Mother Earth Living


A California Garden for All Seasons

Designed to mimic nature, a native California garden waxes and wanes with the changing of the seasons.



Finding inspiration in the way the natural landscape changes from day to day, gardener and nursery owner Phil Van Soelen designed his native California garden to flow from season to season.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
Tucked into its suburban landscape, Phil’s home is brimming with native California plants, including more than 100 varietieis of manzanita—from the treelike Pajaro manzanita (Arctostaphylos pajaroensis) seen here to low groundcovering types.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
Gravenstein apple trees are plentiful in Sebastopol, where their lovely white blossoms stand out against the brilliant blue sky.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
Hardy sempervivums are also known as "Liveforever.”
Photo By Barbara Bourne
American Indians used the fiber of the Soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) to make sandals, belts, cloth, baskets and mats. Its trunk and roots also contain a soapy substance high in saponins that can be used to make soap or shampoo.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
California is home to beautiful native irises such as this hybrid Iris innominata xdouglasiana.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
Phil reserves some raised beds for vegetables but often interplants them with annual native wildflowers.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
An orange-tinged manzanita invites visitors to wander down the crushed gravel path.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
Britton’s Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya brittonii) thrives in dry conditions and with little care.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
Native succulents and butterfly larval host plants weave a pretty tapestry that helps lure native pollinators to the garden.
Photo By Barbara Bourne
One of many seating areas offers a spot to sit and admire nature.
Photo By Barbara Bourne





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