The Gottlieb Native Garden

a california love story

The Gottlieb Native Garden is a flourishing ecosystem belonging to Susan and Dan Gottlieb, friends of flora and fauna and devoted environmental philanthropists. With more than 100 hand-selected plant species and hundreds of animal species, the backyard is a National Wildlife Federation-certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat and a Xerces Society-designated Pollinator Habitat.

July Nocturnal Species Review

Summer is a great time to explore the garden at night, and as usual, our latest nocturnal species review didn’t disappoint! The standouts for the night were abundant moths and spiders. Eight species of spiders were observed as they busily worked their night shift.  We are still working on identifying the dozens of moths.

Scott - Homo sapiens and Jeweled Araneus - Araneus gemma


Coolest Moth of the Night

When at rest, borer moths hold their marbled forewings in such a way as to mimic a crumpled leaf and their body resembles a stick.

Erythrina borer - Terastia meticulosalis

Most Beautiful Moth of the Night

Birds love elderberry berries, Elder Moth larvae love elderberry leaves, a win win plant for your garden for attracting beautiful creatures into your yard.

Elder Moth - Zotheca tranquilla

Non-native Glass Snail

This small introduced snail from Europe can be found in urban gardens and nurseries throughout Southern California. This individual was found in the GNG under a rotting log. It is an omnivore and feeds on a verity of things, including living plants, dead plants, fungi, other snails and slugs and their eggs.

Glass Snail - Oxychilus spp.

Cooling-off on a Hot, Humid Day

These goldfinches know that there is no better way to beat the Summer heat than to hang out in some cool running water!

Lesser Goldfinches - Spinus psaltria

Green Lynx Spider

This impressive spike-covered male Green Lynx Spider was very busy searching for a mate in the flowers by the hummingbird bath.  We never saw if he was successful, but we’re now looking for a female lynx spider in the GNG too :-).

Green Lynx Spider - Peucetia viridans

Botta's Pocket Gopher

How do pocket gophers end-up as meals for predators such as owls, hawks, coyotes and bobcats when they spend 90% of their life in the safety of their burrows? This slow motion video of a GNG pocket gopher captures what they do the other 10% of the time. Gophers feed on a variety of roots, tubers, and bulbs, but they will also venture above ground to collect plant shoots and grasses. 

Botta's Pocket Gopher - Thomomys bottae

The Beginning of a Hot Summer Day...

Summer has officially arrived when cicadas begin to sing, and they are now singing in the GNG!.  As the sun rises on this soon-to-be 100° day, cicadas were gearing-up to serenade with their soft buzzing song.

Cicadidae - Okanagana vanduzeei

National Geographic Films in the Garden!

Red Rock Films was in the GNG for a couple of days this week, filming hummingbirds for an up-coming National Geographic special on California.  Using regular and extremely high-speed video cameras, they were able to capture stunning footage of hummingbirds feeding and interacting in the garden.

Hummingbirds were the focus of the day, but a quick thinking cinematographer was able to capture this Hooded Oriole taking off from its perch.  Keep in mind that this slow motion clip represents about one second in human time – thank you for sharing the footage Owen!

Hooded Oriole

Hummingbird Feeds on Manzanita

Hummingbird feeders have always been a conspicuous part of the GNG, occasionally feeding over a hundred birds at a time! Wild birds are happy to exploit an easy meal, but that doesn’t mean they stop feeding on native food sources. Here an Anna’s Hummingbird dines on nectar from flowers only a few feet from a group of feeders.

Anna’s Hummingbird feeding from Arctostaphylos bakeri flowers.


This was a very exciting remote camera-capture, as we have had no evidence of Bobcats being in the GNG for more than four years now.  Not the best photo ever, but documented nevertheless!  We really hope this big cat wasn’t just passing through and will stick around the garden for a while.

Bobcat - Lynx rufus