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A Beautiful Landscape for California

Articles: A Beautiful Landscape for California

The “gatehouse” entry to Pacific Highlands Ranch features Phoenix palms, red flowering ‘La Jolla’ bougainvillea, blue gray Agave americana, and fleshy orange Aloe striata. Author’s photographs

Whenever I fly into San Diego’s Lindbergh Field airport, I cringe. It isn’t the flying that bothers me; it’s the airport landscape that screams, “Welcome to San Diego, home of rolling grass and tropical palms!” No wonder new arrivals want their gardens to look like the tropics.

San Diego is not tropical. In our almost desert-dry, mediterranean climate, the only native palm is the Washingtonia filifera, which is native to desert seeps.

For much of my professional life, my goal has been to transform California’s planted landscapes, from overly thirsty and resource-intensive to climate-appropriate and sustainable. I talk about it, teach about it, write about it, and—okay, I’ll admit—rant about it. I’m not the only person with this goal, of course; many of my garden design and communications colleagues feel the same way. So do many of California’s water agencies; some try to stimulate change with watering restrictions...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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