People seem more ecologically responsible these days. For example, this year I didn’t notice any automatic sprinklers going off in the rain. Then again, I didn’t notice any rain.
We have a long dry year ahead of us, and that can make for all sorts of unpleasantness. Worst will be the fire danger, probably stretching from early summer into autumn. I expect we’ll be put on a strict water-diet and rates will rise.
If there is rationing, I hope it’s on the honor system, and things won’t get weird like they did in our city to the South. When Pasadena rationed water a couple of years ago, they tried to start a neighbor-snitch-on-neighbor campaign, encouraging citizens to spy on each other and report sightings of off-day watering to a local authority. That’s just all kinds of creepy.
I’m happy to save water, but there aren’t many corners left to cut around here. No leaks, no half-loads of laundry. No half-filled dishwasher. No dishwasher, for that matter.
But I will be putting a little Darwinism into practice; natural section will take place in the garden.
Even though my house is old, a nonagenarian, it had no landscaping at all when I bought it. Just a few giant trees and then some Home Depot snapdragons that were scheduled to die as soon as escrow closed.
According to a long-timer in the neighborhood, my house has a checkered past. Back in the 1980s, it was a "pharmacy" of sorts, which explains why I have two front doors. Then in the '90s, it flipped yearly, from one owner to another. So, in either case–crack house or short-term real estate investment--a well-tended garden was not a priority.
When I first bought the place, I made the typical mistakes of the credit-card wielding overly enthusiastic novice. I kicked things off with my “tropical period,” followed by the exotic fruit, English cottage garden, and Asian fragrant plant periods. It took a while to discover which plants were compatible with our Mediterranean climate.
I won’t bore you with what natural forces converge to create a Mediterranean climate (I could, but I won’t). Except to say: There are five Mediterranean climates in the world. The other three are located in Southern Australia, South Africa and Central Chile. Which means, if you’re looking for some loveliness that also conserves water, we’re not restricted to California natives; there are lots of succulents from Africa, and also wonderfully alien looking flowers from Down Under that feel right at home living in parched summers and cool winters.
But getting back to Darwin, I still have some vestiges of old hopes and dreams left in the garden, vestiges that require more than their fair share of care and water. They’re in for a shock, some tough love, this summer. And if they can’t stand the heat and drought, well, I don’t want my garden to look like Ecuador or Sussex or Hawaii anymore anyway.
So I’ll probably end up shovel-pruning a few guys that were never happy here in the first place. And yes, Cal natives will be a suitable replacement, but I’ll also be giving a green card to some low maintenance representatives from Provence, Cape Town and Australia.
I’ve posted some pictures. Not of my garden, but local examples of certain aspirations I may have. Oh, except the aloe tree. That handsome 9-footer is mine. We have, in a manner of speaking, grown up together.