Category Archives: Gardening

Grass into Gravel: Frying Pan, Meet Fire

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Two Examples of the New LA: Dead and Deader

ADMISSION: THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE, A RANT, IF YOU WILL

That said, with California stealing headlines, thanks to our historic drought, the LADPW’s offer of grass for cash here in Los Angeles feels like a win-win, no-brainer. Lose your water-guzzling lawn, and get paid handsomely to do it. One could think of it as Saving the Planet With Benefits. But the fact is, tearing up your lawn only to lay down DG and even a few paltry succulents, or worse, a gravel pee-pad, is just “paving paradise to put up a parking lot”, to paraphrase Joni.

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4 Simple Steps For Turning Your Yard Over To The Wild Things

Being a passionate environmentalist – albeit a deeply flawed one- and the father of a one year old girl presents some pretty huge challenges. It’s impossible to ignore the overwhelming onslaught of bad news regarding the natural world. It’s hard, in short, not to feel hopeless. At the same time, there’s this ecstatic, tiny, wild-woman tearing around my house, exploding with  tales and adventures yet written. Her future, and the future of the planet, is not cast in stone. And the truth is, its dangerous and lazy to assume we have any idea what life on earth will look like 100 years from now. Sure, we can extrapolate, but we can’t know.  Therefore, we, as parents, have to raise our kids to think- and act- beyond the current seeming reality. And to do that, we have to present working models for a new possibility, models which, in this case just might prevent global collapse. We desperately need to get beyond, “Holy shit, WHAT HAVE WE DONE!!??”, and switch into, “Ok, what can we do?” And then we have to ask, “What is our sphere of influence?” I’m not the president, and on a great day, about 20 people read my blog, so for me, the answer is simple: “Create wildlife habitat where we live.” Call it my high horse. Here’s why:

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Your House Ain’t Property, it’s Habitat

“We can reclaim biodiversity and habitats within human landscapes.”
– Thomas Rainer

That scaly fellow swaying from our coast rosemary (Westringia) is a San Diego Alligator lizard. He was kicking it in the bush midday, most likely on the hunt for the airborne critters visiting the purple flowers that bloom winter through spring. It’s been cold here for LA, and I suspect food is tricky to come by. The sighting was a victory of sorts. One year ago, our yard was a dirt hole. Now, there’s a lot of things like that lizard creeping, crawling and flying around here. The yard is alive, and I don’t mind saying, I’m proud of that fact. Turning our property into habitat has been a dream since the day we set eyes on the place.  I feel strongly about this. In fact, if I could, I’d make it a law: Anyone lucky enough to own a home with any amount of land should be required to make 50% of that property habitat for the local flora and fauna. That’s right, a law, punishable by death…or…no internet access.

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The Amazing Monarch: A Movie

Shot mostly in our backyard, here’s a little movie about the amazing Monarch Butterfly, why you should care, and what you can do save it from extinction.

Two Killer Tweets From Thomas Rainer That Could Change The World For Better

Sympathy For The Devil- Lady Mantis In The Garden

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Female Mantis on Mexican Honeysuckle (David Newsom Photography, All Rights Reserved)

A little while back, I wrote about the decimation of the Monarch butterfly population in my garden at the hands of a Chinese Mantis.  Well, behold the lady in question, all three inches of her. With huge spiked claws 1/3 her body length and wide-set eyes with a binocular field of vision, this non-native, invasive lady is built to kill.

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Detail- Female Mantis on Mexican Honeysuckle (David Newsom Photography, All Rights Reserved)

And so, as much as I hate her for her impact on the already struggling Monarch migration, I must admit, she’s terrifyingly cool to stare at…especially given the hair raising way she stares back.

Enter, Aniko…

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At the age of 42, I was a single guy who’d lived in the same apartment for two decades, riding around in a 1984 Land Cruiser wagon with his 6o pound mutt, Burt. I had no ambition to own a house, no intention of having kids, and lived only to make enough money to load up my truck, go hiking in the mountains, surfing in the ocean, ride my mountain bike and take pictures. And serial date women. I was an LA based, Peter Pan who tolerated protracted and ridiculous battles with his land-lady in order to enjoy doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I eschewed commitment like a dog avoids a cattle grate. Then I met my soon-to-be wife, Sian. The gig was up three hours into our first date. Continue reading Enter, Aniko…