This backyard garden features a community of plants native to the western San Francisco Peninsula. A nature trail winds through the low-medium profile dune-scrub habitat connecting two permeable brick patios, with several birdbaths maintained along the way. Over forty species of birds have been attracted to the garden, regular visitors include
Anna’s Hummingbird, California Scrub-Jay, Bushtit, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, California Towhee and Dark-eyed Junco. Among the many invertebrate pollinators, eighteen species of butterflies have been documented. The garden is managed to encourage diversity and sustainability with minimal environmental intervention.
Size: ~1500 square feet
When started: 2001
Neighborhood: Inner Richmond
Soil type: native sand, dune-like qualities
Notable features: Native sand soil, recycled materials, entirely permeable to allow aquifer recharge, pollinator habitat, bird baths.
Favorite plants in your garden: Coast Buckwheat, California Phacelia, Chamisso’s Lupine, San Francisco Gumplant, California Poppy, Blue Blossom and Mock Heather offer impressive splashes of color when in bloom and attract many pollinators. Coastal Sagewort, Dune Knotweed, California Polypod, Bee Plant, and Dune Tansy are most interesting for their texture and foliage coloration.
Wildlife seen: Check us out on iNaturalist. Search at 8th Ave between Fulton & Cabrillo.
Biggest challenges: Managing aggressive species i.e. California Fuchsia and Hooker’s Evening Primrose and, of course, oxalis and ehrharta. Keeping crows and ravens from making a mess in the bird baths.
Any advice for those who want to get started? Attend the plant sales in the fall. Start with common species that are known to thrive locally. While laying out your garden, consider the size and shape of the plants when mature and how each plant will relate to its neighbors. Get your plants in the ground as soon after the first rain as you can and don’t be shy about supplementing with water for the first year. In the summer, water on foggy overcast days. Be vigilant about weeding.