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January 2012 Newsletter

by sarah on January 5, 2012

Happy New Year and welcome to our upgraded website!

We are kicking off 2012 with a bang!

Please do see our 2012 workshop calendar posted under events. Proceeds go to The California Native Garden Foundation and the ELSEE Project.

We have two events coming up this month. Pete Veilleux will be teaching us about container gardening with natives on Jan. 14th from 10AM-Noon. You will have an opportunity to make your own container garden. We’ll have many suitable natives for sale in the nursery. And on Jan.28, at noon, I’ll be giving a popular talk you may have missed, “Twelve Months of Color in the Native Garden”. In this talk I describe over 150 plants, many under-utilized, that bring color to the garden each month. We will serve special food from our garden and many of the plants I’ll be discussing will be for sale in the nursery.

Looking back, 2011 was a good year in spite of the economy. Here are a couple of projects we designed and built that we’d like to share.

The Greene Garden designed by Randy Moore, our project manager at Middlebrook Gardens, featured some amazing stonework. Our crews were able to construct these walls and terraces without mortar.  Many tons of Loon Lake boulders mixed with grey lava rock and tumbled blue stone made this a unique palette. Now, let’s just wait until the plants grow in…..

Greene Before Photo

Greene Before


Greene After

Left Side

Greene Left Side

Right Side

Greene Right Side

Our next project was the second ELSEE model garden and was designed and built for St. Andrews Episcopal School in Saratoga. As a teaching garden, it features riparian, oak woodland, grassland, coastal bluff, chaparral and desert plant communities. It also has an extensive native edible garden, organized by regions of California.

A large butterfly raised bed for veggies with fruit trees and a caterpillar garden filled with winter vegetables are major elements. There is also an amphitheater, a stage & gathering area and six custom mosaic tables created by Artist, Christina Yaconelli working with the students from St. Andrews.

The tables feature giant insects from the different ecosystems of California, like a California orb weaver spider & California sister butterfly. Watch for the grand opening on January 23rd.

St. Andrews Before Installation

St. Andrews Before Installation

St Andrews After

St Andrews After

St. Andrews After

St. Andrews After

Orbweaver Mosaic

Orbweaver Mosaic

Our winter hours are 6:30-4 M-F. Nursery open by appointment only during the week. If you want to order plants, please call or email Sarah Bronstein at (408) 489-2845 or

Our Nursery is open every Saturday to the public from 10AM-4PM. Alrie is usually here every Saturday to answer any questions.

Thursday’s are teaching days. Students from St. Leo’s come in the mornings & afternoons. Anyone is welcome to come and observe or become a teaching docent! Fridays are intern days. We are propagating natives and perennial food plants. All are welcome to join us here for that as well.

We hope to see you in the garden one day soon!

Alrie Middlebrook

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