Homegrown Habitats

Homegrown Habitats San Leandro is a community of volunteers committed to native plant gardening in support of a healthy ecosystem.

Partnership

The demonstration garden at the Manor Branch Library patio is a learning lab featuring a variety of plant species that are native to California. This pilot project offers resources to local residents for creating homegrown habitats and migratory corridors in their own neighborhoods. At scheduled times, volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the various plants, and native plant gardening in general. Sponsored by the San Leandro Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the San Leandro Public Library, the “Homegrown Habitats San Leandro” project brings together city residents interested in native plant gardening for the benefit of biodiversity, preservation of water resources, and in support of the City of San Leandro 2021 Climate Action plan.

Your Homegrown Habitat

If you have a small patch of earth, a patio, or a balcony, you can have your own nature refuge with a variety of beautiful, easy-care plants with flowers, berries and seeds that provide a habitat for butterflies, bees, and birds. A native plant community is key to supporting beneficial pollinators, nurturing wildlife, and sustaining viable habitat for future generations.

You can create your own Homegrown Habitat! Many plants native to California grow nowhere else on earth, and many can flourish in pots and planter boxes. A native habitat garden requires less maintenance and less water than a lawn. Non-native, or exotic plants can be invasive, and crowd out native plants, which has the ripple effect of reducing the number of plants that native bees and other pollinators depend on. By cultivating native plants, we foster biodiversity while conserving resources.

Demonstration Garden

Many of the native plants currently in the Manor Branch Library garden were planted in late spring of 2022. Most are summer bloomers. In early autumn, some of the plants are entering a dormant state. There may be some that are setting seed. Perennial plants that are dormant in autumn and winter will have a growth spurt in spring, and they will bloom again. 

When choosing plants for the garden, it is helpful to know what season that a plant will bloom.  Planting with several bloom seasons in mind, gives more wildlife a source of food throughout the year. The Manor Branch Library garden has regular visitors of hummingbirds, bumble bees, hover flies, and a variety of butterflies such as skippers, swallowtails, and monarchs. 

For a descriptive list of the plants, bloom times, water needs, and other features of the current demonstration garden, see our plant list page. 

Habitat Needs

Water

In addition to plants for food and shelter, a habitat for diverse wildlife needs a water source, such as a birdbath or butterfly puddle.

Shelter

Resist the temptation to “clean up” the garden too soon. If you have a tree that drops its leaves, in winter, allowing the leaves to remain will provide cover for invertebrates that need it for overwintering.

Food 

As annual plants set seed for the next year, the flowers will dry and the seeds will develop. Plants will drop their seeds when they are fully ripe. At this point you can collect the seeds, before they drop, to plant in another area of your garden. For the plant to reseed on its own, leave the dried flowers on the plant for a few weeks. Seeds will ripen and fall, birds will find a seed meal. Your homegrown habitat is a success!


Resources