Our late 2011 move to a beautiful, albeit neglected, 1.7 acre Southern California property was an eye-opener on water and waste. Five years of drought, 3 years of rationing, and multiple redos later, our 1-acre zone 10 gardens can now be described as sustainable and lush with a touch of whimsy. Thriving plants after this… Read More My plants
Like most gardeners, “live and let live” was my mantra. Scarce water has mutated that to “live and let die so others can live.” Plants must pass my litmus tests of 1) Does this give sufficient value in return for water used? and 2) Would I buy that for there again? If not, I murmur… Read More Live and let die
In yet another dry summer in year 5 of a drought, I’m reminded how names influence perceptions and actions. Shakespeare’s Juliet argued “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Maybe for Romeo, but not for amorphous concepts to transform water-intensive landscapes. Take ‘drought-tolerant,’ the industry-standard coinage for… Read More What’s in a name?
As smoke from the Sherpa fire stings my eyes and planes loaded with fire-retardant fly overhead, an ah-ha moment struck. Firewise landscaping is lean, clean, and green. Hmm…that’s waterwise too. Five years of drought, 58 million dead and dying trees just in California, and hot and windy weather make a tinderbox. The more flammable the… Read More Firewise…is…waterwise
Garden benches are prized as places to relax, focal points, and landscape design unifiers. Let me champion their conservation potential too. Witness data for our 4 benches. Consumption is zero for the 700 square feet of hardscape or mulch in front and under them. By contrast, that space done as usual in grass consumes 4,500… Read More Save with benches
‘Drought tolerant’ misses the point. Yes, these plants and their gardens withstand a drought better than others do, but the lasting value is relatively low consumption. How about naming them what they are: ‘low-water’ or ‘waterwise’? ‘Dry-climate appropriate’ works too, but that’s a mouthful. Now that we rectified that misnomer, three geographies offer diverse choices:… Read More A world of waterwise choices
Binge-watch season of House of Cards? Or binge-read tomes on gardening in dry climates? Coupled with on-site research, my waterwise landscaping crash courses these past 2 years were fueled by scouring the internet, buttonholing experts, and attending classes. I digested Western and California books in my library, and drilled deep into 72 more. Aha moments… Read More Binge-reading revelations