Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Earth Day Festival, April 3 at Las Virgenes Creek on Agoura Road, Calabasas, CA

Leaning, learning and leading toward a more sustainable path, I look forward to participate in the Calabasas Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 3 at the Las Virgenes Creek restored site on Agoura Road, Calabasas, CA. Planning a booth display showing how to achieve Enduring Beauty in the Garden. Recognizing a continuum on which folks may place themselves, whether they embrace or do not embrace principles of sustainability, I hope to appeal to all senses and sensibilities! My goal is to help everyone move a little closer to sustainably sharing our precious earth and the resources she gives us.

At my booth, folks may delight in...

Touching, seeing and smelling mostly native flowering shrubs and bunch grasses appropriate to our climate zone --
donated by Nopalito Native Plant Nursery LLC, Ventura

Running fingers through UC Verde Buffalo Grass, a sensible lawn replacement for the eco-conscious lawn-seeker -- compliments of Florasource Ltd

Also, there will be a chance to...

Peruse books and other literature in my collection, and see garden plans and photos of enduring gardens in progress.

Get up-to-date information on professional quality in-line drip irrigation systems and components supplied by Smith Pipe & Supply Inc., Westlake Village

Speaking of drip irrigation... It is one of the most efficient ways to deliver water to the root zone of plants, to avoid run-off, to eliminate over spray, and to contribute less to proliferating weed growth. It can be a little more complicated to install than conventional spray-head irrigation, but it is not rocket science!

Many folks who want to do the right thing environmentally are still married to their green lawns, whether they use them or not. UC Verde may offer lawn-seekers a slightly different shade of green lawn, one that complements the drought tolerant and California-friendly plant palette. My recommendation: go lawn-less if you can. Whatever lawn you keep, make sure it serves a purpose and that it is as resource-efficient as possible.

At the event, I will also happily share design tips and insights, dispell myths and set records straight on the truth about suburban landscape choices, for example:

"Drought tolerant" and "California native" plants:

Myths: Fearsome visions of tumbleweeds and spiney cactus. Dusty, parched and desert-like. Unclean.

Reality: Fragrant, lush, life-giving, enduring beauty. (Can include desert plants if you want them!) Safe and inviting for kids and pets. You can even make a refreshing beverage from berries of some plants! Intriguing!

Weed-free traditional lawns and manicured shrubs in Southern California:

Myths: Reflects a healthful, carefree, easy way of outdoor living. Kids and pets romp on a lush, green lawn, while you relax. Affirms status.

Reality: Toxic dump of chemicals, devoid of life, high-maintenance, noisey, out of balance. Relaxing? Status???

Rather than teaching kids to be afraid and squeamish about dirt and bugs, do them a healthful favor. Teach them to be aware of environmental costs of artificially created and maintained lawns. For goodness sake, don't let them roll on a chemically induced, weed-free lawn! Better to let them find a bird, a bug or two enjoying life in a more hospitable habitat.

Be more squeamish about chemicals than bugs!

Come on out to the Earth Day Festival in Calabasas on April 3, and see just how beautiful and easy an enduring garden can be. Look for the booth with my sign pictured at the top of this blog post, as well as Nopalito's sign. In the meantime, check out begarden.com, my Garden Design website. On my Events/News page I have posted a link to the flyer for Earth Day Festival in Calabasas.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's a Tree Party!!!

Here is a flyer announcing a tree planting on Ventura Boulevard between DeSoto and Canoga. The date set is Saturday, March 27 at 8 AM, and we are meeting at the Holiday Inn. There is more information on the flyer, and also in the Press Release here.

Very much looking forward to seeing in the 'hood several more trees like this one a few blocks away...

(Ginkgo biloba, Maidenhair Tree)

and, this one, just around the corner...

Below are my thoughts , which I also shared recently in an email to some of my local community...

The Ginkgo tree, featured in this post, is a tough prehistoric survivor, well adapted to our climate, and it is as well behaved as any tree in the urban landscape, as long as male selections are planted. (Female Ginkgos bear rather smelly, messy seedpods or fruit.) It has great potential to meet the need for a strong, structural and unifying landscape design element along the Boulevard, and in maturity to provide grace and beauty. In autumn, the beautiful foliage will turn golden, and politely drop at once for a brief clean-up. Once the trees mature, they will give much needed shade. Let's just be a bit patient, as we hope we are with our children, allowing the trees to grow up. (They can be a little awkward-looking as adolescents.)

Here is a photo of Ginkgo leaves just coming out today -- getting ready to party?

And, the lovely bark texture that develops in age...

The Community will plant a fruitless male variant of this tree. It both qualifies for grant-funding and it is on the existing streetscape plan. (Latter also means it has the approval of the City of Los Angeles, Urban Forestry Division.) This planting of 23 trees is being funded through "Million Trees Los Angeles", and it is co-sponsored by Councilman Dennis Zine's office and the Woodland Hills-Tarzana Chamber of Commerce.

This is one of the first steps toward improving the streetscape along our section of Ventura Boulevard, which has been targeted for improvement through the Woodland Hills Community Coalition. Members of the Costanso Neighborhood Watch Group and other neighborhood groups are supporting this project. Members of Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee of our WHWC Neighborhood Council have been hard at work reviewing the streetscape plan and looking to the future. Businesses all along the Boulevard, especially Chamber of Commerce members, are joining the effort that is being coordinated by Councilman Zine's office.

I was so happy to be a part of the research and decision-making process that led to this fine tree choice for Ventura Boulevard. Think they'd make a nice choice for our residential streets, too, where we are plagued with failure and breakage of enormous diseased Eucalyptus trees.

A very hearty thank you goes to those who are helping to make long hoped for dreams come true! Hope to see lots of folks with gardening gloves out for the event tomorrow!