Regenerative Landscape Architecture
image: about hummingbird
December 1, 2019 0 Comments

About Hummingbird Communication: A Cooperative Hummingbird Rescue

image: about hummingbirdBefore a Transition Pasadena steering meeting this past Fall, I came outside looking for one of my cats just in time to see him playing with something he seemed very interested in. Unfortunately, it was a hummingbird.

I have been an ecological designer since 2004, and a majority of the projects I have worked on since then have included habitat landscaping for precious pollinators like this bird, and other beneficial organisms such as butterflies, dragonflies, and frogs.  Whenever a beautiful creature visits me in my garden, I consider it a gift as nonhuman beings shy away from humankind after hundreds of years of violent aggression including habitat destruction and outright murder. When I look up the symbolic meaning of the organism who has graced me with its presence due to my offering of restored habitat, I write that down and allow the wisdom commonly associated with each species to guide my day.

Birds have long been seen around the world as messengers.  The hummingbird to Native Americans brought a message of healing, love, good luck, and joy.  On this occasion, my interaction with this species took a much deeper turn than usual.

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October 9, 2019 0 Comments

How to Use Rainfall to Your Advantage

How to Keep What Rainfall Your Yard Gets

Rain.  Some of us get more of it than others.  In some cities it pours most of the year, while in others total annual rainfall is measured in a tuna can.  You might not need to conserve as much water if you get a lot of rain.  But even in high-precipitation areas of the country (and world), it’s more about infiltration than how much rain falls.

Infiltration is king when it comes to making the most use of rainfall.  In areas where soil is exposed and compacted, water can’t make its way in.  Instead, it sheets over the top of the soil.  This means it ends up in the ill-conceived street drainage system.  I say ill-conceived because the storm water engineering we’re all living with was designed to carry water away, not into, the landscape.

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September 21, 2019 0 Comments

Create Green Infrastructure With This Information Sheet

What is Green Infrastructure?

I recently considered how many people have told me they don't know what restorative design really means.  I spend a image: what is green infrastructuregood deal of time answering questions like, "what is green infrastructure," "is a swale paved," and that kind of thing.  And these questions don't only come from my clients.  I've found that a lot of builders aren't familiar with ecology.  They install jobs according to 'traditional' methods.

This almost always means high costs, maintenance, water use, pollution, and waste.

I am deeply invested in seeing my designs installed as intended, so that my clients get all the benefits.  There is nothing like hearing that a design-only client hired a traditional installation firm only to end up with an unsustainable landscape because the company didn't know how to read or build their master plan.  So rather than answering such questions one at a time, I thought I'd create this post to help homeowners and builders get it right.

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Factors of Climate Change Humans Can Manipulate

Factors of Climate Change We Can Use to Restore Balance

image: factors of climate change

Some factors of climate change are malleable.  Whether or not Earth Changes are natural or man-made, it is a fact that human beings can directly impact local temperature, moisture, soil health, wildlife habitat, and food availability.  This article discusses Trump Forest, planted in 2017 in response to the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and our president’s executive order forcing the EPA to rewrite the Clean Power Plan to prioritize energy production.  I’ll also discuss the success of the forest and make recommendations for other things we can all do to restore the functioning of the landscape as a climate-stabilizing powerhouse.

The goal of Trump Forest was to plant 10 million trees around the world.  This would, according to researchers behind the project, offset a significant amount of carbon emitted by a step backward to industry-focused energy production.  The actual number of trees planted ended up being 1,409,857, so the project was cut short.  But that’s still a good number of trees.  Now let’s take a look at replanting survival and how to keep new trees alive.

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Humane Pest Control: Gophers and Squirrels

Humane Pest Control or Compassionate Conversation?

I was image: Humane Pest Controlat a client’s home recently in Sherman Oaks, California.  They told me about the gopher who had been eating the roots of their plants and creating little sink holes all over their yard.  During our site visit, I noted the telltale signs of a landscape out of balance.  I knew it would be my job to teach them how to fix their gopher problem by re-balancing their landscape.  While we talked, the gopher responsible came out of a hole at the base of an umbrella plant.  He looked directly at us while proceeding to remove three umbrella plant stalks and carry them backwards into his hole.  I pointed this out to my client, and we laughed at his audacity.

Being that I’m a student of inter-species communication and believe that animals are sentient, I spoke to the wide-eyed little performance artist.  I said, “I know you need to survive here just as much as the people who live in that house there, and so don’t worry, I’m going to include you in a solution that works for everyone here.”

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Beware: Not All Residential Landscapers Have the Required Knowledge

Some Residential Landscapers Lack Essential Knowledge

I was recently hired by another group of residential landscapers operating in Los Angeles.  They contracted me to answer a long list of questions they had about how to do landscape design.

image: some residential landscapers don't even know plantsThat’s right, they paid me to answer their questions about how to design landscapes.

I didn’t expect their questions to be so essential to the service they were out there providing to unwitting customers.  To illustrate my point, I’ll share with you the long list they sent me.  I answered every one for their company in the hopes of saving the lives of plants (if you’ve been a reader for a while you know I see plants as sentient beings), and I sincerely hope that it helped them better serve residents – and the landscape – of Los Angeles County.

I’ve seen some of their built projects, and the plants were all high-maintenance, high water-use species used in all of their designs.  They actually even told me that a lot of their designs are losing plants and have to be replaced regularly.

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A Mystic’s List of Perennial Plants

Special Performers For Our List of Perennial Plants

People often tell me that they love the way I speak about plants and the landscape on my website.  I definitely do express a unique perspective on non-human species and other organic elements of this beautiful, magical planet.  In this post, I will list perennial plants that provide multiple ecosystem services* to us and focus on the mystical side of the plant world, which I have worked with in my professional ecological landscape design business for the last 15 years.

image: list perennial plantsI fell in love with Nature** as a child.  I lived on a houseboat in Sausalito, and back then it was okay to wander for literally hours through the shipyards by myself.  Generation X understands this.  It was on those long, unsupervised walks that I discovered near-blinding pockets of magic.  I would remember them for life.  One was a tall stand of Anise (Pimpinella anisum) which had been colonized by a group of Ladybugs.  The sun was shining on their brilliant red shells, popping them against the vibrant green stems.  I stood surrounded by the wonderful scent of the plant and pinched several small lace clumps to savor the flavor, being careful not to scoop up any Ladybugs on accident.

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