Sunday, November 20, 2011

Imagine: No Lawns (but maybe a free book?)

If you've been lounging in the Garden of Ed(en) for any time, you know that I'm vehemently anti-lawn (Keywords: wasteful, boring, destructive, sterile). So, this week I'm sharing a great book that like-minded, lawn-averse California gardeners should find inspirational and instructive. But first, let me take you back to this morning, when my button got pushed in a big way.

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I learned in design school that it's good form to start by saying something positive when critiquing a classmate's design. It makes them more amenable to the pending evisceration, so here goes…

The Encina Lodge and Suites, near Cottage Hospital, is to be commended for having their gardeners sweep the pavement with palm fronds instead of gas-powered blowers.


Today isn't the first time this otherwise lovely guest lodge put my boxers in a bunch. The identical scenario caught my attention two years ago, leading to a water conservation diatribe (It's Like Road Rage, Only Wetter) at my Fine Gardening blog. Sadly, not much has improved. No, I take that back: They've replaced the 1950s-era sprinklers with a shiny new, but just-as-poorly designed system: sprinklers showering me and Biff as we waded up the sidewalk; streams of water smacking into shrubs, then overflowing the beds; over-pressurized pop-ups sending clouds of mist drifting far from their intended target.

Now I can share the anger and frustration I felt this morning, triggered by the sight of a fast-moving stream of water coursing down the gutter on, ironically, Bath Street. The only thing missing was a Tidy Bowl man rafting the surge. This gusher's source was the motel's irresponsibly designed, poorly managed sprinklers sheeting off the grassy parkways three blocks upstream.

Read on at

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