Chi Garden

Food Forest Keepers: Teri

I grew up in Dixon. My father retired, after serving in the Navy for 23 years, to this sweet community. Back then the population was around 3,500 and my mother and siblings were happy we could put down roots here. In November 2014, I moved back to Dixon to help provide childcare for my first grandson … and now I am in my forever home where I can put the gardening skills infused into me from my mother (who could make a rock grow roots) to good use! Her great-grandsons and I chose the garden’s name in her honor. My family and friends will tend this gift from Sustainable Solano with tender hands and are grateful to have the honor of doing so. We hope to educate others on how this garden’s “Chi” or life force provides multiple benefits that support many aspects of gardening.

Site Details

Installation Date:

October 2023


1,500 square feet

Sun Exposure:

8 hours



Number of Swales:


Secondary Water:

Lawn Conversion


Roof water diverted to swales

Total annual water impact:

70,423 gallons


Designer: John Davenport


Plant List:


Apricot, Asian Pear, Fig, Fuyu Persimmon, Plum, Pomegranate

Bat Face Salvia, Cali Fuschia, Ceanothus- Ray Hartman, Coreopsis Tickseed, Gooseberry, Lantana, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage, Red Slavia, Rue

Asparagus, Bee Balm, Borage, Calendula, Chard, Cilantro, Comfrey, Dill, Fava Beans, Fennel, Feverfew, Kale, Lemon Balm, Milkweed, Mullein, Parsley, Passionate Rainbow Guara, Red Veined Sorrel, Yarrow

Dymondia, Mint, Nasturtium, Oregano

Jerusalem Artichoke, Yacon

Passionfruit, Sweet Peas


What an unbelievable experience! The power of team work DOES make the dream WORK! From the very start, working with Nicole Newell from Sustainable Solano and the permaculture designer, John Davenport, was an educational and enriching experience. We worked in a collaborative effort to bring forth a beautiful Chi Garden in two consecutive Saturdays. Neighbors, friends, family and Sustainable
Solano followers came to put the foundation work and subsequent planting together and the project was completed in less than five hours on each day. It helped that the swale had been previously dug by our family friend Russell and that my neighbor Henry had brought me enough cardboard to cover the entire yard and then some. Another plus is that volunteers that worked on other installations were able to work with John and Nicole in guiding us “newbies” in how to place the cardboard, burlap, compost, and wood chips into the design. Knowledge is a powerful thing, especially when it is shared so that others can learn to help others.

Vision for the Future

When I found out that I was going to be a Food Forest Keeper I was so excited. I sought input from my family and my grandsons to help me come up with the “CHI Garden” in honor of their great grandmother who was an avid gardener and who passed her love of gardening down to both my sister and myself.  You can literally come by the garden and the word CHI is spelled out in the yard (brilliant touch from John Davenport).  The garden’s life force and energy will be shining through for all to see.

I’m so honored to be the guardian of this little space and I look forward to the years to come seeing it flourish. I plan to work in collaboration with Sustainable Solano to provide this garden as a teaching venue for all to learn how to transform their current lawns into an ecosystem intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Friends that came to help on this project are excited to learn more about lawn conversion and to take it to the next level in their areas. Again the power of sharing knowledge goes a long way. Thank you for allowing me to be a caretaker of this beautiful space and to now be able to help others do the same.