The Dry Garden: Ask Persephone


Plant a pomegranate and the hole you dig drives straight through time — Persephone deep, founding fathers deep. Pomegranates are in Greek and Persian mythology, the Bible, the Koran, on the seal of the British Royal College of Physicians. Scholarly gardening articles cite pomegranates as having figured in gardens in the colonial Carolinas. Spanish settlers brought them to California. Search the botanical name Punica granatum in technical journals and you find the chemists at L’Oreal are onto them: Pomegranates are named in a new patent for shampoo. Health publications carry studies on the anti-oxidant properties. Martha Stewarts everywhere recommend dried pomegranates for Christmas wreaths.

But gardeners can turn up a lot of trivia without learning one key fact: how to tell when they are ripe. (Hint: the one above isn’t). Click here to keep reading about growing pomegranates to crimson readiness in this week’s Dry Garden column in the

Opening day notes

From left to right: Las Vegas water authority witnesses Kay Brothers, John Entsminger and Richard Holmes were sworn in on Monday, September 26th at the Carson City hearings being held by the State Engineer of Nevada to determine whether and in what quantity to permit groundwater pumping for a Las Vegas pipeline.


Pat Mulroy seemed haggard and uncharacteristically subdued as hearings commenced today in Carson City over whether to allow Las Vegas to pump groundwater from four rural valleys to support more casinos and houses in Southern Nevada. Yet, as she took more than half a day’s questioning, the performance today by Southern Nevada Water Authority’s controversial general manager built into one of her best. She all but annihilated suggestions by opponents that increased conservation, water trades from California or desalination were magic bullets that would obviate the need for rural groundwater to keep Las Vegas in business. Anyone

Vegas water hearings

Omnibus hearings before the State Engineer of Nevada that will decide the fate of Las Vegas’s bid to tap the groundwater of four valleys in the Great Basin begin Monday, September 26th in Carson City. If you can’t be there, you can still see there. Click here for webcasts and here for a schedule of witnesses, beginning with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, then following with representatives from ranches, Utah’s Millard County, the Great Basin Water Network, the Long Now Foundation, the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute. Expect to hear the Southern Nevada Water Authority argue that it needs rural water to keep Las Vegas the economic motor of Nevada, and protestants to dwell on the devastation that broad-scale groundwater pumping would bring the Great Basin. The hearings were ordered after previous awards for Las Vegas from Cave, Dry Lake, Delamar and Spring

The Dry Garden: Fall planting season

The question comes every spring as our state flower, Eschscholzia californica, blooms. “Is it too late to plant poppies?” The answer is no, it’s not too late. It’s perfectly late. Whether sowing wildflowers, or planting perennials and woody herbs and shrubs, or putting natives into the ground, the best time to plant here is in late fall or early winter. The idea is to do what the plants do naturally: Get seed in the ground in advance of the coming rainy season.

Click here to keep reading this week’s installment of The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times

Green season


If you’ve ever wondered when to plant lettuce, watch for dandelions. Every spring and autumn, these urban wildflowers signal the start of temperate periods when the region has warmed up or cooled down to the point that it’s salad season.

Click here to keep reading this week’s dry garden column in the Los Angeles Times.

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