceanothus, Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis); Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea); Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), annuals and bulbs. The next year, add more plants. The plant list above prepares a soil environment that is friendlier to plants that expect to be next to another native plant, rather than non-natives or no other plants. Native plants connect with each others’ root systems to trade nutrients, chemicals and water, so planting these initial “easy” plants make a difference in preparing the your garden to be successful. Scatter annual seeds between new small perennial plants. The annals provide bee and butterfly food until your perennials are larger. Many native perennials take about 3 years to produce more than a few flowers and fruit, so understand the it may take 3 years to get significant numbers of flowers. Celebrate your chewed leaves! Chewed leaves show that a baby insect was able to be fed and nurtured by your plant. Pull out every invasive plant you see.]

Posted in virtual and tagged , .

Susan Karasoff