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March 2009 home page

Lose Your Lawn!
March 2009 | Mary Friestedt, Bellaire


A water crisis is looming, friends, with rationing likely. One important thing to do right now: lose your lawn.

Top ten reasons to lose your lawn:

  1. You won’t waste hundreds of gallons of precious water keeping the lawn green.
  2. You’ll save money on your water bill!
  3. Water you save can go to our farmers.
  4. No fertilizing your lawn anymore with nasty petroleum-based fertilizers that wash into the ground and down to the ocean, causing more havoc.
  5. You won’t have to mow, saving you more money.
  6. The lawn mower will no longer cause air and noise pollution.
  7. Gone are ugly brown spots on your grass left by the urine of dogs.
  8. Kids or grandkids that want a place to play can walk to our beautiful Powerhouse Park.
  9. Money to buy new walking shoes with water bill savings.
  10. Most of all, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you are saving a precious resource!

“But my lush green lawn is so beautiful!” my mother used to say. There are alternatives, however. Lynne Blackman, talented Del Mar gardener, replaced her large expanse of lawn with a bed of brown Torrey Pine needles that are crunchy underfoot, soft, and beautiful. To add a zest of color, she painted large dead tree parts in bright colors and now they dance through the pine needles adding charm, whimsy, and color that the lawn never had. She has a delightful labyrinth with sand and stones that requires no water.

Another lawn replacement is pebble or mulch paths that wind around California natives or Mediterranean plants which need little water. Some of my favorite Mediterranean plants are:

-Euphorbia wulfenii with bright chartreuse flowers and blue-green foliage.
-Pride of Madeira (Echium candidans) with striking blue, purple, pink, or white flower clusters that bloom in the spring.
-Geranium maderense with fernlike foliage and tall, brilliant pink flowers that bloom for two months in the spring.

Easy to find succulents store water in their stems or leaves and ask for little. Not cactus here, whose spines can hurt, but succulents that look like rosettes, little pickles, Chinese lanterns, or even a cow’s tongue!

For California natives, visit the website of Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido: www.laspilitas.com, or Cedros Gardens: www.cedrosgardens.com in Solana Beach for many colorful Mediterranean plants.

Walk around our town, see residents replacing their lawns with the plants that belong here: California natives and Mediterranean plants.


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