Engineers Liza and Matt bought their West Berkeley home two years ago and created a sustainable garden complete with honey bees. The other day I stopped by their Berkeley bungalow, and Liza showed off their glorious garden. Shortly after I arrived Matt appeared home on his bike. (Matt and Liza bike to BART daily to get to work.) In the back corner behind a trellis are honey bees, as Liza and Matt make their own delicious honey. (There is a shortage of bees, so I am sure that their bees help pollinate the neighborhood gardens.) In raised beds are onions, cabbage, beans, strawberries and more. Along the fence are espalier apple trees with each tree bearing 6 varieties of fruit. Grass grown from seed and bark from local trees cover the ground. (Liza and Matt called a local tree company and received a truck load of free mulch. It took them over a month to haul the huge pile of bark to the backyard.) Often Liza and Matt can conduct their daily lives without a car as they walk to Cafe Treiste, Sea Salt Restaurant and soon Berkeley Bowl West!
Artists Jo and Leah used their creativity and vision to create an urban oasis in their West Oakland home. When I showed them their home four years ago they saw past the cigarette stained walls and 70's wood paneling and put an offer in. The first thing they did was refinished the hardwood floors, re-plastered the walls and installed a working bathroom. Later they created an edible garden in the backyard complete with raised garden beds, tomatoes, corn, strawberries, an apple tree grafted with four varieties of apples and peas. When a friend was about to rid their garden of a pluot tree, they rescued the tree and reap the benefits with annual bowls of sweet fruit. In between the fruits, vegetables and herbs are poppies and other flowers. In Jo's spare time you will see him re-seeding poppies and nurturing his plants.
Pluots a few weeks away from being ripe.