Wednesday, July 29, 2009
TURNING GREEN INTO BROWN
Because of ongoing drought conditions here in Southern California, it appears we are “going brown” instead of going “green.” Well, actually I think that is really all of one process.
As you know from past blogs, we live in a senior (55 and up) complex, which we chose because of its setting – lots of lawn, trees, shrubs, and a management policy that we could plant whatever kinds of plants we wanted around the outside walls of our particular apartment as long as the power mowers could maneuver around them. So we did. That was in April of 2005. The plants are looking good.
However, due to California's water shortage, a new management put in place about 2 years ago has decided to cap all water faucets on the outside of the building so no flower beds can be watered by the residents. Their rationale is that if residents don’t help them cut back on water usage, fines will be levied against the apartment complex, rates will increase and the costs will be passed on to the residents as hefty rent increases.
Management intends to keep the par 3 golf course watered, as well as the areas in the entrance to our complex. It is true that they will continue watering the lawns, but on a reduced schedule. Beyond that, it’s every man for himself. For us, it has meant in order for our plants - 2 white rose bushes, 1 camellia bush, 1 night blooming jasmine, 1 yellow hibiscus, 1 Barbara Karsten bougainvillea and two Cape Royale plumbagos – to survive, we must cart bucket after bucket of water, drawn from our bathtub faucet, through the living room, out the front door and then into the flower beds. When day temperatures hover close to 100 degrees through the summer and fall months, it will be almost impossible to get enough water to those plants to keep them alive. Jerry and I each have been trying to carry four buckets of water out early in the morning and another four buckets in the evening. This is not an easy thing for us to do, and I don’t know that we can keep up the pace. We do this because we sunk a lot of money into “landscaping” around our little tiny apartment and it is hard to stand by and watch our dollars die on the vine, so to speak.
I do understand that Southern California has a water problem. And I don’t want my rent to go up either, so there is not much we can do.
Just today I was looking online at cactus plants. I have never been particularly fond of cacti. I have seen them used to real good advantage when a professional landscaper has had his hand in the choice of plants and their arrangement. It is not something I can do myself. But when my plants die, I am sure not going to put new plants in that can’t sustain themselves in 100+ degree heat without water.
It is hard for me to get excited about a couple of saguaro cacti in place of my two plumbago plants. But I must admit that if I can find a few little cacti that will give me the kind of flowers I see on some of the online cactus sites, I might consider that as a start.
Poor California. We all knew we were desert originally and we all knew that we just might turn back to desert one of these days, but we always thought “Not in our lifetime!” Well, from the looks of my front lawn and my flower beds, we’re on the way! To be very honest with you, if I had to live in a desert, I think I’d just as soon try New Mexico!