Dig in…

Dendromecon rigida

Susanna Dadd creates waterwise habitat gardens suitable for the American south west climate zone.   Using drought tolerant mostly native plants, trees, shrubs and perennials improves the habitat for people as well as wildlife because there is no need for chemicals or noisy gas powered equipment for weekly maintenance.    These gardens are full of butterflies, bees and birdsong.

Susanna provides a pragmatic approach to creating beautiful gardens full of life. Our gardens also have utility in aquifer feeding and reduced water use.

What is a habitat garden?

A habitat garden provides a peaceful refuge for ourselves and food, water and cover for birds, butterflies, beetles, and other creatures with whom we share the land.

Why have habitat gardens?

Development and fire has reduced the capacity of wild lands in recent years. Humans have a complicated and reciprocal arrangement with many insect pollinators, birds, bats, and soil bacteria so we do need to preserve the existence of these creatures and their habitats.

How to build habitat gardens?

Firstly, consider the ecology of wild lands nearby and only use plants, trees and shrubs that are native or compatible with the soil type and annual/seasonal rainfall in the area. Move the soil around to make berms and dry creeks to absorb rainwater and prevent runoff, while protecting any structures from excess water.  Eliminate blowing from your garden care.  It destroys fertility by removing leaf litter that would otherwise decompose and rejuvenate the soil.

Take responsibility for the stewardship of your piece of the land, however small.  It WILL make a difference in more ways than you can imagine.

Encelia farinosa, Photo by Ros Cross, 2010

California has beautiful native plants and these should be used wherever possible.  Native plants will provide habitat and ecological balance, but a few select succulents and plants from other areas may be introduced carefully into a native garden to enhance the summer appearance.  For instance, some plants from Mexico host birds and insects that migrate to California for the summer.   Some agaves provide fodder and protective shelter for several species of birds.