One of the lesser-known gems of the San Mateo County Library system is the California Native Plant Garden, hidden behind the library. Patrons busily using their laptops can work outdoors at a shaded table; staff members on a lunch break can stretch out on benches and gaze dreamily into the towering redwood treetops.
The members of the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club provide volunteer stewardship of this resource, actually weeding and planting and identifying materials with plant tags. Our local group was nationally applauded for outstanding public relations at the 95th annual meeting of The Garden Club of America. The award plaque tells why:
“Horticulture and Conservation unite in a public landscape of elegant beauty and inspiration for those who want to emulate responsible planting in their own gardens.”
Do It Yourself?
So if you’re wandering around the garden’s graveled paths, thinking “I have a sunny meadow area where I’d like to plant those flowers, perhaps – where do I start?” Library staff can hand you a free garden guide, which lists the various plantings. If you want a personable human guide, free tours are available by request with advance notice; call the library at 650.851.0147 to leave contact information.
Note that the California Native Plant Garden is only accessible through the library and is open during Woodside Library hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 to 5.
Go Forth and Plant Green . . .
The Woodside-Atherton Garden Club’s wonderful website also lists other local gardens for inspiration. Highly recommended is the densely informative California Native Plant Society’s website www.cnps.org.
Before grubbing in the dirt, you might want to delve into these books with clean hands, please. Bettina Dreyer, the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club’s energetic president, says she uses California Native Plants for the Garden by Bornstein et. al. the most. Author M. Nevin Smith goes more in depth in Native Treasures: Gardening with the Plants of California. Ms. Dreyer also likes to consult Designing California Native Gardens.
Photo: View of Woodside garden--Festuca and Carex tumulicola
Karen Y. is an avid admirer of gardens, and takes full advantage of working beside a jewel of a garden. At home--eeehh; her husband likes to tend to the outside surroundings while Karen Y. reads and dreams about international gardens.