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Summer was too short and way too busy. I spent most of it driving. Drove from LA to NYC, and back again. Then flew back east for another family gathering. This was followed by a backpacking trip in the Hoover Wilderness. Finally home, feeling exceedingly guilty about my carbon footprint. At home I ride my bicycle to the video store instead of taking the car, but overall I am not there. The word hypocrite keeps popping into my head.

Nevertheless, I will keep moving on, trying to do what I can. In case anyone out there is unaware, we are experiencing a rather serious drought. While backpacking in the Hoover Wilderness west of Bridgeport, CA, we really saw no evidence of it. The lakes were, for the most part, nearly full, and streams were flowing.

Lane Lake near Leavitt Meadow
Lane Lake on morning we hiked out of back country.

This was in contrast to our trip last year that started at Mono Creek Trailhead near Lake Thomas A. Edison.

Dust blows from dry lake bottom of Lake Thomas A. Edison in September 2013.
Not much need for the boats. (Sept. 2013)

Furthermore, it is hard to believe that there is a serious drought when driving past farmland that is being irrigated with overhead sprinklers mid-day in very hot, windy conditions. Does 30% of that water even reach the roots of our precious food crops? Still, I believe the Governor, our city officials, and Metropolitan Water District. We are in trouble and we can ignore it if we choose, but it will be at a cost.

This Saturday I will be speaking at the 2014 Native Plant Symposium, Saving Water, Creating Beauty with California Native Plants, of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of California Native Plant Society. I will be presenting a slideshow with pictures of native plant gardens, including the good and the bad, peak flower season and the dry, hot, sleepy days of the rest of the year. Other symposium topics include drip irrigation, designing garden meadows, soil and compost, native sages, and permaculture techniques for drought conditions.

If Santa Clara Valley is too far away for you Southern Californians, don’t miss the Autumn Garden Party at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s Grow Native Nursery at Veteran’s Garden on LA’s westside. Carol Bornstein, Director of the Natural History Museum‘s Nature Gardens and co-author of California Native Plants for the Garden and Reimagining the California Lawn will discuss ideas on replacing your lawn with beautiful, resilient California native plants.” Later, Nicholas Hummingbird will share his knowledge of traditional and medicinal uses of native plants. There will be music, hard-to-find plants, and lots of people who share your passion for California native plants.

It’s dry out there! Turn your water-sucking lawn into a wild suburbia.

3 thoughts on “Drought?

  1. Anonymous

    Wow! Very interesting about the lakes you saw this year. Thank you for the information about the Grow Native Nursery event, it is closer than Santa Clara although gas prices are pretty low, my energy level will take the closer destination. <br /><br />I took my water-sucking lawn out over 10 years ago and the manzanitas and ceonothus don&#39;t even show there is a drought they are still in

  2. Rob J

    We&#39;re in San Jose, so you&#39;ll be in our neck of the woods. Welcome to the Valley of Hearts Delight!<br /><br />Sorry I won&#39;t be able to make the symposium, but thanks for mentioning it. Taking a whole weekend day would be difficult for any activity, with the kids and all, especially since this is a birthday weekend!<br /><br />We have ceonothus and manzanitas started a couple years ago

  3. OK, so I was considering hiking near lake Edison this weekend, but found that the taxi is done for the year due to low water level. Then I googled for more pics, but I found your crazy non-drought year photo! I kept looking for photos from this year, and instead found info on why last year was messy: They decided to do maintenance on the Shaver Lake dam in early summer 2013, so they released

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