Marching through this month’s garden spotlights

Big Sur hike with views of the Pacific Ocean

Instead of featuring one garden, during this exceptional California winter season, we are showing two gardens that were inspired by one of California’s most diverse native gardens: the coastal bluff, chaparral, and redwood canyons along Big Sur. 

Redwood forest canyon

Recently, we hiked one of our favorite hikes, The Vicente Flat Trail that starts at Kirk Creek Campground on Highway 1, near Lucia Lodge.

It’s an early spring as evidenced by the seeds already formed on the wild peony and the chocolate fritillary.

This hike is known for its biodiversity, evident, as we weaved between long shady redwood canyons, grassy meadows, and shrubby chaparral.

The fragrant perfume of coastal bluff species like California sagebrush, woodmint and ceanothus mingling together reminded us of the rich biodiversity of this botanical hotspot on the trail to Cone Peak, along the Central Coast of California.

View of Cone Peak and oak woodland canyon with Lily on the trail

We are taking this inspiration and applying it to upgrading our teaching gardens at ELSEE on Race St. and at the Hester School gardens.

This wet winter is affording us time to capture our liquid sunshine and conserve and maximize it to create an abundant native habitat garden complemented by our interpretation of an urban regenerative farm.

This year we are introducing more biodiversity to the native sections of both gardens and then adding compatible native, perennial, super and drought tolerant food plants that are important elements in the ‘regen’ farm model.

This model takes its inspiration from our local ecology and is different according to each region’s native plants.

If you’d like to explore a teaching garden that grows abundant food 12 months a year and provides natural habitat for a plethora of pollinators, please visit ELSEE or Hester School garden.

Better yet, volunteer to help us plant and steward these important local resources for students, parents and our community.

We welcome your active and vigilant participation! Call us at 408-292-9992 or email

Regen farm native edible stinging nettles


Food towers with native and perennial edibles growing in them, part of our regen farm model. Quailbush, artichokes, wild grape, lemon grass, tree collards, creeping sage: all produce food 12 months a year with minimal water in a vertical column of soil. Oakwoodland and grassland Meadow are native plant communities.


Our Aquaponics team planting native edible watercress

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