Native Gardens

December 20, 2021

Native Gardens

At the EcoCenter in Palo Alto, CA

In November, 2021; Environmental Volunteers had the pleasure of Juanita Salisbury, a California Native Garden residential and commercial landscape architect help design and facilitate the new native gardens at the EcoCenter in Palo Alto, Baylands Nature Preserve.

Juanita Salisbury and Environmental Volunteers

When the Environmental Volunteers Executive Director, Elliott Wright, said he wanted to have me design and install a pollinator garden at the EcoCenter at the Baylands Nature Preserve, I jumped at the chance to help.

I had already given a presentation about pollinators for the Environmental Volunteers during the summer. With the other five habitat gardens I designed and installed in the city of Palo Alto, I knew what plants would enhance the site for biodiversity.

The site itself is already remarkable for biodiversity, as it is on the edge of the bay. By adding appropriate plant species, the environment will become more resilient. With the go-ahead for the plan I designed, we jumped right in.

All throughout the project was strong support from the Environmental Volunteers and the Palo Alto Parks and Open Space staff.

The volunteers’ enthusiasm was wonderful, and the planting went quickly Working with volunteers, a few hundred plants (over 20 new species) were planted, two rain gardens excavated and planted, soil mounds sculpted and planted, plant labels placed, and mulch lovingly spread to keep the roots moist.

Especially helpful was access to tools that Park Rangers provided: shovels, pickaxes, and wheelbarrows which were stored close to the site so were easy to access. With the help of Park Rangers, we created raised beds, selected and placed boulders, as well as moving mountains of soil to enhance drainage.

Into the future, the garden will not only provide abundance for pollinators and other invertebrates, but also countless learning opportunities. All throughout the project, lots of ideas were being generated, already carrying out one of the goals of the garden.
It was a privilege to be able to help make this project happen for the Environmental Volunteers and enhance yet another part of Palo Alto.

Juanita Salisbury has a Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the University of Florida (1988), as well as a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University (2000). In 2009 she established Juanita Salisbury Landscape Architecture after working for commercial and residential design firms. She has recently turned her focus to California native plant pollinator habitats, and in 2016 established the Primrose Way Pollinator Garden, the first of four pollinator habitat gardens in Palo Alto. Her focus is to research and relay information on of these habitats, as well as to explore opportunities to install more of them.