Sunday Morning Garden Chat: California Xeriscaping

From commentor Jerzy Russian:

Here are some pictures of my front yard in San Diego. About five years ago, we decided to replace our grass lawn with California native plants. The state of California was offering some sizable rebates to people who put in low-water landscaping, so we went ahead and made the change. We went to a local community college nursery and met with a landscape architect for a free consultation to get some ideas on what plants to use and how to arrange them.

The transition was relatively straightforward, but lengthy with some labor involved. We first had to kill the grass. This was accomplished by covering it with black plastic for six months, during which time the Sun cooked it to death. Next, we rented a sod cutter from the nearby Home Depot and cut up the dead sod. After that was hauled away, we were ready to begin.

At top: We decided to put a dry river bed running diagonally down the yard. We put down landscaping fabric down over the whole yard, and arranged stones of various sizes to make the banks of the river bed and the bed itself. All of the other parts of the yard was covered with mulch.


We have a lot of succulents that were just pups when they were planted. They have grown quite large, especially in the last six months with the relatively wet winter we had.


This one (google tells me this might be sempervivum) came from a single small cutting.


Lavender grows pretty well here. Those purple blooms smell a lot like lavender.


We have two varieties of lilac. They were slowly growing at first, but they really took off over the last six months, given the relatively wet winter we had. The exact name of the one with the red blooms escapes me at the moment.


The variety that is not in bloom at the moment is Carmel Creeper. It has blueish blooms that come later in the year.


The rosemary bushes are doing well.


We have a few bottle brush bushes. Their red blooms look a lot like brushes you might use to clean out bottles.


About a dozen years ago we got a few trees for free from an outfit called People for Trees. This crepe myrtle we got from them blooms in early summer.

***********
Another call for submissions: I’m out of pics, so this is your chance to send me some for next week!

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?






115 replies
  1. 1
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    Anne Laurie:

    Check your email!

  2. 2
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    Lovely. I see more and more natural landscaping when I go back and it’s smart given the water situation in CA.

    I will be in San Diego in 3 weeks time with my second son. I am excited b/c I love SD and have a lot of memories tied up there. I’m also nervous about going back b/c when I visited in March, I arrived to find my dad in the hospital. I spent my two week visit setting him up with hospice. He’s hanging in there for the moment. I’m praying he makes it through the next few weeks and that I can have one more good visit with him. My dad loved gardening and bird watching. He would have loved these garden chats. And for a piece of trivia, his undergrad is Bethany College.

  3. 3
    eclare says:

    Looks wonderful…one question, that is lilac? I’m surprised that would grow in CA. My neighbor has a no water yard, but most of it is pebbles.

  4. 4
    raven says:

    Nice stuff. It’s weird, we’re actually spared the incredibly brutal heat here. It’s hot and humid but not like up north. Go figure.

  5. 5
    mrmoshpotato says:

    The succulents look very succulent.

  6. 6
    Aleta says:

    @raven: Go figure.

    I can’t it’s too hot.

  7. 7
    eclare says:

    @tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat): What a small world. Hope you get a good visit.

  8. 8
    Aleta says:

    @tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat): I lived in hakusan for a good period. It was a simple neighborhood, especially for tokyo, and wonderful.

    Hope things go OK with your father.

  9. 9
    germy says:

    Question for the gardeners:

    How does one dispose of unused Roundup weed killer?

    My spouse bought some a few years ago to fight an invasive plant that was choking our other plants. Now she has a lot left and doesn’t want it anymore.

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Very nice. I have a hot dry garden bed that I planted with blue rug juniper and some low juniper bushes years ago. Whoever owned the place before us had used river gravel on the driveway which is absolutely the worst stuff to use as it travels, in this particular area 3-4 feet from the drive. Impossible to dig out without a skidloader, so I just said fuck it, planted the junipers and have mostly ignored it ever since. This year I decided to put in some hens and eggs (and another succulent I forget he name of) to kind of give the bed a little more interest. It has gotten weedy as hell and looks like fuck-all so I need to spend some time weeding it and get some new mulch into it.

    When I’m done I hope it looks half as nice as your yard does, Jerzy.

  11. 11
    Raven says:

    @germy: This should apply.

    If any remaining pesticide cannot be used properly, safely dispose of pesticides to protect people, pets, and the environment:
    Follow all disposal instructions on the pesticide label.
    Check with your local solid waste management authority, environmental agency or health department to find out whether your community has a household hazardous waste collection program or a similar program for getting rid of unwanted, leftover pesticides. These authorities can also inform you of any local requirements for pesticide waste disposal. To identify your local solid waste agency,
    Search the internet or look in the government section of your phone book under categories such as solid waste, public works, or garbage, trash or refuse collection for your town, city or county.
    Contact Earth 911 at 1-800-CLEANUP or http://www.earth911.com.
    Think before disposing of extra pesticides and containers:
    Never reuse empty pesticide containers. Pesticide residues can contaminate the new contents and cause serious harm.
    Never pour pesticides down the sink, toilet, sewer, or street drain.
    Many municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment systems are not equipped to remove all pesticides.
    If pesticides reach waterways, they can harm fish, plants, and other living things.

  12. 12
    germy says:

    @Raven: thank you

  13. 13
    Charluckles says:

    Killing off the grass. I’ve used the black plastic method before, but I was at a newish community garden the other day and one of the managers there had another suggestion. They place sections of cardboard on the grass and then cover that with several inches of compost and soil. Apparently it kills the grass and then you can just plant right into the compost/soil medium. I have a small test plot underway, but I would be very curious to know if anyone has any experience with this technique. We are pushing hard to move our lawn away from the traditional golf course look.

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @germy: I take it to the old Monsanto headquarters campus at Lindbergh and Olive and dump it on their perfect green grass, then drive like hell outta there, but I suppose you want something a little more local to you, right?

  15. 15
    pete mack says:

    I believe what you call lilac is actually lantana. Lilac grows in wetter, somewhat colder climates. And it is–surprise!–purple or white.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Charluckles: I have taken off the top couple inches, then covered with cardboard and compost. Works for me.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    Jerzy Russian, your yard looks fantastic! Native plants look so much better in their own habitat than grass would.

    @Charluckles: when I decided to put in a large vegetable garden at my old place in MI, the best spot was at the back of the acre yard where it was all crabgrass and weeds. I started in late summer the year before with layers of newspaper covered by layers of cardboard and mulched it with grass and leaves from the rest of the yard as it was mowed, and in the fall raked. By planting time the following spring the cardboard was pretty broken down. I laid down a load of compost, covered it again with newspaper and cardboard, soaked it all well and dug holes to plant right through it. The new cardboard and newspaper was my top mulch. Keeping that plot weeded was a breeze the first year, and the soil really benefited from all the organic material.

  18. 18
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    @eclare: yeah, the low growing plants with bright followers, that’s lanterna. Lilac is a small tree that thrives in a cool wet climate & flowers in spring. Lovely garden, though!

  19. 19
    eclare says:

    @pete mack: That was my thought, that plant looks like lantana.

  20. 20
    eclare says:

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop: Yes the garden is gorgeous. Lantana bushes get huge here.

  21. 21
    Gvg says:

    The red blooming sprawling groundcover, is lantana. It has been bred for many colors and mostly to not have seeds, just a lot of flowers. Pollinators love it. I have to be cautious with it here in Florida as the unimproved species are invasive and it’s poisonus to cattle. Any cultivars that produce any seeds get yanked. The nice improved ones still get bigger in Florida and sometimes start producing the seeds. They just like our climate too much. The seeds are a black berry in a cluster. If you see any, get rid of that plant, and go pick a new kind. There are a lot now, so you won’t have any trouble finding another.
    I admire the effect, we can’t do succulents hardly in Florida as they rot from too much rain and the weeds grow too fast and overwhelm them. Here, replacing the lawn efforts have to go for a sort of restrained jungle effect.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

  23. 23
    rikyrah says:

    Pictures of a very beautiful garden😊😊😊

  24. 24
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning 😊!

    The miserable heat and humidity has mostly broken and we’re back to more normal temperatures. Thank all the deities!

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: We are still a good 12-18 hours away from relief. My granddaughter has a horse show today that we need to leave for in about an hour. Oh joy o joy.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah:

    Good morning.

  27. 27
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @satby:

    Thank all the deities!

    And storm systems. A good stormy ala boom boom dropped the Chicago temp by 20 degrees. :)
    .

  28. 28
    Spanky says:

    @raven: Role of the dice, man.

    At least us folks in normally hot areas can manage better than the high latitudes. And I’m just glad I’m not in
    northern Europe when they get a big heat wave.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @satby:

    Your welcome.

  30. 30
    Spanky says:

    It’s 78 out there right now. The same temp that is the forecast high for Tuesday, so we’ve at least got that to look forward to.

  31. 31
    Quinerly says:

    One of my favorite posts in several Sundays. Love all these Sunday submissions but enjoyed this one because of the learning factor. Great narration. Thank you!

  32. 32
    chris says:

    The road to the river and the swimming hole. I go to cool off and Bert goes to get the tennis ball. Over and over and over.

  33. 33
    satby says:

    @mrmoshpotato: last night? Another one coming through here in about an hour. And after today the rest of the week is more mild. With cool overnight lows so at least it’ll be easier to sleep.
    @Baud: 😆😘

  34. 34
    satby says:

    @chris: that looks nice! Lucky Bert.

  35. 35
    Quinerly says:

    @Gvg: love Lantana! Especially any variety that is orange (I have a bit of a “thang” for orange flowers). My yard is a city courtyard, so no grass and mostly containers. Have two large pots of Lantana that are at least 8 years old. Cut them back to nubs and keep them alive under lights from Lowe’s in my little “grow room” thru the St. Louis winters. Water once a month. As an aside, Amazon has some amazing grow lights (with the needed spectrums) that look like flying saucers. I had blooming orange impatiens and geraniums all winter in my windowsills. The grow room just has banks of the fluorescent ones used in past years in aquariums.

  36. 36
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @satby: Ya. Poured about 5 last night.

  37. 37

    That xeriscaping is very attractive. How did the neighbors react?

    Both my SILs are gradually replanting their yards with stuff that native to the area, one in NJ and the other in FLA. It’s an interesting hobby for both of them.

  38. 38
    Immanentize says:

    Morning All!

    Great xeriscape, JR! When I was in San Antonio, we were moving in that direction, but not so desert-y. We had lantana, Mexican Heather, mountain Laurel trees, a beautiful airy Desert Willow, etc. JR’s lot looks like what Cheryl R might have done in New Mexico, very nice.

    Here in 100 degree plus Boston, I have let my lawn get shaggy lest it melts or burns up. We are supposed to have rain Tuesday, so I’ll cut it… (Best Scarlet O impersonation) … tomorrow

    Meanwhile, Immp is scheduled for his internal move out Thursday. Ugh. We are running a recovery scenario which might let him start classes on time. It is all very stressful.

  39. 39
    Princess says:

    @Charluckles: I have done the cardboard and compost routine. I had a bed that had some feeble raspberries in it and I covered it with cardboard and compostables. The next year, I dug holes and planted the best tomato crop I ever had. I am going to do it again with a couple of beds this year. I have also done it on a bed choked with weeds. I am sure it would work on grass, but it might need more time.

  40. 40

    @Immanentize: Courage. Take care of yourself as well as Immp. If good thoughts can reach out into the universe, you should be feeling them from BJ’s direction.

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @Quinerly:

    I too love lantana and that bi-color thing they’ve got going on. I had no idea they could be kept alive for more than a year!

  42. 42
    大芒果 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If you do go the Monsanto route I suggest pouring it out in the shape of an F and a U ….

  43. 43
    Immanentize says:

    @Raven: Hey short timer — you still here? Sitting on your dime? When did you say your big fishing trip to the Gulf was gonna happen?

  44. 44
    大芒果 says:

    @debbie: Lantana will come back if you do a severe pruning at the end of the growing season …

  45. 45
    Immanentize says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    Thank you. I am (re-) learning the truth that courage is really just a lack of other options. The Immp is brave — he has already worked out how this will be an ice breaker in his future — “Hi! I bet I have fewer internal organs than you….”. Needs a little work.

  46. 46
    Immanentize says:

    @Quinerly: a@debbie: I like lantana, but it gets overused because it is so robust, I think. I like asters too, they bloom at a different time — and Fox and Cubs which we used to call Devil’s Paintbrushes.

  47. 47
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    That xeriscaping is very attractive. How did the neighbors react?

    No one objected. These types of landscapes or “lawns” with AstroTurf or colored gravel are quite common around here. It is really hard to maintain green grass lawn here, even if water was plentiful.

  48. 48
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    @eclare: Yes, it is, in some fabulously weird way at times. :) Thank you for the good wishes. I hope it’s a good visit, too.

    @Aleta: How long were you in Japan? I came intending to stay a year and look where I am now–25 years.

  49. 49
    debbie says:

    @Immanentize:

    Thinking of you and Immp and sending whatever positivity is in me to you both.

    How are those wee succulents doing? I am very jealous, though I’d kill them within a week.

  50. 50
    germy says:

    How did the plain green lawn become the central landscaping feature in America, and what is the ecological cost?

    Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds of hours mowing your way to a designer lawn is to flirt, most would agree, with a bizarre form of fanaticism. Likewise, planting a species of grass that will make your property look like a putting green seems a bit excessive — yet not nearly as self-indulgent as the Hamptons resident who put in a nine-hole course with three lakes, despite being a member of an exclusive golf club located across the street. And what should we make of the Houston furniture salesman who, upon learning that the city was planning to ban morning mowing — to fight a smog problem comparable to Los Angeles’s — vowed to show up, bright and early, armed and ready to cut.“I’ll pack a sidearm,” he said. “What are they going to do, have the lawn police come and arrest me?”

    https://longreads.com/2019/07/18/american-green/

  51. 51
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Thanks all for the correction on the bush identification. I have this memory of a conversation with someone at the local nursery who implied we were getting lilacs. However, these days I can hide my own Easter eggs, so often these memories don’t correspond to actual events.

  52. 52
    Immanentize says:

    @debbie: The succulents are doing great! The Immp replanted them (one of his planters is a bit, well, crowded). They are so cool. Best $25 bucks spent in a very long time. They definitely brought the Immp joy. And no two were the same type.

    I guess the real test is : ask me in a couple of months.

  53. 53
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Immanentize:

    He’s amazing.

    That’s the right attitude for getting through this. Being an utter coward myself, I admire it all the more.

  54. 54
    MelissaM says:

    It would appear that the orange is lantana, but the blue is decidedly california lilac, which is entirely different from the syringa lilac most are familiar with. I’m impressed with your xeriscaping! The succulents look like cabbages ready for picking. Very nice!

  55. 55
    debbie says:

    @Immanentize:

    By then, I’ll have likely killed my three jade plants!

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    A BJ favorite.

    Katie Porter isn’t part of ‘The Squad.’ But the freshman House Democrat is stirring up trouble for Trump

  57. 57
  58. 58
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    She has great mentors!

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @Immanentize:

    “Hi! I bet I have fewer internal organs than you….”. Needs a little work.

    That has the potential of ending badly.

  60. 60
    Baud says:

    Paging Dan Brown.

    Thousands of bones have been unearthed in two ossuaries discovered in the Vatican City, as part of an ongoing search for clues into the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl more than three decades ago.

  61. 61
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Immanentize: Thinking of you and Immp, who is a splendid young man. Not surprising, given his parentage.

  62. 62
    Quinerly says:

    @debbie: I laugh at myself on what I probably spend in electricity running grow lights to keep plants alive during the winter. I have to let some freeze because of space. But it is ridiculous when you think about it. I have 99 cent geraniums now in huge pots that are at least 8 years old. Hate killing them. Love bringing out huge pots of hardy blooms in April for the yard.

  63. 63
    Quinerly says:

    @Immanentize: thanks for this update. I just don’t know what to say. Please know that I’m thinking about you both. I have real problems expressing feelings in this kind of forum.

  64. 64
    Dr Ronnie James DO says:

    Great work Jerzy! Look incredible, blends better with the ecosystem as well (amongst arid desert sage scrub, a flat homogeneous patch of green grass sticks out like a sore thumb).

    We recently moved to Western PA and now have a yard (double plot) for the first time and the hassle and relative uselessness of lawns is readily apparent. I recently went back home to Seattle where my folks replaced their huge PITA sloped lawn years ago (I was the one who had to mow it with a push mower!) with a variety of low maintenance plants, and it still looks fantastic.

  65. 65
    Gelfling 545 says:

    Glorious garden!

  66. 66
    satby says:

    @Immanentize: the Immp is a real credit to you and Julie! I’m so sorry you’re both going through this, and very hopeful that his surgery goes well and provides a complete cure. And that he gets to his university at the right time for him, whether that’s exactly on time or a little later. Sending love!

  67. 67
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @germy: Contact your local streets & sanitation dept. Here they have a couple of times a year for dangerous chemical disposal. I also found that there is a business locally that will take them for a fee. There may be similar on your area.

  68. 68
    Barbara says:

    @germy: My county has all kinds of special disposal drop off days for various articles that are not supposed to go into the regular pickup.

  69. 69
    Elizabelle says:

    @ Jerzey Russian: Beautiful garden. I love San Diego. Was there for fireworks on the 4th. Lucky bug for living there. You’ve done a great job with the yard.

    Happy Sunday, jackals.

    @ Immanetize: Good luck to Immp this week. What a character.

  70. 70
    germy says:

    @Barbara: Thank you. I just checked my town’s website and apparently there is a hazardous waste day every two years. The next one is autumn 2019.

  71. 71
    satby says:

    And I just unsubscribed to Change.org because of the moronic petitions they’ve had lately. Today it was for term limits, which is the stupid person’s idea of how to fix whatever is wrong in government without having to think.
    My feedback won’t matter, but it was blistering.

  72. 72
    oldgold says:

    @germy:

    I live between 2 lawn and garden cops.
    The sulphurically scented DeeDee Deplorable and the red capped Noah Tall.

    Although I was among the avant-garde in abandoning the bourgeois golf course look in favor of au natural scraping, these 2 DuPont/ Monsanto devotees had the unmitigated gall to claim I put the pro in procrastination.

    Tomorrow I plan to prepare the Major Major Major Major Hospice Memorial section of West of Eden for planting.

  73. 73
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    @Immanentize: I have been thinking about you and the Immp. Being positive can’t be emphasized enough. And you have Jackals from all over the world pulling for you both. You have raised an amazing young man.

  74. 74
    Baud says:

    Good, good.

    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump for his racist attacks on four minority congresswomen, saying Trump is “worse than a racist.”

    “The reality is this is a guy who is worse than a racist. He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain. He is trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself,” the New Jersey Democrat told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

    “And this is somebody who is very similar to George Wallace, who — a racist — he’s using the exact same language,” Booker added, referring to a former governor of Alabama who supported segregation and was a vocal opponent of the Civil Rights movement.

  75. 75
    Barbara says:

    @Immanentize: On the one hand, it’s good to know that relevant doctors are on the ball. On the other hand, holy cow, that was fast. Hoping surgery goes well. I really wouldn’t rush recovery because at least in my experience that is often the hardest part. Will be thinking of you both.

  76. 76
    EthylEster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly wrote:

    This year I decided to put in some hens and eggs (and another succulent I forget the name of).

    I think that’s what is called hens and chicks up here in WA. It looks like what Jerzey Russian has in the yard pics.

  77. 77
    Wapiti says:

    @germy: In Seattle (maybe it’s all of WA) we have Household Hazardous Waste sites that will take herbicides, pesticides, poisons, solvents, etc. This might not help you, but remind people in WA and CA and other enlightened places.

  78. 78
    EthylEster says:

    @MelissaM wrote: ….california lilac….

    Ceanothus, which is very popular in Seattle (especially Dark Star variant).
    Some natives cringe and complain when it is called california lilac.
    I don’t understand why.

  79. 79
    Lapassionara says:

    @Charluckles: I made a bed using this method last fall. Several layers of newsprint, then a layer of corrugated cardboard, then an inch or more of mulch.

    This spring I planted sunflowers and castor bean plants there. I am vigilant about weeds, especially near the edges. It has worked well so far.

  80. 80
    Sab says:

    Our theory on lawns is that if it is short and green it belongs. So the front yard is plantains, clover, wild violets, wild strawberries and the occassional blade of grass. Back yard is pretty much all grass.

  81. 81
    JPL says:

    @Immanentize: So glad that you updated us. My thoughts are with you and little immp. With his determination, he might just start on time.

  82. 82
    Quinerly says:

    @JPL: ❤️

  83. 83
    geg6 says:

    @Dr Ronnie James DO:

    Where in Western PA? If close enough, maybe a BJ get together? Welcome to this crazy place!

  84. 84
  85. 85
    otmar says:

    After yet another BBQ, I left MiL’s garden today. Now I’m back on the train to Vienna (next stop: Unzmarkt) for 4 days of work before heading back to pick up the kids. By then they’ll have spent three weeks in the countryside, then it’s time for two weeks of hockey camp in Vienna.

  86. 86
    Elizabelle says:

    @Immanentize: I am thinking that Immp is going to get way scarce once he lands at university, so maybe not rush the recovery and build in a trip for just the two of you (a few trips!) before he starts college. Will be something to look forward to. Explore the world, or the beautiful US of A, a bit more.

  87. 87
    MomSense says:

    @Immanentize:

    Hey you. Thanks for checking in. Immp wins the all time champion fighting spirit award. He’s really special. Of course we are all rooting for both of you.

    Yesterday youngest and I went to my Dad’s place for a family lobster birthday party for my Dad and Aunt. Not even the ocean provided any relief from the heat. We did go out for a boat ride, swam in deep ocean, and saw some porpoises who were checking us out, too. The cutest little family of cormorants came along. One of the babies went off on his own and then got lost. There was lots of chatter back and forth until mom or dad had to go get him. We all had a good rime exchanging knowing glances about the kids in each of our families who put us through that.

    Jerzy, your garden is beautiful! My aunt lives in CA and also has a xeriscape yard.

    My folks are getting very weird about keeping windows open – my dad hasn’t even taken out the storm windows. We were begging him to let us open some windows. I got home and my mom had turned off the a/c and was wearing two robes she was so cold. It was about inferno degrees. And I had the a/c at 77 – which already seemed like a compromise on my part.

    My plan today is rehydration.

  88. 88
    Kristine says:

    @Immanentize: Best wishes to you both.

  89. 89
    NotMax says:

    Sinuses having a grand old time playing hob after my venturing outdoors for mowing yesterday.

    @Immanentize

    Any chance that instead of what on first blush would seem to be rushing things that he could defer admission and audit some courses locally in the meantime?

  90. 90
    Pat Mc says:

    @germy: Check with your county. Mine, San Mateo County, takes drop offs of hazardous materials like left-over paint, herbicides, solvents…

  91. 91
    Bill Arnold says:

    Nice garden. Too hot to do much gardening in the NY area this weekend, other than watering. At least we have plenty of water, and can run sprinklers etc.

    News related, a piece about the US woman (who I did not know about, why?!?! FY US press.) who is leading the escalation of the vicious economic war against Iran. If it turns into a shooting war, it will be in part due to her (economic) warmongering/warwaging. (The Iranians do not see as hard a line between economic warfare and shooting warfare as the US does.) Worth a read.
    The Woman at the Center of Trump’s Iran Policy – John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are the public faces of the “maximum pressure” campaign. But the Treasury official Sigal Mandelker is the one actually running its most important component. (Kathy Gilsinan, 2019/07/20)
    She is on a mission, apparently (though unstated) to use the US to defend Israel. (G_d is not involved, though she may think G_d is):

    “That is why we have this massive sanctions regime … Every time we apply that pressure, that crunch on them, we deny them the ability to get that kind of revenue, we make the world a safer place.”
    She takes it personally as a child of Holocaust survivors, and has spoken publicly about the 1940s-era Treasury Department’s role in freezing Nazi assets around the same time her parents were hiding in Eastern Europe.

  92. 92
    Dog Mom says:

    Thank you for creating/preserving beauty in this world, Jerzy Russian and for showing it to us, Anne Laurie. I just had a really wretched week so it is much appreciated. I had complete phone and internet outage for several days and dealing with an unresponsive company – Wait for service calls or chats at least an hour, onsite appt unavailable for 12 days, kept saying it was lines in my house till I told them I had taken my trusty princess phone out to the box outdoors and got no dial tone out there. I put a call into the public service commission and that got something going – waited all day Tuesday with no connection – tech never showed, found out ‘the system cancelled the ticket in the middle of the night’, tech finally showed up Wednesday, spent many hours preparing the lines that were ‘Broken’ – he couldn’t explain. They also did work up the street where some neighbors were out as well. They had told me there were no other outages in the area. Very little choice of providers where I am. The techs that have come out say the company just doesn’t keep the equipment up. All this while I am trying to download software, do training and look for a job. Very stressful. I kept feeling like this is what living in Russia feels like. This company is a mess. Sorry for the rant.

  93. 93
    Dog Mom says:

    My worst thing from last week was having to put my old Weimaraner down on Thursday – she was 16 years and 8 months – I know that I have to be thankful for such an amazing age. She was still so with it mentally, even with Cushing’s disease and severe arthritis – her legs were just giving out from under her.

    Skye had a rough beginning with a foolish, inexperienced, neglectful owner – not the start in life that any weim should have. Luckily, someone saw she needed a new beginning and got her into Weimaraner rescue. For several months, her rescuers patiently built her confidence and taught her to trust again. We are forever grateful for their hard work.

    We just lost one of my beagle sisters, Lulu, back in May so this is very hard. I just have Dottie left – my 12 1/2 yo with Addison’s – so we are figuring out new routines and since Dottie was often lowest on the totem pole, I am trying to make up with extra attention. Everything feels so empty though.

  94. 94
    JPL says:

    @MomSense: Sounds like a great day!

  95. 95
    JPL says:

    @Dog Mom: I’m so sorry. hugs

  96. 96
    Dog Mom says:

    By the way – I know lots of people are feeling worn down – I sure am, but I need you all to get refreshed and fight. Life kind of sucks for me, but I’m going to keep fighting!

  97. 97
    rikyrah says:

    @Quinerly:
    Morning to Poco and the tribe 😏😻🐢

  98. 98
    rikyrah says:

    @Immanentize:
    Positive thoughts for Little Imma 🙏🙏🙏

    It’s good to have a goal, but school will be there, whether this year or not.🙏🙏

  99. 99
    Elizabelle says:

    @Dog Mom: All the best to you. It’s hard to lose longtime dog friends. Glad you still have Dottie; hope she relishes the extra attention. (My surviving beagle was actually a bit happier once the more domineering beagle passed. Although, they are pack dogs.)

  100. 100
    Dog Mom says:

    @Elizabelle: Thanks.

  101. 101
    MomSense says:

    @Dog Mom:

    Big hugs to you.

  102. 102
    MomSense says:

    @JPL:

    Happy belated birthday! I missed it the other day.

  103. 103
    Immanentize says:

    @NotMax: Yes that is the plan if he cannot get there in time. Defer for a year (not a smester) work at a software design start up. Travel. Take a class or two…. We have been in touch w/Rice and they are being super helpful, supportive and duly cautious. I of course am of the go slow and rest persuasion and the Immp is not. It is a complex dance of expectations, hopes and realism. Time, as they say, will tell.

  104. 104
    CaseyL says:

    @Immanentize: It’s good to hear Immp is determined to move forward, though the stress must be hard to navigate. Best wishes to Immp and the whole Immanentize family.

    @Dog Mom: That’s a lot of loss in a short time. It sounds like you gave them all a wonderful life. I hope knowing that is a comfort.

    Meanwhile, today is the last day of the art workshop I’m attending. It’s been amazing and I can’t wait to try out the new techniques. Will hate to leave Whidbey Island, which I love so much. If the Finance Gods are kind, I may be able to move here post-retirement.

  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    Beautiful work on the naturalized plantings out west. We go for minimal interference with what grows naturally around us, introduce normally local stuff that doesn’t happen to be here now, or yet. We try to encourage existing growing things, like Jack in the Pulpit, maidenhair ferns, Paw Paws, etc.

    The Jacks tended to travel downhill as they reproduce by dropping seeds which, duh, roll downhill. Don’t know why, but suddenly have very few after there were a ton for several years. That’s OK, there are other plants that show up, new mosses, ferns, etc.

    Our most interesting features are the giant moss covered boulders, with ferns all around the bottom of the rock walls. Excited about getting the pond rebuilt next month.

    Best of luck to Immp, I hope he isn’t too disappointed if he has to take the year off to start at the U. I was so excited to go to college I hit summer school to be the first Freshman on site. Wanted out of town so bad!

  106. 106
    Mohagan says:

    @debbie: My mother had a huge bush of Lantana in her backyard in Palo Alto which was a perennial. Her yard got moderating influence from SF Bay arm which goes down towards San Jose. I tried a couple of plants last year and they both died over the winter, but I live 3 hours North of her in inland Mendocino down by a river and we get hard freezes occasionally. I have a big Jade plant I got from her and have to bring it inside or swath it in towels on cold nights for it to survive winter here

  107. 107
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Jerzy Russian: The plant with the light purple flowers is Caryopteris, commonly called Blue Mist Spirea here though it is not a Spires at all. I can see how it would acquire the name California Lilac. It’s a real workhorse in western xeric gardens. Mine blooms in late August but this is CO not CA.

    I got rid of our grass the first year here, it’s all xeric now and other than a bit of weeding in the spring, much less maintenance than grass. The grass neurotic two houses away uses his gas blower twice a day, mows every 3, and the noise and gas fumes are obnoxious. A stray leaf is NOT allowed!
    Right after last year’s tree and garden shredding hail storm, he was out there with the blower within 10 minutes even though everything was too wet to corral that way. We just refer to him as Lawn Boy.

  108. 108
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Immanentize: Whoa! I take the better part of a week off of the internet and all hell breaks loose.

    I had to do a little research to catch up and now I know Immp’s and your. story. I’m awfully late to this thread so I hope you are looking back here and will see my comment.

    Like everyone else, I am beyond sorry to hear about Immp’s cancer, thankful for modern medicine, holding you two in the light, cheering you and Immp on, imagining how anxious you must be, impressed with Immp’s sassy attitude, and on tenterhooks about everything in front of you two: the surgery, the recovery, how Immp’s college career will unfold.

    Sending love and strength your way.

  109. 109
    eclare says:

    Seconding 1000% what Ohio Mom wrote, I missed the news earlier too. Will be thinking of you and Immp.

  110. 110
    SWMBO says:

    @Immanentize: I missed this as well. Best wishes to you and Immp. Please keep us posted and let us know if there is anything we can do.

  111. 111
    Dog Mom says:

    @Immanentize: I wish you the best with all you are dealing with. I hope that your son has an easy time of treatment and his healing is quick. Peace to you both.

  112. 112
    Interstadial says:

    Nice and very attractive landscaping job!

    Some of the plants are actually not native to California – the lavender, rosemary, and bottle brushes in particular. Not sure about the succulents shown, though they look like the Mexican succulents my mother grew when I was a child. However, all these plants are quite compatible with California natives from the Mediterranean-climate parts of the state.

    There are no lilacs native to California; the Carmel creeper is a so-called “wild lilac” (Ceanothus), not a lilac (Syringa) at all. There are a lot of plants from around the world that are named by analogy to other plants which can make it confusing to navigate these names. You can’t assume that a plant name indicates what it really is, which is why people sometimes some up with alternate names or use the scientific name.

  113. 113
    brettvk says:

    @Charluckles: I am slowly killing off most of a large bermudagrass lawn with this method. I use cardboard under straw for garden paths and bed surrounds, cardboard under soil/compost berms to establish new perennial beds, and my straw bale garden this year (first year, and it worked!) was set on cardboard hidden with loose straw mulch. The cardboard breaks down nicely and does a good job with the very aggressive bermuda runners. The garter snakes like it as well, and I like garter snakes.

  114. 114
    Aurona says:

    @Charluckles: I live in Seattle and did cardboard for front and back yards. I swear by the cardboard. It also benefits the insects come up through the soil to get the sugars from the cardboard while aerating your new soil, which plastic can never do. Also, you don’t stir the ground and tear out roots, instead providing more habitat for insects and better soil.

  115. 115
    weavrmom says:

    @eclare: That looks like the CA native ceanothus, also known sometimes as ‘California Lilac’ due to the color of the blooms. Carmel Creeper is a well known cultivar
    Also, just throwing in there that the red-and-yellow flowered bushes look like Lantana.

Comments are closed.