Just saw the Bee headline, Sacramento City council may OK ‘cash for grass’ program. “Cash for Grass” incentives are an intriguing idea, but they have to be well thought out. You’ll give me money if I rip out my lawn and plant… what? Veggies? Ivy? Irish moss? Roses? Hydrangeas? Or can I only plant plants the City deems drought-tolerant, like rosemary and Mexican feather grass?
Will my tony neighbors a few blocks down in the Fab 40s, with their sweeping rows of tulips and grass and thirsty edging plants have to rip it all out or face stiff fines? Or will we all just start watering at night, which we know is bad for plants.
Will we have the Plant Palette Police cruising our streets by day? Will gardeners holding watering cans have to dive into the nearest bush to avoid scrutiny? And what if my front yard is a crispy salute to all things Mediterranean while my private backyard is a sloshing frenzy of grass, fountains, a pool, leaky faucets and frequent hose fights and slip-n-slide fests? Water is water.
Apparently, front yard warnings are already being issued. And what about tiny yards with thirsty plants? And what about my irrigation system? A leaky drip system is no better than sprinklers that run a couple times a week watering a less-thirsty dwarf Fescue lawn.
I’ll bet my lawn uses a gazillion times less water than the new downtown arena’s Farm to Fork display will. Proceed with caution, City of Sacramento. Some of us are pretty fed up with you right now.
Let’s keep an eye on this, Sacramento gardeners. A decision from the Sacramento City Council is expected tomorrow.
get thee to a botanical garden.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
Look what I unearthed from under a pile of leaves today! Tulips! Since we seem to be getting farther and farther away from freezing temps and finally had a decent rain after a record-breakingly dry winter, suddenly there’s life in the garden! Within just a few days, my tulips burst out of the ground. It’s exciting, and I still have blooms to look forward to!
The weather has been so funky lately (said the spoiled Californian)… with a winter freeze that turned my magnificent blooming Cupheas and Princess bush into crinkly beige sticks and many grey days without sufficient rainfall. I kept telling myself, “Jeez, I need to water.” It was an adorable notion, because the irrigation curse that had been placed on this house long before I moved is still in full force. I turned on the water and nothing happened. Dry silence. The next morning, however, we awoke to a flooded front lawn, with water seeping up from below quite spookily, and a flooding gutter.
A pipe had cracked, so Kim heroically threw on his sweats began digging in the cold, wet muck before heading off to work. All is good now, but we will need to gut the existing irrigation system at some point. On that note, our plans to re-landscape and fix up the kitchen have evolved into the possibility that we may add on a second story. Yup!
At my aunt’s urging, we had consulted her architect about how to approach a kitchen remodel. During our consultation, he made an eye-opening observation about the fact that no matter how much we spend on a new kitchen, the house will still be under 800 square feet. So in order to do a smart kitchen remodel, we may be increasing our house size.
At this point, we’re waiting to see the architect’s sketched ideas and then we’ll decide how to proceed. There’s a backyard re-landscape in our future, but we’re not sure when it will happen since we’ve shifted gears. What we’ve learned from all of this house and yard stuff is that, like planting tulips, it’s a process, and sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to end up with until you’ve done some of the work.
So cool! You know those prolific, inedible sour Seville oranges growing at Capitol Park? Seville oranges can be used to make marmalade! Corti Brothers is selling marmalade made from the fruit of local trees! I had stopped by Corti’s the other day looking for edible goodies for a birthday gift basket and came across A Capital Vintage Marmalade. Since I’ve never used marmalade in my life, I didn’t buy any, but I plan to go back and get some.
A quick Google search yielded plenty of uses for orange marmalade. Ham baste figures prominently. Incidentally, Corti’s had enough local products for a person to put together an entirely local gift basket. You could start with some Dark Star coffee beans from Coffee Works, add a Ginger Elizabeth chocolate bar, some Capitol Park marmalade, and Bariani olive oil and honey. There are bound to be even more local goodies there. Nuts and wine, maybe.
Frigid winter temperatures have induced dormancy in the landscape and my desire to garden. All I want to do is occasionally water my air plants and admire my reblooming orchids … from the sofa… with a warm mug in hand.
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for talk beside a fire: it is the time for home. – Edith Sitwell
Except for throwing frost cloth over my little lemon tree, herbs, veggies, and succulents, I haven’t done diddly in the garden since I planted my bulbs. We have also shifted gears and are more focused on figuring out what we are doing to the inside of our house. Everything from a kitchen remodel to adding on a second story is being discussed. In fact, we’ve met with an architect at his office and he’s coming out in a couple weeks to walk the property and give us ideas.
My front yard plants are looking pretty crispy after the week of sub-freezing temperatures we had recently. I think nearly everything’s alive… just have to see where new growth emerges closer to springtime. My Cuphea and Princess Bush were the hardest hit. Happily, I was able to make one last batch of pesto before my basil plants succumbed to freezing temps.
Inside, my kitchen windowsill orchids are spiking… and outside, my red epiphylum is blooming for the first time since I rescued it from my old abode, where I soon realized no one cared whether it lived or died. It took nearly five years to bring the plant back to health and now it’s blooming. Yay, resurrections!
From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens – the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind’s eye. - Katherine S. White
I finally dragged my lazy ass out front to plant my tulips. They’d been chilling in the fridge since arriving from Colorblends several weeks ago. Had they been in there for the full six weeks? I don’t know. All I know is, we got a break in the rain and Thanksgiving is Thursday and I need room in my fridge for holiday food, not tulips.
“What? I thought these were shallots! They’re in the stuffing!”
First, I dug the planting hole. I skipped the bulb auger this time because I had a hundred tulips to plant and realized I should just dig out the entire swath of soil along the front edge of the bed. I actually only got ninety-four of them in the ground. That’s because my basil is still growing and I can’t… won’t… pull it until I make several more batches of dairy-free pesto.
I’ll plant the leftover bulbs in a container. As happens to me sometimes, strange things happened while I was out front. A homeless man walked by and turned back to ask me the time. I gave that to him, but then he… clearly not a neighbor and clearly emboldened by my politeness… asked if I know someone named “Laura” who lives on my street. Dude? Don’t. Even.
“Not at all.”
I replied in a voice that encouraged him to keep walking. When creepy drifter guy was gone, police helicopters started hovering over my street, announcing something from the loudspeaker that I couldn’t quite make out. I think it was about a missing boy. Then a police car cruised by, circled back and then took off. I don’t think the two unsettling events were connected; just random strangeness that punctuated what was otherwise a lovely fall day of bulb planting. Usually, my neighborhood is quite idyllic.
As the afternoon sun waned, the soil came out, the bulbs went in, the soil went back in, the pansies went in, my back began to groan. I didn’t add any granular fertilizer to the soil, so I will hit the pansies with liquid fertilizer in a couple weeks; these bulbs contain all the nutrients they need in order to bloom.
I decided to plant a flat of ‘Dynamite Wine Flash’ pansies over my bulbs. Meg and Michael at the nursery helped me settle on that color over ‘Antique Shades’, which I also liked. The flat sat untouched for a week since my mind was pulled in other directions by other distractions. You can tell by the roots that they needed to go into the ground… stat. It feels good to have tulip planting out of the way. Now we get to sit back and wait for the show.
Guarded within the old red wall’s embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight. – Amy Lowell, A Tulip Garden.