Happy Earth Month: Tip #2 Replace Your Sprinklers

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Earlier this month we told you that in honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), we’d be sharing our founder Andy Lipkis’ simple sustainable suggestions — from his home to yours — right here on our blog throughout April. Last week we brought you Andy’s first tip: how and why to maintain your yard and garden with rain barrels.

Now it’s a fresh, new week and time for Andy’s second tip: Replace your sprinklers.

Why? Because chances are your sprinkler system isn’t running as efficiently as it could.… Read more >>

How to Water Our Trees During the Drought

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We live in a beautiful Mediterranean climate. Southern California is actually one of only five regions in the world with this climate – cool, wet winters and warm to hot, dry summers. But of those five, ours is the driest. Fortunately, our native plants have evolved to thrive here; they expect to get their moisture for the entire year from late fall to early spring.

Except not this year. This is the driest year on record, and even our native trees and shrubs are dying in the wild lands.… Read more >>

The Real Eco Choice for Southwest Landscapes

Is the summer heat leaving you feeling a bit parched? Perhaps your landscaping is thirsty, too? If so, you’re not alone. People all over the southwestern United States are realizing that our traditional green lawn landscapes are more difficult and expensive to keep watered in hot, dry years like this one. So much so that cities are actually paying residents to rip-up their grass and replace it with climate-appropriate plants.

No matter where you stand on the aesthetics of the issue, the fact is that losing the lawn allows cities to reduce water consumption—amazingly, by up to a third—even while the population grows.… Read more >>

Abuzz About the Power of Parkways!

Up until recently, many Angelinos didn’t even know what a parkway was. Often called a planting strip, median, nature space or tree lawn—people were confused about what to call it, much less what to do with this section of our cityscape.

Now all that’s changed. One little LA Times column by Steve Lopez, lots of work from Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson, the dedication of groups like LA Green Grounds, the Urban Ag Working Group, Farmscape, the LA Garden Council, Root Down LA, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Hunger Action Los Angeles, the Wynbrandt Farm, Community Health Councils, St.… Read more >>

The Real Truth About Fake Grass

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True or false? Artificial turf or “fake grass” is a great alternative to traditional lawns for water-scarce Los Angeles.

It needs no water, requires basically no maintenance, and is often billed as an eco-friendly choice because it is made from things like recycled tires. Seems like a no-brainer, but fake grass is not a good choice if your goal is a sustainable landscape. Here’s why.

Like many fake things, its beauty is only skin deep. The goal of an eco-friendly choice is a thriving eco-system.… Read more >>

Trade One Kind of Green for Another: Even More Cash for Your (Landscape) Grass

Marvin Steindler Photography

Want to get away?  Think that Hawaiian vacay is out of your price range?  Well, if you still have a lush green lawn on your property, maybe not. The price for grass has doubled!  Quick, cash in now and make up to $4,000 (depending on the size of your lawn).

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s turf removal rebate, or “cash for grass” program is back and better than ever. The price per square foot has increased from $1 to $2.… Read more >>

No Need to Plant-Sit These California Natives

Black Sage and Flannelbush, photos by Donnella Anderson

Going on vacation? Trying to find someone to care for your garden while you’re away? Well, this amazing duo of SoCal natives goes on vacay with you, as they need almost no water in the summer. Black sage and Flannel bush will lounge around your garden, perfectly blending with the beautiful and laid-back vibe of the SoCal summer. So take your time off and come back home to a garden that will look as fab as you do!

Black sage (Salvia mellifera)
Evergreen shrub, California native measuring 5’ tall and 5’ wide.… Read more >>

No, Sticky Monkeyflower Is Not a Trendy Tropical Drink

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As much as you might want to order a Sticky Monkeyflower from your favorite mixologist, you won’t have luck. To get something with this fun of a name, you’ll have to head to your favorite California native plant nursery (try Theodore Payne Foundation or Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery).

Monkeys may not be native to California, but Sticky Monkeyflower, or Bush Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus and cultivars), is. This evergreen shrub grows to be 2–3’ tall and 2–3’ wide.… Read more >>

Grow a Fruit Salad on a Single Tree

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Want to grow a fruit tree, but can’t decide which one? Wouldn’t it be great to have more than one type of fruit on a single tree? It’s possible to have this “fruit salad” effect in your backyard with the amazing technique of grafting.

Grafting is the process of splicing a branch or bud from one tree onto another tree. Grafting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in winter) is done in winter when the trees are dormant, or leafless.… Read more >>

Western Redbud: “A tree with year-round interest!”

Photos: Bob Sussman (left), Stan Shebs (right)

Why is the Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) the best tree ever? Maybe it’s because at this time of year, redbuds are the focal point of any garden lucky enough to have them. This native Californian is a small tree (15–20’ x 15–20’) and does well in most any kind of soil, as long as it is well-drained.

In the late winter and early spring, when most everything else is still dormant and waiting to bud, the red bud has spectacular magenta flowers that are delicate and yet very resilient to cold, wet days.… Read more >>