who we are
east bay wilds began as a small gardening service called 'pete's gardens' in 2004. I had reached a point where my 17 years in social services both in the usa and throughout latin america was no longer cuttin' the mustard. Exploring our remaining wild places and gardening with native plants have been passions [obsessions?] of mine since I was a little kid. I had always dreamed of having my own landscape business, but didn't realize there actually were folks interested in native plants until I began propagating things I would find while exploring the woods and hills around the east bay and then giving them away.
my father has a similar contagious obsession about exploring the wilds. I grew up in a house that we built out in the woods in the upper connecticut river valley in new hampshire. most of my memories are about exploring the woods, creeks, rivers, beaver ponds, and collecting insects, plants, rocks, wild foods and leaves for an unending stream of projects. after a day in the woods, I would spend hours reading through my parents' library of field guides, attempting to attach a name to everything I found.
in 2003, I began my native plant nursery. at first, I would give away my horticultural progeny, but then people actually began to offer me $ for the plants I propagated and then to have me design small landscapes for their yards. I owe a lot of thanks to those folks who had faith in me and allowed me to experiment with their yards. I've learned a lot since those early days. now, I regularly design and build hardscape for use with native plants for long-lasting, self-sustaining landscapes which help people get the maximum use and pleasure from their small (and not-so-small) patches of earth.
one of my goals is to help people make the connection between their yards and the greater, wild world around us. I want people to experience the beautiful harmony that I see around me when exploring the woods, meadows and high rocky outcrops around the bay. I also want folks to recognize when this harmony is not present - when one or more non-native, invasive species has run amok and is destroying the harmony.
it has become increasingly apparent to me that what we experience as 'pretty' or 'attractive' or 'serene' is nothing more than the confluence of creatures which have developed complex relationships between each other and their geographic environment over eons. every plant native to a particular site has dozens or more creatures feeding, or in some way living off it. this constant barrage of tiny bites is what gives natives their wonderfully twisted, ancient and world-worn appearance.