weekend doings

Saturday the usual Farmers' Market trip for the last of the summer stone fruits and more of autumn's goodness in the form of persimmons and pomegranate. A friend once told me that the word "pomegranate" comes from the French "pomme au granite" (apple of granite) but tracking this down today has him at odds with Websters, who say, "Etymology: Middle English poumgrenet, from Anglo-French pome garnette, literally, seedy fruit"

A trip to the Theodore Payne Foundation had me spending $172.35 at their native plant sale -- 15% off for members, 10% off for the general public. I became a member for $30 and I think I'll be money ahead over the year, plus they were giving away a decent book on caring for natives in the garden. At a 30% marginal tax rate I save $10 by deducting the membership fee from taxes and another ~$8 on my purchases with the additional 5% member discount. So far I'm not making money after spending the $30 membership fee. In fact, I'd be money ahead today if I had just used the 10% general public discount and not joined, but I think I'll be able to use the membership throughout the year. In any event, it supports a good cause.

The plants I purchased will be used in front and back of my house as I described earlier. I overheard that the really dedicated native plant lovers were at the Payne Foundation the weekend before, knowing that their nursery was full of the rarest and most desirable plants, and they happy to pay full price. This might explain why I didn't get any of the California Bush Poppy or one of the ceanothus cultivars that I wanted. I also missed out on a particular Cal fuschia ("Route 66"), but later found a source for seed.

Hiking on Sunday was on a paved trail along the west fork of the San Gabriel River out of Azusa. It sounds sterile to describe it as "out of Azusa", but it was really quite wonderful.

The Crescent Rod shower curtain is installed and it's really quite an improvement. I'm so glad someone is innovating in bathroom design. How long did it take to figure out that curved is better? The hideous bathroom curtains are gone.

On the down side, I still have a gaping hole in the side of my house and we had abotu 0.1" rain last Friday night. During the worst of it, I was building dams with wet newspaper to keep the water away (a result of no gutters and a paved porch area that actually slopes towards the house). This could have been prevented, but my trips to Home Deport and Lowes earlier in the week to get guttering resulted in nada because they now only carry the white guttering. The rest of my house is guttered in the brown that H.D. used to carry! I was told I could special order the brown at H.D. :(


  1. Have you seen this article? Kindred spirit and all.

  2. That's a nice article.

    Some choice quotes:

    I discovered that my lawn of Bermuda grass, not a native, reproduces through root spread, and the roots can go a foot deep. I had been seeding, fertilizing and watering a nemesis. I took a pick ax to dig it out, one foot at a time. Eight years after busily laying in a treadmill garden, two years after conclusively having decided to get off of it, I am finally free of lawn, which by conservative estimate of the seeding, watering and mowing costs was a $17,000-plus mistake, not counting the hundreds of hours spent in a mortal contest with Bermuda grass.

    My water bills tell the story. The bill for July 2000 was $91.71. This year, for the same period, it was $28.35. I take no fewer baths, do no less laundry. The reduction was entirely in the garden and directly related to lawn.
    IT takes an inner steel to let the garden go entirely dry. It also involves a learning curve to find out how to landscape with a palette of largely native and Mediterranean plants that are equipped to survive on 15 inches of rain. We're all raised to love a sweep of lawn; it will take time to appreciate a scrubbier Western aesthetic. I'm lucky my neighbors are supportive.

    The worst part of going dry is recovery. The 12-step program includes acknowledging that the L.A. County Department of Public Works estimates that 100 million gallons a day of dry-season irrigation water runoff are slowly poisoning the San Pedro and Santa Monica bays; that according to the California Air Resources Board, garden equipment alone in greater L.A. produces the same pollution as more than 780,000 cars; and that the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts Southern California as a leader in West Nile virus cases because of mosquitoes breeding in irrigation water puddles.