Native plants, native water

I will be presenting slide shows this coming week, tomorrow at 12noon at the California Native Plant Society’s Sale in Encino and Thursday at 9.30am as Lili Singer’s guest at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, about the conversion from a conventional garden (above) to a largely native one (below). The upshot was a massive increase in shade and wildlife value, elimination of storm water run-off and steep decrease in maintenance fees and water use. Judge for yourself as to beauty. For details about tomorrow’s talk, click here, for Thursday’s here. Click on photos to enlarge.

September fully loaded

Summer heat is late and fiery days are surely ahead in Southern California, so planting season is still months away. However, the number of courses aimed at helping homeowners and facilities managers convert from lawn to less wasteful landscapes ramps up in September. Book now to attend the Pacific Horticulture Society’s “Gardening under Mediterranean Skies” symposium from September 23-26 in Arcadia or click here for a full calendar of region-wide events. If you have an event to include, please send details to emily.green [@] mac.com.

The city flower

LA's city flower, the bird of paradise, is actually a native of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The image is a detail taken from "The Lilies," a Taschen collection of paintings of plants in the Liliaceae by botanical illustrator Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Click on the ikhamanga, aka Strelitzia reginae, aka bird of paradise, to find out more about "The Lilies" and the 18th century artist nicknamed 'Raphael of Flowers.'

A year after the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power began offering $1/square foot for home owners to rip out lawn, KPCC reports that the Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts is following suit. A teaser interview today by Patt Morrison with horticulturist Lili Singer, special projects director of the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers & Native Plants, will be followed by a longer appearance by Singer tomorrow on AirTalk.

By all means tune in because ripping out your lawn …

August fully loaded

Wet gardens need grooming once a week. Dry ones demand attention once a quarter. To learn what to cut and when, do take the native plant maintenance courses offered this month at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley or Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. Then, with all the time you’ve saved, join the wonderful Leigh Adams at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden to learn how to make mosaics. The class stipulates that you make a birdbath. An oppressive stroke. Tile the town! There is no cheaper, prettier or more fun way to add color to a dormant garden. If none of that appeals, there are bird walks and bike rides in the newly compiled dry garden events calender for August.

“Waterblogged”

The People issue of LA Weekly, online tonight, on stands tomorrow, includes Chance of Rain’s Emily Green, photo left. The surrounding garden, including the photo detail with native sages and a Mediterranean olive, are part of an 8,700 square foot lot with a small house in central Los Angeles where water consumption has been reduced largely through landscape changes from 150 gallons per day to 50. Lushness is achieved through use of mediterranean climate plants and aggressive rainwater harvesting. All but the vegetable garden and fruit trees will go dormant — and unwatered — in the summer. Emily Green’s column on water conservation in the landscape, The Dry Garden, appears every Friday online in the Los Angeles Times.

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