The Dry Garden: Master gardener

Color is everywhere. Fruit is all around. But the most persistent sensation to be experienced in Yvonne Savio’s garden is softness. The soil is so springy, so voluptuous that you could fall into it and come up laughing — provided that you fell into the terraced half-acre slope and not off of it, in which case you might land on the roof of the house that Savio’s father built in 1950.

Click here to keep reading about the garden of the woman behind LA’s Master Gardener program in this week’s Dry Garden in the LA Times.


The Dry Garden: Seeing a park about a toad

It’s raining this morning in Altadena, California. Emily Green, that would be me, is on vacation and will be back next week columnizing about how to garden in dry conditions when it’s not so conspicuously wet. In the meantime, read Louis Sahagun’s piece in the Los Angeles Times about how Forest Lawn Cemetery wants to fell 835 oak, sycamore and walnut trees to make way for new paying customers, aka dead people. Then opt for woodland burial or cremation. Or check out Jeff Spurrier’s series on community gardens in the Home Section. Later today, the Home Section blog will include a photo essay by staff photographer Anne Cusack on the sprawling hillside cactus garden of UCLA plant physiologist Park Nobel. No morning is complete in this house without checking Aquafornia, the newsfeed of the Water Education Foundation. This being a vacation, however, even that pleasure may be supplanted

Advocating for the future

Denied the full rate hike that it sought from an irate city council last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power acceded to pressure to create a position for a “rate payer advocate.” The fear among conservationists was that the council and advocate would then thwart future rate hikes needed to replace leaking pipes, for conservation and a shift to alternative energy. One and a half general managers later (one was interim), the LADWP is now staging public workshops to explain to the public why it needs to invest now for water and power security later. The graphic above comes from a PowerPoint that accompanies the DWP meeting schedule. The first meeting, in Van Nuys, is scheduled for this Wednesday from 6.30-9pm at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center. Click here for background and here for the full workshop schedule.

UPDATE 6/15/11: The Los Angeles Times reports today

The Dry Garden: Park plans for LA

We were warned. In 1930, in “Parks, Playgrounds and Beaches for the Los Angeles Region,” the Olmsted brothers and Harland Bartholomew urged the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to set aside land and funds to create 70,000 acres of parkland running from the mountains to the Pacific. Considerable lengths of the “pleasureways” would trace natural rivers where parkland could double as flood control boundaries.

“Study has unearthed no factor which indicates that the people of this Region will be permanently satisfied with lower standards than those of other great communities,” they wrote, “and many that point toward the expediency of higher standards. The big question is whether the people are socially and politically so slow, in comparison with the amazing rapidity of urban growth here, that they will dumbly let the procession go by and pay a heavy penalty in later years for their slowness and timidity.”

Unafraid to appear

Vegas case for water surveyed

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your reading glasses. Today the Bureau of Land Management is expected to publish a long-delayed draft environmental impact statement scrutinizing the impact to federal land of a proposed Las Vegas pipeline into the Great Basin. Long pipe (306 miles), long document (it’s expected to run more than 1,200 pages). An extended comment period of 90 days is expected. Click here for background, here for a link to the federal register. The comment period will start the day that a notice of publication of the EIS appears in the register.

Shortly after the federal comment period ends over access to public land for the Vegas pipeline, Nevada’s State Engineer will begin omnibus hearings to decide whether or not to award water to fill it. Previous awards by the former state engineer were thrown out by two courts, citing due process violations and unsound assessments of available groundwater

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