Ceanothus blues

Source: 'Ceanothus' by David Fross and Dieter Wilken, 2006, Timber Press

Rhapsodies about ceanothus tend to come in blue. Ceanothus flowers aren’t any blue, they’re blue sky blue. No, George Gershwin blue. Deep space should have such a blue. The one-upsmanship is understandable. These plants do for blue what roses do for red and pink, though there’s always a know-it-all in the house willing to pipe up that in the case of the ceanothuses ‘Ray Hartman,’ ‘Dark Star,’ ‘Centennial’ and ‘Yankee Point,’ from bud to seed their blossoms can also seem to start mauve, turn lavender, then blue, then Jimi Hendrix purple. Some ceanothuses in the mountains such as Ceanothus cuneatus or ‘Snow Flurry’ aren’t blue at all, but white.

Commenting on the unspeakable

Five years ago, when asked about a plan by Las Vegas to pump groundwater around the Great Basin National Park, Nevadan hydrologists who learned that I was a reporter based in Southern California used to respond, “If you think that’s bad, you should look at Cadiz.”

Nevadans live to insult Californians, but it was said so many times by so many hydrologists that roughly two-and-a-half years ago, I started looking at this worse-than-Vegas Cadiz.

It wasn’t the Spanish port, but a little-known unincorporated pocket of the Californian Mojave just visible in the upper right hand corner of this lovely old map. Thanks to a water project backed by some of the golden state’s leading politicians, even five years ago Cadiz had another meaning. It was hydrology shorthand for “water grab.”

As I began studying it, incredulous dispatches on Cadiz became an early and running theme in this blog. We

Sunflower epilogue

Sunflowers are a glorious and effective conversion crop from lawn to native garden, however pruning them is a job worth mention.

The fourth option

Choices are best understood by those who make them. In the case of the decision about where to unveil schematic drawings of what new landscaping around Los Angeles City Hall might look like after last year’s Occupation, it may only be comprehensible to city hall’s caretakers at the Department of Recreation and Parks. Choosing last night’s meeting of the Los Angeles Downtown Neighborhood Council was, procedurally, rather like the federal government unveiling new plans for the White House grounds at a meeting of a DC neighborhood association.

LA supports 15 council districts and an estimated 90-plus neighborhood councils. An internationally recognizable symbol for most of the city’s 500 square mile reach could be a gushing lawn sprinkler. Depending on the location from cool coastal spots to hot valleys and foothills, from 40 to 70 per cent of our largely imported water is used outdoors. How fast and how seriously

Where palms belong

Florida photographer Cyde Butcher exhibits wildlife photography in Venice, CA gallery to benefit World Wildlife Fund.
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