The Dry Garden: Zausch and Di

Timing is everything when you’re a plant in a place with little water and lots of competition. Our native California fuchsia, Zauschneria californica, has patience. It remains sedate as the native sages and lilacs burst into spring blossom. Then, as the early bloomers slip into summer dormancy, this discreet gray-green shrub flowers, and flowers, and flowers, often straight through autumn.

Click here to keep reading about Zauschneria californica and its Uruguayan counterpart, Dicliptera suberecta, in The Dry Garden in the Los Angeles Times. Or, if you’re too mad to think about good flowering plants for hummingbirds because you really, really hate someone, buy them this book, reviewed today in the Los Angeles Times.

Watering like it was 1945

SINCE  introducing mandatory conservation in September 2007,  Long Beach water consumption now runs 16.5% below the historical average, reported the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners today.

For the full report from Aquaformia, click here.

According to Matthew Veeh, a Special Projects Officer with the city, Long Beach water use has dropped to 105 gallons per person per day, the lowest it’s been since 1945.

By comparison, the Los Angeles County average, according to a fantastically nifty Aguanomics map, was 185 gallons per person per day when the map was produced in November 2008. That, too, is dropping since the City of Los Angeles introduced mandatory conservation in June 2009.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently reported a 16.8% drop among single family homes in June, a 32-year low. But, from the looks of it, Long Beach is still way ahead of LA both in

Frogs and congressmen

THE “National Water Policy Event” held this last Tuesday and Wednesday shall receive due comment when the various presentations have been through the de-spin cycle.

But in a quick trip to Washington DC and nearby Virginia this week to hear congressmen, commissioners and rival Western utility heads intone about water, not one speaker matched the eloquence of the frogs chorusing from the lily pads in the all but forgotten garden of Ira Noel Gabrielson.

Gabrielson was the first director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The grass is always browner on the other side

WHEN George Knapp rumbles, people who care about water listen, even people routinely savaged by him. In April, Knapp and photojournalist Matt Adams won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for their KLAS-TV special “Crossfire: Water, Power and Politics,” which gave voice to the outrage and incredulity among conservationists, farmers and scientists over a bid by Las Vegas to drive a 300-mile-long pipeline into the heart of the Great Basin to pump its ground water south.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Few evening news programs attempt, never mind master, complicated essays on the cost of urban water in the West. This one does.

As disclosure, I should say that I too addressed the Las Vegas / Great Basin story in a year-long special assignment for the Las Vegas Sun. And by way of bragging, I will add that I too won a prize.


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