Monday, April 27, 2015

NY Times Visitors

If you are interested in seeing some of the water-saving efforts of residents in our area, they are grouped here:

Water saving local gardens 

For anyone interested in reading the NYT article,   it's here:

NYT article on drought

I thought the article missed an important point, that we are dealing with in our area:  for-profit water companies.  The real reason our water company initiated tiered water was for profit, not conservation.   

The adjacent municipal water company charges less than one third what our for-profit water company charges for water from the same source that costs the same.  The costs are not triple.  Our water company was able to push surcharges through the rubber-stamp California "Public" Utilities Commission to ensure that the company gets their profit whether or not anyone in our area conserves a drop.  

Fines would be a more effective way of controlling water use.  An executive from our for-profit water company, was quoted as saying tiers "sort of" help with conservation.  What they are really for in our case is profit. 

Here's the thing:  the Wall Street banksters eye water as a great way to suck yet more money out of the middle class and poor--privatizing municipal water, with the help of the GOP who have pushed the message that The Private Sector Is Always Better.   

I've read Detroit is looking at privatizing their water, and I can say, "G-d help them if they do."  Because for-profit water sucks money out of the poor, too, and is more devastating for them than it is for higher income people.  Many of the neighborhoods served by our for-profit water company are low income--Placentia and Gardena, for example.    

LA Arboretum's Australian Forest

Hybrid Eucalyptus flower
We visited the LA Arboretum's Australian Forest.  The large trees include various Eucalyptus, Melaleucas, Brachychitons, Auraucarias, and Acacias. Because of the size of the wide-shot photos (and the number of them), I've made them smaller.  You can click on photos if you want to see them in a larger format.
Calistemnon viminalis, weeping:

There are many newly and recently planted specimens.  This is a baby Brachychiton:
A silvery Acacia along the Serpent Trail:
Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea' foliage:
Brachychiton rupestris, Queensland Bottle tree:
The forest is open.  Xeric plants are not crowded together in nature due to limited water.
A recently planted Eucalyptus.  ID signs had not yet been added.
Beautiful Eucalyptus foliage bearing the distinctive Eucalyptus scent on a morning after light rain.
There are many mature trees; some over 100 feet tall.  They sculpt the space into a wide open, living cathedral of grey-green.  

A mass of Crinum there at the bottom of the photo:
A mature Auraucaria cunninghamii snapped off by a wind storm at some point, sprouting new leaders:
Beautiful texture:
Brilliant spring bloom on Cassia brewsteri:
The great beauty of the forest in morning light are the long splatters of dappled shadow cast by the tallest trees.  It's a marvelous, subtle effect.

The grand scale created by the widely spaced, tall trees dwarfed the small detail of flower and leaf, but careful observation brought delight.
Brachychiton populneus flowers:
 Acacia stenophylla seed pods and leaves:
Melaleuca lanceolata:
Carpets of shadows
Callistemnon 'Little John'--wonderful small shrub, looking beautiful every time I see it, from gardens well-watered to quite dry.  Small...
Acacia stenophylla again.  There were usually multiples of every plant and tree because of the luxurious amount of available space. 
Part of the Australian forest contained plants from more tropical areas of Australia.  The "lawn" was actually a carefully mowed mass of weeds, rather than grass.  It looked quite good!
Crinum pedunculatum:
A few NZ plants there, Cordylines:
Just a few Anigozanthos:
Grevillea 'Firesprite'
There's the whole 'Firesprite' in the foreground, with Eucalyptus towering beyond them:
Quite a surprise:  a variegated Brisbane Box, which is currently called Lophostemnon confertus, I think.  A lot of the leaves were reverting to green.
The striking flowers of Grevillea robusta, (I think).  There are several in our own neighborhood, but we don't see the flowers except as a golden haze, from afar, as they are thirty or forty feet up.  This young tree allowed for a close up:
This Grevillea reseeds in Southern California--not good when it quickly grows to 60'.  Too large for most properties.
A group of young Auraucarias, probably planted within the last few years:
Callistemnon flowers, fallen, add a touch of color to the spongy, litter-covered soil
The flowers of Hymnosporum flavum, common name Sweetshade.  The flowers were indeed sweetly fragrant:
This Hymnosporum tree was quite a mature specimen, as the branches have arched outwards with age.  There are a couple in our neighborhood, although the Sunset Garden Book advises it to be sited in non-windy areas.  It has a vertical, narrow habit in youth.
Several Eucalyptus (globulus, maybe) had been recently cut down.
If you look at the right hand side of the stump, there's a Western Fence Lizard sunning itself at the edge:
Another NZ plant, Phormium tenax:
This Acacia pendula was dying.  There were young, healthy specimens not far along the path. 
Several groups of Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata.  The black spikes are last year's flower stalks, the ivory are this year's:

The Australian forest is large enough to have its own compost area, which was huge--10,000 square feet, maybe?  A quarter of an acre of stuff piled 10 tall.  Cool!
There's one of the young, healthy Acacia pendulas
Fallen Brachychiton flowers
Brachychiton acerifolius flowers:
A Dodonea, but not the Dodonea of the American Southwest, which is Dodonea viscosa.  This is Dodonea microzyga from Australia:
Normally I'm an intense-color fanatic when it comes to plants--roses and the like--but I really enjoyed the Australian forest--the sense of both height and space,  the fine textures, sharp perfumes, the spongy bouncing litter carpet upon which to walk, the wonderful long splashes of shadow, the plants tough enough to endure harsh sun, little water, lean soil.  It was enchanting.