Shut Up And Dig

While This Agave Gently Weeps

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Poor lonely Agave, with barely any plants for company, languidly waits for El Niño to come and wash away the bare soil surrounding its forlorned leaves.

The agave is weeping because not only are we in a multi-year drought in California, now we are headed for a catastrophe of biblical proportions.

EL NIÑO!!!!! (shrieks are heard in the distance)

The warm waters in the Pacific will herald in unprecedented winter storms, and all sorts of hell will break loose.

Why? Because there has been so little rain, the soil has forgotten how to soak up water. People have let their plants wither and die, so there is very little ground cover on residential properties. There will be mudslides everywhere!

I know I sound like a doomsayer, and I’ll take that. I don’t WANT to be the one who sees tragedy coming, but I can’t help it! Everything Los Angelenos have been told about how to deal with the drought has been completely wrong, in my opinion. Instead of allowing people to let lawns go fallow, there should have been mandated re-plantings, not just rebates for eventual replanting. A healthy garden planted with a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, succulents,and grasses is a superior water holding device than any rain barrel (which they are giving rebates for btw). The underground network of roots, penetrating to varying depths, would have stabilized soil and held hillsides in place. The gardens would have added to this large city’s greenspace and helped to offset the heat island effect – but Los Angeles has less planted space than it had before, when it should have more.

To gardeners like we Ranters, what I propose makes sense – but it is completely counterintuitive to the norms, who think plants use water, we are low on water, so we must get rid of plants, right? THAT is basically what has happened in this city. It seems that nobody in charge of planning how to respond to a drought spoke to any horticulturalist about the matter.

So here we wait for yet another Apocalypse. Living in Los Angeles is like being in the 90’s tv series “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” – there is always an apocalypse around the corner. This one is THE DELUGE. We are being told to fix our roofs and clean our gutters and sandbag our hillsides. But no matter what we do, we have the feeling it is not enough, because the forecasters are telling us HOW BAD THE RAINS WILL BE. We will all die, of course. Die ironically watery deaths, after years of dry dry dry.

Sigh. I’m weeping along with this depressed agave. Think about me as the Deluge approaches, and pray your Sad Little Ranter doesn’t get swept away in a slide of mud from the unplanted hillside above her house! I TOLD THEM!!!

(sounds of me and my agave friend, sobbing gently…)

 

Posted by

Ivette Soler
on October 28, 2015 at 3:31 am, in the category Real Gardens.

2 Comments

  1. Great point about attacking (mostly symbolics) lawns without recommending, requiring, or incentivizing a renovation of the pre-existing landscape (rather than merely its destruction). We need to start subsidizing the planting of climate-appropriate shade trees, the kind that will reduce hydrophobic soils, provide comfort to people and shelter for animals, reduce heating / cooling costs (as much of an environmental problem as lush, residential lawns), and counteract erosion. This is not an impossible task, provided local and state governments aren’t controlled by self-styled anti-government “outsiders” who think slashing public works budgets is a responsible, rather than self-defeating and nihilistic, act.

  2. The planners obviously didn’t talk to any ecologists, hydrologists or soil scientists either, all of whom could have warned of the consequences of these policies.

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