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'Marin-Friendly Virtual Garden Tour'

Sep 22

One Beauty of Fall

Posted to MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin on September 22, 2016 at 3:06 PM by Ann Vallee

by Christina Mountanos, Water Conservation Specialist

Once the Chinese pistache outside our offices start turning their deep shade of red again, I know fall is officially on its way.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of getting back to our school routines and beginning to plan for the holidays, the change in season is also an ideal time to think about (and start implementing) our landscaping projects. That’s because with shorter days, cooler weather, and winter rains on the way, new plantings won’t need as much supplemental watering to get established.

green poinsettia
 Green poinsettia
I’m personally capitalizing on this natural offer by finalizing the changes I’ll be making to my own garden, in time for our upcoming wedding at the end of October. Adding more star jasmine and creeping fig to the “living wall” I’m creating are on the list. So is putting down a fresh layer of organic compost. And, I always enjoy a new experiment so currently that’s covering the poinsettias I still have from last year with boxes, to see if I can get them to turn red again.

What are some of your plans? Don’t forget, if your upcoming landscaping ideas include replacing a lawn, we offer many resources that can help get you started. Looking for inspiration? A couple of the gardens we’ve recently featured as part of our 2016 Virtual Garden Tour transformed their lawns into wonderful expanses of color and art. Can’t figure out how to get rid of your current lawn? Our online sheet mulching guide offers you an environmentally friendly option. And finally, the State of California is still offering their Turf Replacement Rebate of up to $2 per square foot. All the details of the program can be found at SaveOurWaterRebates.com.

All the best for this change in season,

Christina

Sep 20

Garden of Natives

Posted to MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin on September 20, 2016 at 10:05 AM by Ann Vallee

poppy for blogMarin-Friendly Garden in San Anselmo

Garden of nativesDriven by love and knowledge of local native plants, this homeowner transformed a simple hillside garden into a lush and colorful oak woodland experience! The green gardening mantra “right plant, right place" is exhibited among roughly 100 native plant species calling this garden home. Sun, shade, soil type, slope, and height at maturity are all taken into account as new native plantings are added.

Neighborhood-sourced needlegrass, fescue, and meadow sedge populate a small meadow once the site of a swimming pool, while native honeysuckle wind their way through the trellis archways. Local streets and driveways are cleared of oak leaf duff and the sweepings are repurposed as garden mulch.

This vibrant and diverse native garden is sustained without the need for potable water. New plantings are irrigated exclusively in their first year by hand-hauled gray water, captured in the shower and transported in repurposed containers. Once they’re established, these native plantings can thrive on their own.

Take a video tour of this Marin-Friendly garden below and scroll down for more photos.



Garden of natives 01

Garden of natives 02

Garden of natives 03

Garden of natives 04

Garden of natives 05

Garden of natives 06

View more gardens on the Marin-Friendly Virtual Garden Tour.


Sep 19

From Lawn to Bee and Butterfly Garden

Posted to MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin on September 19, 2016 at 1:51 PM by Ann Vallee

poppy for blogMarin-Friendly Garden in San Rafael

Cistus in bloomBursting with blossoms and alive with the sounds of buzzing, it’s hard to believe this lovely butterfly garden was once a boring expanse of lawn! Motivated to find a more colorful, low-maintenance alternative to turf, this homeowner decided to re-landscape with a cheerful palate of flowering, drought-tolerant plants. The new collection includes cistus, salvias, verbena, rosemary, and day lilies, to name a few, all of which save water and attract beneficial insects and animals. Bees can be heard happily buzzing among the vibrant blooms, and butterflies and hummingbirds busily dart in and out; even a family of quail take respite among the shrubs!

In addition to removing the lawn, the previous “spray” irrigation system was replaced with a more efficient form of “drip,” and thick layers of compost and mulch now enrich and nurture the soil. Gone are the days of energy spent on regular mowing and maintenance. One of the biggest benefits? The customer has realized significant water savings, reducing outdoor water use by over 30%.

Take a video tour of this Marin-Friendly garden below and scroll down for more photos.



Lawn Before
 Before: Thirsty lawn

Bee and Butterfly Garden 5
 After: Bee, bird, and butterfly haven


Bee and Butterfly Garden 1

Bee and Butterfly Garden 2

Bee and Butterfly Garden 3

Bee and Butterfly Garden 4

View more gardens on the Marin-Friendly Virtual Garden Tour.