A Sustainable Garden

The concept for our family garden comes from my Grandfather’s garden. He was an immigrant from Northern Sweden and settled in the Oakland hills in the early 1900’s. During the depression he fed anyone that came by hungry. He had a table set up in the front garden, the only rule being that you were not allowed inside the house. There were stories of “gypsies & sailors”, migrants, hungry from walking the streets looking for work. It was my mother and her sister’s job to show them how to eat an artichoke, something most people had never seen or heard of. Along with eggs from their chickens my grandparents provided a generous meal for those in need. As a young child I walked thru his garden on a grid of paths and ate my fill of berries and fruits. His garden philosophy, “if it couldn’t perform it didn’t belong”. In turn, my garden is the same, adapted to low water usage using natives and raised beds and espalier for edibles. The odd pumpkin vine or volunteer being welcome as it adds folly and character. Primary colors are my palette accented with complimentary lime green and purple. Vibrant colors in summer yield a garden with interest and attracts beneficial insects and birds. Our garden is also pesticide free, a commitment I made over 25 years ago in my gardening practice. I compost all of our food waste and our chickens benefit from that as well. It is truly a sustainable garden.

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