4317 Campbell Drive

We are thrilled to have the Theodore Payne Foundation as a guest booth at this garden! This is a great stop for those interested in learning about landscaping with California Native plants!

The front yard is 100% cal natives, unstructured and natural. They killed the existing lawn in 1996 using weedblock with dg over the top and it has been natives since then. It’s a mix of mostly coastal community plants and the owner is happy to provide a plant list. The last couple years they have gotten into grouping plants more; they love the mutability of the yard - from season to season, year to year it’s always changing.

The back yard is a bit different, although it’s also 100% natives. It is more structured - more geometric and planned and covered with equally spaced 2’ square concrete pavers filled in with ¾” del rio pebbles. This yard is coming up on 3 years old, and is still changing. The owner is a designer/builder who specializes in modern furniture/casegoods/built-ins using sustainable materials and techniques, such as bamboo plywood and that design esthetic is evident in the garden.

When they bought the house it had two lawns. They hated mowing and weeding but especially watering. Basically we live in a desert and lawns make no sense. They started learning about native plants and wanted to create a habitat for birds and insects. They were also curious about medicinal/traditional uses of natives. They didn’t know much at first and it’s been a lot of trial and error. Back when they started the neighbors were concerned and would mention the “weeds.” Since then some great books have come out and they’ve learned a lot about how different species mature, how to place them in micro-climates within the yard, and how to prune. They’ve also gotten into propagating natives through seed collection and cuttings and will be happy to show guests how this has progressed.

It is clear that this garden is their passion. They have seen some amazing things. The yard is visited annually by all the cool migrant birds. They’ve also planted for insects – buckwheats and such, and have had some rare and wonderful visitors – a tarantula hawk wasp pollinating my desert milkweed, for example. This December they got to watch an Allen’s hummingbird (back for several years in a row) jealously defend the manzanita against all comers, staking out his territory and finding a mate.

They have many favorites, but probably the mature manzanita “arctostapylos glauca” is at the top. They’ve now joined the American Penstemon Society and for the last couple years have been working on a penstemon collection.

What they really love about the yard is that they can go months without doing a thing – no water, no weeding, no pruning – and the yard looks great and there’s something new/different all the time. They don’t water much; some years not at all. Usually it’s in the fall, if we don’t get any rain after fall replacement plantings (although they usually try to plant them with rain in the forecast). They don’t water at all in the winter or spring, and some summers they don’t water at all, either - one or two deep waterings in the summer (think strategically placed/moved hose with a breaker on the end) keep the plants a little greener and they lose fewer to late summer heat.