Garden Bats

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We found this cutie sleeping on the molding, outside a garage in Seattle a few summers ago.

Recently, a client requested a bat-friendly garden. We’ve designed kid-friendly, dog-friendly, bee-friendly (and un-friendly for bee-allergic), and certainly bird & butterfly-friendly. Bat-friendly was a new one!

Bats are helpful predators – eating insects we don’t want in our gardens. They eat  mosquitos and other pests, including scorpions and roaches. They are also effective pollinators.

Adding bat boxes and a water source, and keeping healthy mature trees and shrubs for perching, are a good place to start. Plants that bloom and/or release fragrance at night are enticing, as are plants with pale blooms and broad open flowers. Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet) is topping my plant list, followed by California Evening Primrose.

Also avoid pesticides and herbicides, of course.

Sources/Resources:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/08/gardening-save-bats

https://www.kcet.org/redefine/heres-to-the-bats-of-california

https://www.scpr.org/news/2014/07/21/45467/getting-to-know-the-secret-world-of-la-s-bats/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/a20706363/how-to-attract-bats/

 

 

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Clover, for luck and lawns

Clover, for luck and lawns

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Seems like an appropriate time to share one of our favorite lawn tricks. If you still have a lawn and want to make sure it stays evergreen and uses as little water as possible, just add clover. If you’re already maintaining your lawn organically (no chemical fertilizers or herbicides or weed&feed), good job! If you look closely, you will probably find some clover there already, probably in the really green parts. If not, you can overseed any part of your lawn that is looking bare/brown/patchy with Dutch White Clover seed. You can also top with some compost for good measure, but no need to go crazy with stinky manure.

Clovers, like legumes, (and with help from their little friends, in the soil) pull nitrogen out of the air and bring it into the soil, where they share it with the grass. Free, natural, bio-available fertilizer. That’s why the grass growing with them is super healthy.

You can order seed online (it’s cheaper than fertilizer!), and just throw some around your yard, especially where it’s looking unhappy. Water it regularly for a week or so and watch your grass turn super (lucky) green.

Read more about this in the “Estate Lawn” section of the Beverly Hills Garden Handbook.

Beverly Hills, Garden 90210

Beverly Hills, Garden 90210

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And now, presenting the “Beverly Hills Garden Handbook” – now available online, for all to see!

We wrote this with G3 for the City of Beverly Hills, our 3rd handbook collaboration. All three handbooks explain the Watershed Approach to sustainable garden creation, remodeling and maintenance. They each contain extensive “How To” chapters, as well as sample designs and regionally specific plant lists.

This handbook address the various architectural and garden design styles of Beverly Hills. Update your garden sustainably while making it more beautiful and aesthetically harmonious with your home. Hope you enjoy it!

Fresh New Garden

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Starting with: bare dirt, wild vines, and existing decks.

What did we design? First, we worked out the grade change by adding a short garden wall and steps and cleaned up the vines. Next, drip irrigation, concrete pavers and a fossil-fuel-free EcoSmart firepit created outdoor living spaces, which needed some new outdoor furniture (we love Pot-Ted!).

Plants make the garden, so we started a soil party (by planting Myco-Packs with each plant), planted climate appropriate, low-water, dog-proof plants, and topped it all with a thick, healthy layer of mulch to feed the soil, limit evaporation, and keep everyone clean.

Ending: No! Now the fun starts for our clients, their dog, and their healthy new garden.

Here’s what the garden does:

    + Captures and infiltrates stormwater, eliminating site run-off and the need for imported water.
    + Produces lemons, apples, shade, habitat, flowers, and year-round color.
    + Requires limited maintenance: Paths, decks and stairs should be swept weekly, with all leaf debris spread around on existing mulch. Minor weeding will be required as everything settles in, and after seasonal rains. Trees and vines will need yearly pruning.
    + Requires limited inputs: Efficient drip irrigation is required to establish new plants, and then provide supplemental water in drought years, just twice a month. Light fixtures are LED and both super efficient and dimmable (with an app!).
    + Dog playground! Mulch keeps paws clean, limits flees, and provides a safe landing for rolling and frolicking. Plants are all sturdy and can stand an enthusiastic pit bull running into and through them.