News you can use

If it’s pictures of lovely native plants you’re after, go to the website of the Theodore Payne Foundation, which last weekend hosted a garden tour across greater Los Angeles. However, here and now, the story is about numbers. The City of Santa Monica has updated figures comparing the water consumption, labor requirements and green waste production of two side-by-side test gardens, one stocked with native plants and irrigated by drip and the other planted with a conventional complement of lawn and shrubs and watered with sprinklers. According to the project’s landscape designer Susanne Jett, since the two gardens were planted in 2004, the native one has used 81 percent less water, required 71 percent fewer hours of labor and produced 38 percent less green waste. Extrapolate those results across LA County’s roughly 1.6 million privately owned homes and it’s clear that one of the single most effective things

By popular demand

Marianne Simon of the Santa Monica firm Poetic Plantings was noted for her design's permeable paving, screening, recycled materials and use of Mediterranean, California native and edible plants.

After more than 4,000 votes were cast by the public, the City of Santa Monica has announced the winning designs for its three sustainable demonstration gardens to be installed this fall off Airport Boulevard. Click here to read about the winners in the Los Angeles Times.

A beauty contest with brains

IN the name of water conservation and reducing storm-water pollution, the city of Santa Monica has embarked on a demonstration project that not only shows what a sustainable garden looks like, but also offers design schematics, expert referrals and assurance that nurseries will make the plants available.

The latest move builds on the success of the 2004 demonstration project titled “garden/garden” at Santa Monica City College. It provided a side-by-side comparison of a water-saving landscape with a conventional one.

The new project, to be built on city-owned property at 3200 Airport Ave., will involve construction of three sustainable gardens side by side. According to a statement released by the city, among the design criteria were incorporation of “outdoor living room features, elements from Mediterranean and shade gardens, climate appropriate plants, permeable paving, veggie gardens, play areas, drip irrigation and lawn alternatives.”

What will the three gardens look like? That’s

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