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“Xeriscaping” means gardening in ways that reduce the need for supplemental water. Some of these ways include using lots of mulch, avoiding water-hungry plants like lawn grass and annuals, and, above all, choosing plants that are well adapted to the local conditions.

I’m on a brief trip to Southern California, where the climate and environment and plant life are all so different from those of the northeast that it all almost looks to me like another planet. Geraniums (Pelargoniums) and Salvias are shrubs here, and crape myrtles (Lagerstroemias) are small trees. This is a subtropical desert. Yet people persist in planting lawns composed of northern European cool-season grasses and annuals that require lots of water.

The two pictures above show two adjacent suburban front yards in Valley Glen, California. The one on the left, planted with annuals requires copious amounts of water to keep looking good. The one on the right, planted with desert plants, is an example of xeriscaping. To me, they’re are equally attractive, but one is easier and cheaper to maintain as well as much friendlier to the environment. Just a little something to think about.


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