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Greening of the Brownsward

Articles: Greening of the Brownsward

This abstract modern composition of Mediterranean plants demonstrates the great range of color and form possible with arid-climate plants. Photographs by the author
The author examines changes in our attitudes toward landscape design, in landscaping practices, and in the nursery industry over the decade since the drought in California in 1977. He wrote Browning of the Greensward for Pacific Horticulture, July ‘77, an issue now out of print.
A decade ago California, especially the north, was gripped by a drought un­precedented in modern times. Water rationing was either imposed or volunteered to prevent communities not hooked to the Sierran tap from running out of water from their parched mud hole reservoirs. Cities tied to the Sierra aqueducts fared only a little better. The present water shortage, already a disaster nationally, may next year be more serious for California than the drought of 1977.

Not everyone in the state shared in the shortage, much less the concern. Johnny Carson typified the prevailing southern Californian’s attitude when he joked that their idea of water rationing was one ice cube in...


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