Skip to main content

Legacy of a Drought: Water Wise Gardens in L.A.

Finally. California's new governor, Jerry Brown, was expected to proclaim today that the drought which has officially plagued the Golden State since 2009 is over. This winter brought precipitation by the tub full: record breaking rain fall in December, plenty more rain in March, 50 feet of snow in parts of the High Sierra. Bottom line we got about 50 percent more precipitation than in an average year.

Looking out a restaurant window in Mammoth on March 18
This is great news of course - though we in L.A. should never see ourselves as off the hook. Southern California is a desert. The water that we use here always comes from somewhere else, be it the Colorado River or the High Sierra, and if the drought had an up-side it was that many of us became aware of this.

Angelenos aren't - and probably never will be - saints when it comes to environmentalism but as I have said before, we try and there is one L.A. characteristic that works in our favor whenever change is needed: we embrace the new. During the past few years drought tolerant and native plants have become en vogue for public spaces and private yards. They are replacing rose bushes, water thirsty annuals, and in some cases even lawns. This is what they look like in spring:

Drought tolerant plants in my neighborhood in L.A.


debi said…

I love the pictures. Hardy, native plants always enhance a landscape more gracefully than something that requires too much unnatural care.

North Texas' drought is no where near as severe as yours - we even got a dribble of rain Tuesday, but I'd love to see some true spring rains here - our soil is thirsty.


Thanks as always. Where does Texas get its water from?
debi said…

In north central Texas, we get over 40" average annual rainfall: between 2" and 6" each month, May being the heaviest month.

Texas is covered with man-made lakes:
"It might surprise you, but, the state of Texas has more acres covered by water than Minnesota, the "Land of Lakes!" This fact is made even more astounding when you consider that all of our lakes in Texas are man made, with the exception of Caddo Lake which is partially in Texas, and partially in Louisiana."

We love our lakes.

But even with all the dammed up water, dense populations often must purchase their water from rural communities and pipe it in.

I've had a fear for years that Dallas will suffer a sustained drought, draining our lakes and we will all dry up and blow away in out prevailing southern winds. "Dallas is, on average, windier than the 'Windy City' of Chicago." - Metroplex Daily Dallas/Ft Worth.

That was probably a lot more than you wanted to know,

Wow. Thanks for the research. You get more than twice than rain of Los Angeles (15 inches per year), more precipitation than my hometown of Innsbruck in Austria (37.28 inches) which can be very wet in the summer.

I was in Dallas many years ago but can't remember the wind and I did not notice the lakes on a later trip through Texas either. Sounds beautiful. I must pay better attention next time!

Horrible as it is I love the image of people drying up and blowing away in the wind. Very poetic.

Popular posts from this blog

Back to Basics: Dry Summers, Figs, and a Chunk of Cheese

What do we know about simplicity? Figs from our tree. Figs. The taste of summer, the taste of home; my immigrant home. Our backyard tree is heavy with fruit. In the mornings I go out to pick what is ripe; figs for breakfast, a treat straight from the tree; flesh and seeds, refreshing and sweet, grainy resistance and softness at the same time. Figs, the color of their skin, purple with blotches of green or white stripes where they have cracked. The reds and browns inside bring up memories: a summer spent in Normandy, France, with my parents, my brother, and my maternal grandmother. Life was about food in its basic, original form, about mussels and figs and cheese; it was about the ocean and its tides, gigantic but predictable, and about history. We visited Bayeux to see  the tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings;  we spent a day or a half at  Arromanches,  saw a documentary on D-Day and the landing of the allied forces on the b

Another Word for Fast Food? Trzesniewski (Pile On 1)

The other day I passed by a new Subway sandwich place which had opened a few blocks from our house. As I was reflecting its green and yellow sign images of foot long chunks of white bread came to mind, mayo smeared on one half, mustard on the other; ham, provolone, pickles, jalapenos, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes in between and a bag of chips for sides... People in America like to pile on. I also thought of my favorite fast food place in Vienna, which goes by the unspeakable name of Trzesniewski. The original Trzesniewski opened in the first district more than one hundred years ago. Its oldest location is tucked into a narrow street off of Graben. Other outlets are scattered around town. Trzesniewski sells open face sandwiches, slivers of rye bread (white or wheat? no, you do not get to choose!), topped with spreads made from either egg or tomatoes or cucumber, pickle, salmon, herring...  The more elaborate creations come with two or three spreads, applied next to each other

Ban on Plastic Bags Bugs L.A. County

Paper or plastic? Bag from South Africa. My friend recently came back from a trip to South Africa and brought me a reusable grocery bag. It is from Woolworths, one of the largest retail chains in South Africa; it is made by a community project and serves as a symbol of the company's commitment to sustainability and social development. I will think of this whenever I use my new bag. Thank you, dear friend! The Woolworths bag is not my first reusable bag. I carry two baggies which fold up into packs smaller than a deck of cards in my purse and a bunch of bigger ones in the trunk of my car. To me this feels like an easy way of making a difference environmentally. Others seem to have a harder time. When the county of Los Angeles recently introduced a ban on plastic bags for its unincorporated areas the new ordinance was met with resistance. Shops bemoan that paper is more expensive than plastic. They charge customers ten cents for every paper bag. Shoppers complain about the t