Delight the senses

What started as a patch of rocks and weeds has grown into a delightful haven right outside my front window. I love picking bouquets of alstroemeria for my house and our lemon tree supports the whole neighborhood with its luscious fruit. My daughter’s organic lemonade stand is a hit every summer.
— Barbra MacNair

Edibles - vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, vines

Nothing beats the pleasure of eating a sun-ripe tomato right off the vine, the sweetness of fresh corn kernels or carving a pumpkin picked from your garden.

Bringing edibles into your garden is as simple as putting in a raised bed for vegetables -  incorporated into the garden with stone walls or in a redwood or cedar wood frame. Or integrate herbs and fruit trees into the landscape. Natives also have their place with California huckleberries and strawberries and the native currants.

Herbs not only enhance your cooking, they bring wonderful scent and color (lavender, lemon thyme, chamomile) and provide structure and texture to a garden bed (rosemary, lavender, sage). Fruit trees create a backdrop and shade in the summer and light in the winter. The Fuyu persimmon provides fall color with its leaves turning bright orange and then the orange hanging fruit, often in time for Halloween. Orange trees and Meyer lemons can form a lovely deep green hedge interspersed with color from the fruit. And fruit to pick! Like Fuyu persimmons, Meyer lemons, Santa Rosa plums, pluots, Asian pears, figs, avocados, Washington naval oranges. 


Native plants are a natural selection for ecological gardening. California has a wonderful array of native plants. The purple flowering salvias, red-flowering penstemons and yellow flowering monkeyflowers bring color to the sun garden while the western columbine with its yellow and red jester’s cap flowers, the pink and cream coral bells bring color to the shade garden. And the variety of native poppies with the exuberant showing of annual spring flowers like the clarkias bring life to any spring garden. The native huckleberries and some native strawberries taste good too.

Drought Tolerant - Mediterranean, Australian, South African plants

Our climate mirrors the Mediterranean climate with wet winters, dry summers and moderate climate. It is very easy to bring plants like lavender, rosemary, yarrow and thyme into your gardens. Many of the scented plants act as a natural barrier and repellent, and deter deer from foraging.

Succulents – structural appeal

Succulents have a unique structural appeal, and of course, require very little water. Usually easy to incorporate into a garden, they look wonderful in the crooks and crannies of a rock wall.

Ornamentals – the cutting garden

It’s hard to resist the allure of roses, dahlias, bachelor buttons, etc. that allow you to bring the garden into your home with wonderful bouquets. And at the end of the flowering season, rose hips make a light nourishing tea with lots of Vitamin C.

Plant combinations and textures

In the shade garden textures are paramount in creating visual interest. Just notice the delicate light leaf structure of the five finger fern against the backdrop of the western sword fern. The dialogue created between plants through the right combinations bring the garden alive.