Meet Rebecca Schoenenberger. She is the proud owner of California Nativescapes – a local business specializing in sustainable native landscaping services, including maintenance, design, and construction using recycled materials. Rebecca is a Master Gardener born and raised in the Santa Clara Valley. She loves being outside and promoting the benefits of native plants. Says Rebecca, “I make sure all my employees go through [the Santa Clara Valley Green Gardener training program]. I would recommend it to other companies too… Our world has grown out of balance for too long, and we want to do our part to bring the balance back. Whether that is using native plants, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), or drip irrigation.”
Rebecca shares her Green Gardener know-how with all her clients. She teaches her clients how certain types of plants thrive better in certain places and under certain climates. Well-planned yard designs can reduce the amount of maintenance needed to keep a landscape healthy. Rebecca also encourages her clients to “Get excited about good bugs,” referencing the natural benefits of critters such as butterflies and ladybugs. Practices like purposeful plant selection, sheet mulching, and IPM have helped reduce her clients’ water and pesticide usage. “Educating our clients about beneficial alternatives and changing perspectives is the most long-lasting impact we make – far beyond the garden.”
In addition, Rebecca notes the importance of supporting Indigenous communities. Says Rebecca, “It is our obligation and duty to give back to the Indigenous community, especially whose land we live on.” One landscaping project that Rebecca was honored to be a part of was the creation of an ethnobotanical demonstration garden at Castle Rock State Park. This was a collaborative project for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust (a Native-led organization) and members of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe. The 3,500-square-foot entrance garden incorporates sustainable design and over 60 native plant species. Not only are these species adapted to grow locally with less maintenance, but they are culturally significant, valued by Indigenous communities as foods, medicines, and crafting materials. Eco-conscious design and maintenance practices can lead to meaningful, beautiful, and revitalized landscapes.