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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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Jan 08

Native Hillside Garden

Posted on January 8, 2018 at 9:47 AM by Ann Vallee

poppy for blogMarin-Friendly Garden in Mill Valley

Mill Valley Natives 250This unique, 100% California native hillside garden is sectioned into distinct plant communities, including riparian woodland, coastal scrub, dry meadow, sedge transition meadow, hedgerow and chaparral. Follow the crushed decomposed lava rock path to stroll through each distinct plant community. 

A dry creek bed wanders down the side of the house through an area of native riparian plants, including red twig dogwood, creambush, elk’s clover and coastal irises, while two California live oaks—planted years ago by scrub jays—flank the back deck of the house. The path then leads across a dry meadow featuring drought-tolerant grasses, perennials, a variety of annual wildflowers, and showy red and pink clarkias. 

Nearly all the plants are labeled, and over 90% of the approximately 200 species of plants in this garden are Marin County natives including varieties of manzanitas and ceanothus that grow only in Marin and a few other places. Each area of the garden is hydrozoned, and drip irrigation is used only infrequently during the dry season. The dry meadow, chaparral and hedgerow areas are no longer watered, flourishing only on water provided by Mother Nature.

Explore more Marin-Friendly gardens at:

Mill Valley Natives 1

Mill Valley Natives 2

Mill Valley Natives 3

Mill Valley Natives 4

Mill Valley Natives 5

Mill Valley Natives 6

Mill Valley Natives 7


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