Garden #4 Marin’s Eco-Friendly Garden Tour

garden signage

This garden found in Greenbrae took full advantage of the backyard’s upslope.  A California Bay Laurel, older Coast Live Oaks, Valley Oaks and Manzanitas were left as found on the property.   Pathways were constructed and further landscaping was

the view from the top of the property looking down on the house

done around these mature trees.  From its own weather station, hip signage and a separate water meter for the irrigation system this environment had all the cool accoutrements going on.

vertical grapevines

I was visually struck by the grape vines running vertically up the slope versus across the property which is what I’m used to seeing in vineyards.

bat box

In the front of the house the lawn is being allowed to die or as the owner put it “decommissioned” to be replaced with something that requires less water and is generally more eco-friendly.

What is permaculture?

This past Saturday was spent touring myself around on Marin’s Eco-Friendly Garden Tour which was sponsored by our two water districts and the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program.  Henry prefaced my leaving with “That sounds boring.”  So not boring at all! Certainly the most entertaining, inspiring and educational ten dollars I have spent recently.

Two of my favorite stops happened to be in the town of Fairfax, and this, the Sustainability Center was one of them. They are located downtown in an older home with a small backyard.  When I think about the concept of permaculture my thoughts revolve around larger scale projects like Occidental’s Art and Ecology Center.  This locale was a great reminder that yes most of us don’t live on the fantasy farm quite yet and that the principals of permaculture can be applied to the suburban backyard.

The center has a 1000 tank which collects rainwater via diverted roof gutters.  The collected water feeds their pond and is used for irrigation via a drip system.  They have collected donations of non treated plywood scraps and have a non yuppie worm bin kit available, built for $45.00.  These are available as long as the plywood odds and ends hold out.  I confess to purchasing one of these and am now dreaming about how I want to decorate it.  While I currently have various forms of composting going on in my garden this is my first worm bin!  That would be a retail and garden high you hear. That and the fantasy of gallons of worm tea.

The center is on Facebook for you addicts out there and they also have a website. http://www.sustainablefairfax.org

Go green…

It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, a reward if you will for surviving Henry’s Lacrosse season. In a couple of weeks if you’re in the Bay Area I think it will be worth the time and a visual treat to check out the “Eco-Friendly Garden Tour: Taking a Bay-Friendly Approach” put on by two water districts and the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program.  Could those names be any longer?  Not greenwashing, I’ve heard rumors of native plants, green roofs, an organic farm, living walls and a home vineyard.  The tour is happening May 15th and link for the Marin Eco Tour is as follows.

http://www.mcstoppp.org/EFgardentour2010.html