Edible empire

Review of Rosalind Creasy's "Edible Landscaping," Sierra Club Books, 2010

Here it is. Take it.

Map showing Metropolitan's service area and aqueducts. MWD's announcement comes on the back of the state Department of Water Resources reporting snowpack in the California mountains to be 165% of the April 1 average. Single click on the map for the DWR release.

“We anticipate residential consumers and businesses throughout the Southland will continue to use water efficiently,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in a press release signaling that the giant wholesaler will be resuming full deliveries of water to 26 member agencies after several years of shortages. The shortages triggered region-wide conservation programs, whose fates and continued effectiveness are unclear in the momentary face of plenty. Click here for the full release.


KPCC and the “reasonable listener”

If you don’t think KPCC is a great radio station, then you probably don’t listen to it. Between the conversational parsing of the day’s news by Larry Mantle and Patt Morrison, the exceptional feeds of shows from Terry Gross and Dick Gordon in the evening, the purely delicious “Off Ramp” and the mix of local and national reporting, the Pasadena-based public radio station is widely regarded as a pillar of Southern Californian journalism. Yet, like so many pillars in greater Los Angeles, that column may not be solid. A station memo leaked last Friday showed that  the station temporarily pulled sponsorship credits to Planned Parenthood when the reproductive health organization became the center of culture wars underlying the funding debates in Washington.

Delta 101

Chris Austin, editor of the newsfeed Aquafornia for the Water Education Foundation, has added yet another slide show to her personal website Maven’s Photoblog. This time her subject is the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the US Pacific Coast. “Northern Californians think Southern Californians want to drain it dry,” she writes. “Southern Californians, for the most part, don’t even know where the Delta is, much less why it would be important to them.”

It’s important because, fed by the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Mokelumne, Cosumnes and Calaveras rivers, roughly half the state’s snowmelt, including drinking water for more than 20 million Californians,  runs through its tributaries. For anyone wishing to learn about the Delta, its fisheries, its farms, its wildlife and the water that we export from it, Austin’s new slide show is a good place to start. To understand the modern world logic of how

The Dry Garden: Pacific coast irises

Pacific coast iris and blue-eyed grass. Photo: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

One of the most common questions during California’s wildflower season is: “Is it too late to plant?” If you’re working from seed, yes. The lupines, clarkia, poppies and sunflowers coming into bloom now germinated last fall. It is only by the capturing of residual autumn warmth and early winter rain that they put down roots needed for a vigorous spring bloom.

However, the window to plant spring wildflowers does remain open in April for our native Pacific coast irises. This window is kept jammed open partly by the nursery trade, which often doesn’t release the plants until March — not ideal, but possible because irises are perennials. Although they do produce seeds, they grow from rhizomes, or tubers, that produce annual sets of roots.

If we want newly bought irises to go in the ground this year,

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