Going Native

Gardening for California






April 2013 (San Carlos, California): The Zeh House (c.1918) is one of the first houses built in San Carlos. Captian Zeh built it to help his young son escape the asthma inducing environment of San Francisco. Almost 100 years later the house is owned and restored by Angela a local historic and garden enthusiast. Angela has replaced the previous plants with a host of California native plants. Many would call the poppies, meadow foam, and baby blue eyes "wild flowers" but they are equally suited to urban landscapes.

Being filled with native plants means that the garden goes through the same seasons as the local hills. In spring the garden is filled with an abundance of color. In the late summer fewer plants are in bloom (the California fuchsia is a spectacular exception) and much of the color comes from the grays and greens of foliage.

Angela uses no pesticides in the garden. As a result there is a profusion of insects around whatever is in bloom. Hummingbirds enjoy the yard as well, with many territorial disputes over the rights to the blooming fuchias.

The Zeh House garden has been featured for many years on the California Native Plant Society "Going Native Garden Tour."

Garden Photos

Garden Information


Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)