Weather that drives you to the nozzle

Source: NOAA. Click on the map to be taken to the Climate Prediction Center.

With rainfall across Los Angeles less than half the putative average for this time of year, and forecasts making discouraging noises about the prospects for a “March miracle,” it’s time for dry gardeners to water.

As odd as it sounds to be prescribing irrigation after light rains blew through and before summer heat, for lack of meaningful precipitation, late winter is the time to charge unnaturally dry ground. The soil is still porous, so there should be no run-off. Shorter and cooler days check evaporation and native and Mediterranean gardens are growing now, so they need a drink before they slip into summer dormancy in May.

But use caution. This is by no means a recommendation for a return to lawn-style frequent and light watering. It’s not about pushing a lot of new growth. It’s a

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

Slide show at the Arboretum


Tomorrow, Thursday September 15th, I will be presenting a slide show in “Garden Talks with Lili Singer” at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia. The subject: A year in a new garden, during which 9,000 square feet of lawn was removed to make way for a mixed native and food garden. The presentation will be followed by a field trip to the garden. Click here for details.

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The Dry Garden: Vertical meadow

 

Jasmine Hawes and mother Ginny Hawes (background) kindly posed for scale in this summer's towering sunflower garden, planted as part of a conversion from lawn to a water efficient native garden.

There’s overdoing it, and there’s what I did. After sowing a pound of sunflower seeds last winter, eight months later, the phrase “height of summer” can now be taken literally. In lieu of a front hedge, I have sunflowers. One astounded woman even came to my door asking when and how to plant them. Neighbors call my home “the sunflower house.” Out back, my yard is a vertical meadow.

Click here to keep reading “The Dry Garden” in the Los Angeles Times on how wildflowers can serve as a succession crop when replacing lawn. 

Click here to see what’s doing at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, and here for our regional treasure, the Rancho

End of days and weeks

As we enter Native Plant Week in California and approach Earth Day world-wide, this advocate of native plants and appreciator of the Earth will observe them exactly the same way that I observe World Water Day. I won’t. Chronological gimmicks don’t work. Worthwhile goings on in April packaged up by others as part of Native Plant week are in this blog part of the normal run of Dry Garden Events.

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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