The friends group for Home Ground has been meeting regularly every other week for many years now. With a new home, much more space to work in, and a much greater capacity for growing plants, we’ll soon be able to invite more people to work with us!
When we meet to propagate plants, we’re always learning more about the plants we work with, but we also get to know each other and often build new friendships. Over the years a wonderful camaraderie has developed; the volunteers enjoy each other while at the same time they are very productive. When we’re finished working, we always make time to share some refreshments!
Home Ground makes it easy to come and work here: All tools and supplies are provided; we have shady work areas set up with work tables at varied heights; and we have places for our volunteers to relax and share their pleasure in the plants we are growing. Volunteers transplant seedlings, prepare and “strike” cuttings, pot up plants to ever-bigger pots, and fertilize, prune and tend these plants until they are ready for their ultimate purpose of providing habitat resources. On rainy or really cold days we’ll work inside, cleaning and packaging Home Ground’s collection of California native plant seeds.
Future plans include creating and tending demonstration gardens, tending the orchard, sharing the bounty of tree-ripened fruits, and making compost.
Our main goal, however, is to influence more gardeners to create their own habitat sanctuaries, and to become a source of both plants and educational resources for those eager to become habitat gardeners.
Past Recipients of Plants and Seeds
We grow native plants to support the Marin chapter of the California Native Plant Society: About half the plants sold at two fund-raising sales each year are provided by Home Ground. In addition, Home Ground also provides educational materials, such as the plant profile cards, that clearly detail the benefits and needs of each plant a gardener is considering for their own garden. We also offer a series of handouts on various subjects such as plant lists by habitat, ways to cope with common garden problems, and tips for growing healthier plants.
We package and sell seeds of local California native plants. Our volunteers help collect, clean, and package Home Ground Habitats seeds. Many of our volunteers are also growing the sources of these seeds in their own garden habitats! These are available through the Marin chapter plant sales and at CNL Nursery on Shoreline Highway.
We grow native plants for restoration projects and, in partnership with Marin CNPS, we support various restoration projects around the Bay Area. Most recently, we’ve been providing plants for Marin Audubon Society restoration sites around Marin County: coyote brush for the Simmon’s Slough site along Atherton Ave., and narrow-leaf milkweed for a new restoration site at Deer Island, both in Novato.
We also grew many of the California native plants that grace the new all-native pollinator garden in front of the Bay Model in Sausalito. This garden has met with acclaim; it received a Sausalito Beautiful award in 2019, and was featured in the summer 2019 Flora magazine, published by the California Native Plant Society.
In addition, Home Ground has donated plants to the Sonoma County Riverkeeper's Project to help restore habitat along the Russian River, and to enhance habitat along a creek at Green String Farm in Petaluma.
We grow plants for some of the Novato Streetscape Committee projects. Novato is forward-thinking in this regard; a committee of volunteers coordinates with the city to find individuals or businesses that are willing to take on a traffic island or median planting. With support from city staff, volunteers do the work of planning, installing, and maintaining these landscapes, now updated with drought-tolerant native plants and helping to restore habitat corridors.
We donate plants to other non-profits who raise money through plant sales to support their charitable work. For a number of years now we have contributed dozens of beautiful plants to In-Spirit in San Geronimo Valley. This organization helps support people who are homebound due to major injury or illness. We’ve also supported the Inverness Garden Club's yearly fund-raising event with donations of plants. This garden club uses funds raised to provide scholarships for deserving local students.
Working in partnership with Marin CNPS and SPAWN, we provide habitat plants and educational support for school gardens. Teachers and school garden coordinators can contact us for information about plants we have available. Our goal is to provide some of the resources necessary to expand the scope of the average school garden to include a pollinator garden and habitat that provides resources for wildlife. These gardens become outdoor classrooms and being in them, working with soil and plants and seeing a variety of creatures, is often a favorite activity and real inspiration to many young students.
Some of the schools we’ve supported in past years are:
Greenwood School, Mill Valley
Hall Middle School, Corte Madera
Manor School, Fairfax
Marin Country Day School, Corte Madera
Marin School, San Rafael
Novato High School, Novato
St Mark's School, Terra Linda
Strawberry Point School, Mill Valley
Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley
Terra Linda High School, San Rafael
Venetia Valley School, San Rafael
Willow Creek Academy, Sausalito