Why Garden with Natives?

Mountain Watch is dedicated to preserving and restoring habitat on San Bruno Mountain. Much of our stewardship work involves removing invasive species. Therefore, educating gardeners about the importance of carefully selecting plants for their gardens is also an important part of our stewardship work. Gardeners have the opportunity to DIRECTLY help wildlife, even in urban areas.

First, we can keep invasive species out of our gardens. Then, we can provide habitat (i.e. food) for our local wildlife by planting California natives from our area. Your garden can be the meditative, beautiful refuge traditional ornamental gardens often strive to be, while at the same time providing habitat for butterflies, birds, pollinators and small mammals. Gardening with natives connects you with the broader ecosystem and offers you the opportunity of being a steward to nature rather than just a passive observer - and at the same time you’re beginning to mend some of the damage that has been done.

Benefits of gardening with California natives - especially those native to your region:

  • Decreased water use:  Many California natives evolved to withstand long periods of drought, making them the perfect choice for the water-wise garden. There can be financial benefits too of reducing your water use. See the Bay Area Water Conservation Agency for potential rebates to replace your water-thirsty lawn and this rain barrel rebate program offered to help you further save water.

  • No need for chemical fertilizers or insecticides:  Plants that evolved here need no added soil inputs and have relationships with many local insects we, as gardeners, might consider “pests”. As a result of this co-evolution, native plants are better equipped to defend themselves from too much predation, while at the same time providing habitat and food for the insects and bacteria that are an essential part of the ecosystem.

  • Fostering and attracting wildlife to your backyard and contributing to your local habitat.

  • Forming a sense of place - your place. You will become intimate with your local ecology and learn to appreciate that it has evolved over millennia - and works!

Please visit our Why Garden with Natives? page - you'll find all the reasons to avoid planting potentially invasive species - and encouragement to plant with California natives that have evolved over thousands of years with our local insects, birds and animals - these relationships make for a healthy habitat.

Our Mission Blue Nursery is a wonderful resource for local natives - perfect for San Francisco Peninsula gardens. Don't miss our plant sale February 20th.