Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Turf Alternative - UC Verde Buffalo Grass

Photo credit: Takao Nursery
Spurred by recent inquiries about the "Bay-Friendliness" of UC Verde Buffalograss, we thought it was time for a post about this drought tolerant lawn alternative. "There should be no question about this," according to our Bay-Friendly Landscape Trainer, Stephen Andrews, "UC Verde Buffalograss IS Bay-Friendly. This turf alternative meets LEED and Green Building Council criteria. Through field trials it has proven to meet sustainability criteria for drought tolerance, low water use, pest resistance, low fertilizer need, and the ability to be resilient to high traffic. The plant material is suitable for both commercial and residential applications." 

Stephen reminds us that as always, it is important to remember the Bay-Friendly principle of Landscaping Locally. "When considering the use of UC Verde, a complete site analysis must be performed to ensure that it's a good fit. Use of the site—playing  field, meadow, turf alternativemust be weighed with habitat considerations, microclimate, and irrigation." Bay-Friendly Designer Susan Morrison tested this turf locally at her home and we asked her to share some of the basics about growing UC Verde Buffalograss in the Bay Area.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Now is the Time: Install a Rainwater Catchment System

The first taste of rain can be so sweet and last week's rains were certainly a welcome treat. The rain also served as a timely reminder of what we can do in our gardens to harvest and store water. Rainwater catchment systems vary in complexity and cost—they can be simple DIY installations of rain barrels connected to downspouts or professionally engineered underground cisterns complete with pumps. Underground cisterns and large above ground catchment tanks have the capacity to store tens of thousands of gallons, but require a commitment of time and money. Simpler systems with barrels connected to existing downspouts store less water, but can be relatively easy and affordable to install.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Some Good Bee Plants Are Really Bad!

Neonicotinoids in the nursery industry have been making news lately. A possible link between the use of this insecticide and honey bee die-offs has led to some controversy. We asked Bay-Friendly Qualified Professional Alisa Rose Seidlitz to share some background on this issue of neonicotinoids and nursery plants. Read on to learn what Alisa Rose found in her research. 

How’s your garden doing? (Or should I say ‘bee’ing!) My own garden has been way too quiet. It’s usually filled with the life-affirming buzz of loads of happy, healthy bees. This year though, the bees – honeybees and CA natives – are much fewer and farther between. This makes me sad, because we need bees in our gardens. In fact, because they're the most effective pollinators in the world, with two thirds of crops requiring pollination by bees, plant and animal life depends upon them! Spaces and places which support bees, where bees can thrive, indicate that people can thrive there, too. (Most bees do NOT want to sting you.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Synthetic Turf: Friend or Foe?

Synthetic Turf, Playground
My name is Corrie Lindsay. I am a Licensed Landscape Architect and Bay-Friendly Qualified Designer, with professional certifications in irrigation design as well as stormwater pollution prevention. I’ve been designing with Bay-Friendly principles before I knew of the Coalition, because I believe it enables the true beauty of the Bay Area to shine. I do what is right for our environment and I try to share my stewardship with others. But when it gets to the topic of synthetic turf I find it difficult to know which stance to take, particularly considering the recent drought.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Case for Using Water in a time of Drought- Carefully!

Lately in observing my garden, and talking with friends and clients, I’ve noticed how gardens everywhere are showing early signs of summer water stress. This year, normal spring growth was early and brief. Now, even established plants are wilting on hot days. Welcome to our third dry year in a row!

There’s good news from the drought- the folks I talk to are more open than ever to water-wise gardening, and giving more thought and attention to how they use water in our naturally dry state. Many are searching for innovative ways to conserve, like greywater and rain catchment systems.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bay-Friendly Plants in Local Nurseries

We are lucky to have an abundance of gorgeous plants available to us in the Bay Area. In fact, there’s so much to choose from it can be difficult to figure out just what to purchase.

Fret no more. Choosing plants for your Bay-Friendly garden just got a whole lot easier! We are pleased to announce the launch of a regional Bay-Friendly Labeling Program in partnership with local nurseries. Several locally-owned nurseries in Alameda County partnered with StopWaste to highlight Bay-Friendly plants in their stores, and now we are expanding on that effort to make it easier for gardeners throughout the Bay Area to find plants well suited to our climate and growing conditions.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Less Lawn in Livermore

About a year ago Livermore gardener Scott Paap went to a Lose Your Lawn talk at Western Garden Nursery in Pleasanton. He wanted to change out his yard because of the drought and was done with mowing (he grew up in Wisconsin with 3 acres of lawn!). When he heard about the rebates offered by Zone 7Water Agency, it was a no brainer. He applied for a rebate, sought out a Bay-FriendlyQualified Landscape Professional, and found Alison Fleck, owner of Simply Perfect Gardens. Alison provided Scott with a design concept and plant list; she helps co-facilitate Lose Your Lawn talks and was ready to help.