Green Wall with CA Natives

One of the wonderful benefits of being a Going Native Garden Tour volunteer is a monthly invitation to a tour garden. Usually, the preview gardens have been on tour, and the volunteers are given a chance to view gardens they could not see on tour day. An exception was last October's garden, which was accepted for next year's tour. Up in the foothills of Los Altos, we were thrilled right away to see beautiful manzanita Dr. Hurd.

And healthy Toyon with clusters of red berries (and what a view!).

Several mature oak trees excited the garden visitors, and grasses, iris, ceanothus, and different vines created an attractive informal garden.

The owner told us that she was planning on more vines, more ceanothus, and many wildflowers for the spring - I can only imagine how stunning it will be.

But the big attraction of the garden was the green wall.

Built by Madrono Landscaping, the wall offered an attractive way to stabilize the hillside and to add an ever-changing beautiful green picture as the backdrop to the seating area.

On their website, Madrono explains the process here - and it's clearly a don't try this without professional help process. But I appreciate the thorough preparation, which now makes it possible to plant the wall as needed with different plants throughout the season.

I enjoy the grasses and ferns shown in the second photo from the Madrono site (which I'm linking to here), but I also like the addition of succulents and of different-color Heuchera - along with smaller ferns such as California Polypody in the wall's current incarnation.

I hope that many visitors will see this garden on tour day in the spring, and who knows, they might be inspired to have a green wall built as well - or maybe they'll consider adding a small picture or other vertical garden element. After all, with so many native that require perfect drainage, it's really a great way to solve the "I've got clay" problem!


Oh, I love this! As you may remember, the base of our orchard slope has the same issue. Too steep to plant, and constantly eroding on the road below. A Geotech engineer said we don't need a 'retaining wall' per se, in that we don't need to hold the hillside back, but a low erosion wall would suffice to prevent the soil from slumping downslope. I love how this blends in with the surroundings. We were looking at using the same wall system we put in the garden, but this not only looks easier to install, aesthetically it's much more pleasing to look at! I'm inspired...may have to show this to Mr. CV!
Jason said…
Reminds me a little of the green wall at the Chicago Botanic Garden's children's garden.
ryan said…
Interesting to see. I feel like the grill is really dominant, visually but maybe that's okay. At the Patrick Blanc green wall you see a fair bit of the black fabric but it doesn't really detract. This has kind of the same thing going. It'll be a fun item to see on the tour.
Verticle gardening is really coming of age. I have yet to really see in person a good example of it, so I'm still not sold on the concept. I really don't like seeing the grill.
Country Mouse said…
I like how airy and clean looking the wall is - has a modernist look to it that could look very interesting in that sort of garden/home environment.