The Dry Garden: Zausch and Di

Timing is everything when you’re a plant in a place with little water and lots of competition. Our native California fuchsia, Zauschneria californica, has patience. It remains sedate as the native sages and lilacs burst into spring blossom. Then, as the early bloomers slip into summer dormancy, this discreet gray-green shrub flowers, and flowers, and flowers, often straight through autumn.

Click here to keep reading about Zauschneria californica and its Uruguayan counterpart, Dicliptera suberecta, in The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times. Or, if you’re too mad to think about good flowering plants for hummingbirds because you really, really hate someone, buy them this book, reviewed today in the Los Angeles Times.

The Clean Water Act applies to the LA River

Have concrete, will create. A painting from last year's exhibit “The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. For background on the show and grafitti culture of the LA River, click on the image.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has reversed an earlier US Army Corps of Engineers classification of the Los Angeles River as un-navigable, a term that exempted it from protection under the Clean Water Act.

After William Mulholland and Los Angeles tapped Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra for its water in 1913, in the 1930s, the Corps paved the LA River, the city’s original source. This turned the river into a main drain of a county-wide flood control system. The upshot: Los Angeles drained the Eastern Sierra, destroying the once crystaline Owens Lake and nearly destroying the neighboring Sierra Mono Lake, while the city that Mulholland’s aqueduct

‘To catch a raindrop’

“The water that you’re looking at would all percolate into the ground if it weren’t paved," Mark Hanna, a Department of Water & Power engineer, told Judith Lewis Mernit during a rainstorm last winter. To read Lewis Mernit's story on the lost rains of Los Angeles, click on the image to be taken to the website of the new literary quarterly Slake, or look for Slake from independent booksellers.

A January storm sweeps across the northern Pacific on the jet stream and hits Southern California with prodigious amounts of rain, writes Judith Lewis Mernit in the premier issue of Slake. It brings wind, too: bursts up to eighty miles per hour lop the tops off palm trees, waterspouts swirl, and a small tornado lifts catamarans thirty feet in the air. Here in Sun Valley, in the northern reaches of the San Fernando Valley, hail clatters so loudly on the

Turf war continues

A proposal from Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Commissioners to switch LA’s lawn-watering ordinance from a two-day to a four-day-a-week opposite side of the street regime was rejected yesterday by the Los Angeles City Council, reports the Los Angeles Times. Instead, led by San Fernando Valley councilman Greig Smith, the council countered with a proposal that would allow three-day watering, though for shorter periods. This will be returned to DWP commissioners for consideration.

Last year, after the two-day rule was instituted by his own chamber, Smith publicly flouted it. “My grass is greener than it’s ever been,” Smith told the Daily News last September, a time of year that lawn is naturally brown. He defended his proposal yesterday by saying that it uses less water because of shorter cycles, with a total of 24 minutes watering a week instead of the two-day system’s 30 minutes.


The week that was, 6/27-7/3/2010

Sky and Water I. Woodcut. MC Escher, 1938. Click on the woodcut for background on the Dutch woodcutter's masterpiece.

Click on the image for background on the "Escher in Oil" New Yorker cover.

The utility burned through nine general managers in 10 years, during which time maintaining the status quo was a much higher priority than moving the City forward. No wonder DWP’s popularity currently resides somewhere between the DMV and BP. — Op-ed by Heal the Bay president Mark Gold, “Power and water don’t mix,” Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2010

responsibility for water management in Los Angeles is split between two agencies — the Department of Public Works and the Department of Water and Power — with very different missions and approaches… Putting all water issues under one roof would mean that sewage, storm water, flood control, water recycling, conservation efforts and drinking water

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