Gardening in SoCal

Matilija poppies

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard (or know just by going outside for a few minutes) that Southern California is in the midst of a historic drought, with water restrictions coming soon. Whether you’re a property owner looking to brighten up an old yard or a renter who’d like to convince your landlord to ditch the thirsty green lawn, maybe we can help here at the Iliad.

I replaced my lawn at home with California natives a few years ago (that’s my yard in the featured photo, with my matilija poppies in bloom), so I can offer a few tips before we get to the books:

  • Look into turf replacement programs from your local utility companies. LA DWP, for example, offers up to $15,000 in rebates to dump that green grass.
  • Don’t just replace the lawn with gravel, which heats up in the summer and does nothing else to help the environment.
  • Succulents and cacti may not all be natives, but they’re another kind of plant that can be attractive, fun to grow, and drought-resistant.
  • Hand-watering is not only the most environmentally-sound way to water your garden, it’s also very relaxing!
  • Putting in native plants not only cuts down on your water usage (as in, a LOT), it also creates a habitat for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beautiful local wildlife.
  • The Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley is an incredible place to not only learn more about native landscaping, it’s also got its own nursery where you can buy native plants (or seeds). Consider becoming a member – you’re not only supporting a worthy cause, you also get discounts on purchases and classes.
  • There’s a saying among native gardeners that goes like this: “First year sleep, second year creep, third year leap,” so don’t be distraught if your native plants don’t seem to do much the first year. A few are fast growers, but most take a while to get established.

Most of the books below have already sold, but these will give you some idea of what you can expect to find in our Gardening section…

Remember that our stock here at the Iliad changes constantly and the books shown above are only a fraction of what we have, so drop us a line if you’re looking for something in particular.

Happy gardening!