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Native Hill - Update January 2018

Author: Frank Niccoli

Native Hill at Foothill College is enjoying a renaissance. Three years ago, Frank Niccoli, an adjunct instructor at Foothill, envisioned a demonstration garden that would show the community the beauty and wisdom of using California Natives in the garden.

The first step was to install an irrigation system. This installation was made possible by a generous donation by Michelle Chu, the owner of The Village Gardener, Inc., who provided the equipment and a crew to dig the trenches and install the valves, piping and heads. Frank Niccoli designed the system and managed the installation. A total of 48 12” popups with low precipitation nozzles (0.45 gpm) were installed. David Sauter, the Director of the horticulture program at Foothill College, along with the valuable assistance from Mike Diefenback and a crew of student labor, finished the installation.

In the Spring of 2017 the plant installation and maintence class at Foothill pruned plants that had not been touched in years. They removed concrete, trash, an old drip system that never worked and established a rough outline of a pathway. They also installed the first of many plantings and sheet mulched. Niccoli commented, “I cannot wait for the new direction this garden will take. This will enhance the learning experience of the Hort Geeks and the Biology Department Foothill College by giving them a living laboratory.”

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