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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Jul 07

Small is Beautiful

Posted on July 7, 2016 at 11:27 AM by Ann Vallee

poppy for blogMarin-Friendly Garden in San Rafael

Small is Beautiful 1This garden was designed more than a quarter of a century ago by the now well-known landscape architect, Topher Delaney, as a low-maintenance garden in the small area abutting the open space of China Camp State Park. The garden features many succulents and a wide variety of climate-appropriate plants, as well as many interesting container plants. Flat areas of the garden that might typically be covered by resource-intensive lawn are, instead, covered with stones in varying sizes and colors and outlined with a border of gray slabs to define the planting beds. In sloped areas stone retaining walls of differing heights and widths are cleverly used to divide the space. Beautiful boulders are carefully placed throughout the garden to create a natural sense of flow.

The current owner of this special garden, Maya, purchased the property when she was relatively new to California. As an experienced gardener, Maya already practiced composting and rainwater harvesting. She soon learned more about California native plants, succulents, shrubs, pyrophytic, and low-water-use plants, as she became increasingly aware of past droughts and fires, as well as the risk of future events. Her awareness of these challenges is addressed through plant selection and placement in her garden. Years of composting and mulching have helped Maya improve the poor local soils while allowing her to use her yard and food waste on site. Herbs and vegetables intermingle with the plants in the flower beds and pots. All of the plants in this garden are hand-watered. Each time Maya carefully waters her garden, she has the opportunity to notice and appreciate the big and small changes that are constantly underway as her Marin-Friendly garden continues to evolve.

Learn more about Maya's watering method in the video below and scroll down for additional photos.

Maya's plant list
MMWD rain barrel rebates

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