Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bay Area Rainwater Catchment Systems

Inspired by the early winter storms, which filled up rain barrels across the Bay Area, we asked folks to share photos of their catchment systems. We've also been amassing our own photos from field visits with Bay-Friendly gardeners and landscape professionals over the years. Below is a collection of these systems which captures the variety of available materials, styles and sizes. 

50-gallon repurposed wine barrel, Novato

50-gallon rain barrel, Alameda

65-gallon rain barrels, Oakland

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Join Our Staff: Executive Director Position Open

We are looking for an individual committed to the Coalition's mission of promoting sustainable landscaping across the Bay Area to join our staff in a leadership role. The Bay-Friendly Coalition's Executive Director is currently open.

The Executive Director (ED) reports directly to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission, program and financial objectives. The ED ensures ongoing programmatic excellence, and consistent quality of finance, administration, fundraising, communications, and systems. The ED oversees all the operations of the organization, and provides direction to ensure the growth and well-being of the organization within the fiscal constraints of the budget.

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.