Linda and Luna with the 10x10+10 sign
When Linda Novy arrived at her property in Fairfax 40 years ago, she noticed that the previous owner had imported soil full of thistle seeds that were now dominating the rest of the area, preventing any additional growth. Linda quickly recognized that her yard needed restoration, and overtime transformed the landscape into a haven for pollinators and other wildlife. I visited Linda’s yard last month and noticed the many pollinator-friendly crops and native species she nourishes. Notable plants I enjoyed hearing about included: ocean spray, margarita bop (sierra penstemon), fried egg poppy (Matilija poppy), lemon balm, chlorogalum (soap plant), and sticky monkey flower.
Monkey Flower (sp. Mimulus guttatus)
Linda has always been interested in landscaping. In her 20s, she built a company and received her contractor’s license, and now runs Linda J. Novy & Associates—a landscaping management business that “helps property owners understand and apply concepts of sustainability and ecological stewardship.”
For beginner landscapers, Linda suggests starting with the identification process. This means discovering “what plants are native in your area and build[ing] from there. Start from the top down. Identify your trees and identify your shrubs. Look at the layers in your landscape. Identify what is native to your landscape that you would like to retain and nurture.” Linda’s landscape promotes ecological health and habitat restoration. Her yard provides food and shelter for wildlife. Along this sentiment, Linda leaves leaf litter on the ground (and avoids using mulch) to maintain nesting sites for native bees and other beneficial critters, and buys from local, ethical nurseries that abstain from pesticide use and provide well-sourced native plants. She loves Green Jeans Nursery, Devil Mountain Nursery, and Fairfax Lumber and Hardware.
A final tip Linda would like to leave readers with is: plant wildflowers around your tomato plants (or veggies) in the summer! Not only does this gesture provide additional food for the bees, but it also brings more pollination to your tomato (or vegetable) crops!!
Linda hopes that the 10x10+10 project inspires others to keep wildlife in mind when designing or thinking about private and public landscapes.