Water - Water - Everywhere . . .
So Where Did It Go?

You can't have a beautiful garden if there's no water to water it with. As I have written here before, and I will repeat again today, WATER IS A FINITE RESOURCE!  Without it, not only will our gardens dry up and blow away, but we will as well.

This may sound dramatic, but as I write this, millions of Angelenos are watering thousands of acres of unnecessary grass using antiquated and inefficient methods, which will waste millions of gallons of water – never to be replaced. This reality is bad enough in the best of times, but we don't live in the best of times, we are now living with a natural disaster that has been declared the worst in this country's recorded history.

Worst Drought on Record

US Drought Areas

As reported on July 14th on examiner.com and in the New York Times today, the United States has declared a natural disaster in more than 1,297 drought-stricken counties in 29 states. The declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), includes most of the south-west, which has been scorched by wildfires, parts of the mid-western corn belt, and the south-east.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than half of our country is experiencing drought conditions - the largest percentage in its 12-year history. "The warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States," was also noted, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The average temperature was 4.5 degrees above average, said the NOAA. Twenty-eight states east of the Rockies set temperature records for the six-month period. The 12 months ending June 30 were also the warmest 12-month period of any on record, according to the NOAA. This drought, which has settled over more than half of the continental United States, is the most widespread in more than half a century and is likely to grow worse.

For all of the above reasons and as a responsible gardener and fellow member of the human race, you need to seriously consider the planet we all live on and its finite resources when you turn on that spigot to water your yard.

Los Angeles Water Conservation Rebate Incentives

With summer officially here and temperatures on the rise in Los Angeles, LADWP is urging customers to kick their water conservation efforts into high gear to help reduce spiking seasonal demand.

For those customers who haven't cut back, now is the time to adjust sprinklers, check for leaks and really take steps to reduce your use. For those who have reduced their use, keep it up, and look for even more ways to save.

How LADWP Customers Save Water & Money:  To help residential and business customers conserve water. Beginning July 1st, 20 rebate incentives will be available to LADWP customers, including

  • the very popular High Efficiency Clothes Washer Rebate ($300 rebate) and
  • the Weather-Based Irrigation Controller Rebate, which offers up to $200 for properties under one acre in size.

To learn more about all of the available rebates please go to wrd.org

California-Friendly Landscape Incentive

This customer favorite program will also become available on July 1 and will offer $1 per square foot to replace water-thirsty lawns with California-friendly landscape, artificial turf or water permeable hardscape. Since the LADWP first began offering this program in 2009, over 689 projects have been completed, resulting in the removal of nearly one million square feet of lawn turf.

The best way for customers to lower their bills is to conserve wherever they can. Unlike many other water utilities, LADWP charges customers only for the amount of water used and does not charge a monthly water service or meter fee. Therefore, every gallon of water saved will mean a savings on the customer's bill.

Three-Day-A-Week Watering Schedule

LADWP reminds customers who use water for landscaping to continue on a three-day-a-week irrigation schedule, which is sufficient watering to keep plants and lawns healthy. Customers with street addresses ending in an odd number are allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those with addresses ending in an even number are allowed to water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

For more information on water conservation in Los Angeles, including watering schedules, the prohibited uses of water and water conservation rebate incentives, please click here.

Garden Of Eva Resources

I have written several blogs and newsletters that deal with drought tolerant landscaping, drought resistant lawns and water conservation. Should you be interested in taking a look at them, here are the links to that material.

Garden Consultation

If you're interested in exploring how to save water, help save our planet and still have a stunning landscape and would like to set up a phone consultation or arrange a site inspection, please give me a call (323-461-6556) or email me. In addition to my work as a landscape designer and contractor, I love giving advice and have provided garden consultations to any number of folks with great results.

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Plant Of The Month

California Poppy

Lemonade Berry

Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia) is common to Southern California, occurring in the coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and oak woodland below about 2,500 feet. The plant is an evergreen and may grow as high as 10 feet and to 20 feet in width. It has small flowers with five petals and five sepals clustered at the ends of the stems. The flowers of lemonade berry are white to pink. The fruits are red, hairy, and sticky. It commonly blooms from February to April.

This plant thrives on well drained soils and endures heat and windy conditions well. It tolerates sandy as well as medium loam soils, and it can even thrive in nutrient deficient soil.

The Cahuilla and other California native people ate the fruits of the lemonade berry raw. They soaked the berries in water to make a beverage, and ground the dried berries into flour for a mush or to add to soup. It also has medicinal uses.

This plant and its cousin, sugar bush (Rhus Ovata), are both commonly used in landscaping or gardening, and should be available at your local nursery. Both like full sun to part shade and average soil. They are very adaptable and respond well to pruning - though topical exposure to the plant oils may cause a rash (a hint of their poison oak cousin?). Sugar bush is more heat tolerant than lemonade berry.

Resources

For more information, please check out Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, which is a resource for this material and Wikipedia.

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