The Dry Garden: Stop saws, save birds

Text If there’s a tough instruction to follow in spring, it’s to relax. Don’t trim your trees, hedges or shrubs. Don’t paint the house. Greet sunshine by sitting back. The lazier you are, the more likely you are to hear the telltale cheep-cheep-cheep of baby birds, because spring is the high point of bird nesting season.

Text I say “high point” because California has a long nesting season. Hummingbirds have been broody since January and will remain so for some time. Think of them when you tell your gardener to leave the hedges, camellias and hibiscuses alone. Bushtits, swallows, wrens, woodpeckers, phoebes and finches are either sitting on eggs or constructing nests. Think of them, then put off termite work, gutter repair and tree thinning. The best months for tree work are August through December.

Click here to keep reading “The Dry Garden” in the Los Angeles Times.

The Dry Garden: Mar Vista is groovy, too

The Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase turns 3 on April 30. More than 80 homes will be open to the public. Twenty garden designers will be on hand to discuss landscapes that save water and power. Thirteen homes will have their solar power installers there to explain the ins and outs of leasing or buying panels. It’s a safe bet that there will be some young capitalists seizing on the influx of an estimated 2,000 people to sell lemonade. Also expect a few glad-handers, because this project of the Mar Vista Community Council is a honey pot for politicians. It’s genuine community action and it’s insanely popular. Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden column on a miracle of community organizing in Los Angeles.

Long Beach is groovy

If Los Angeles Department of Water & Power buildings were landscaped like the people inside believed in water conservation, Southern California would be a far better place. We residents have a way to go for that, unless you live in a city as progressive as Long Beach, whose water department, headquarters pictured above, walks its talk about outdoor water conservation.

As if further proof were needed that Long Beach is groovy, this week the City College is holding a sale of many drought tolerant plants, co-sponsored by the Water Department. Add to this, the Los Angeles Times has a dispatch from Jeff Spurrier about a thriving urban garden there.

Maybe it’s the city’s proximity to the Pacific, or simply that Long Beach selects for sanity, but unlike just about every other water agency in the region, Long Beach Water Department also gives a damn about fish.

That is reflected

Just say, “Hell, no.”

Pampas grass invades Encinas Creek in San Diego County. Source: California Invasive Plant Council. Click on the image to the taken to Cal IPC's "Don't Plant a Pest" site.

The environment writer’s environment writer, Ilsa Setziol, has this piece on invasive plants in the new edition of High Country News.

To everyone who ever admired Mexican feather grass, read it.

To Ilsa, who in addition to producing Rambling LA also contributes to this site, the Los Angeles Times, KQED’s Climate Watch and public radio, how nice to see you in HCN.

End of days and weeks

As we enter Native Plant Week in California and approach Earth Day world-wide, this advocate of native plants and appreciator of the Earth will observe them exactly the same way that I observe World Water Day. I won’t. Chronological gimmicks don’t work. Worthwhile goings on in April packaged up by others as part of Native Plant week are in this blog part of the normal run of Dry Garden Events.

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