Even with the impending El Niño season California is anticipating these next few months, experts all agree that the need to conserve water will remain a continuing concern for the state. This Saturday February 6th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Descanso Gardens is presenting a water symposium which will give Angelenos a state-of-the-union, if you will, on water conservation. Bill Patzert, climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has been called the “prophet of California climate,” will discuss El Niño and other weather events and their long-term impact on our environment.
Just like brushing your teeth or taking out the trash, water-wise practices need to become long-term habits. At 9:30 a.m., expert Marilee Kuhlmann of Urban Water Group will be on-hand to discuss:
- water-wise home and garden trends
- harvesting rainwater
- rain barrels and rain gardens
Rain harvesting is a technique that the Greek and Roman empires used to capture water for home and agricultural uses. Kulmann will address determining how much rainwater to collect and methods to “harvest” the water in the garden after rains stop. Rain barrels come in varying sizes and styles. Practically, you want your barrel to fit in most locations around your house, are easy to clean and with a simple design to be able to utilize the water collected. Home improvement stores such as Home Depot are your best bet for shopping.
At 11 a.m., Lili Singer of Theodore Payne Foundation presents Four Seasons of Color with California Natives. Singer will present how to create a garden with native plants using flowers, seed, fruit and foliage. This workshop illustrates the wealth of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and grasses, all native and suited to thrive in our climate, that can ensure garden color all year-long.
Planning a California Native Garden, 2 p.m., with Lisa Novick of Theodore Payne Foundation will actually take the mystery out of planning a garden. She will present:
- basic information about how native plants save water, energy and wildlife
- gardening do’s and don’ts
- basic steps of planning a garden
- creating a site map
Selecting plants suitable to survive in our Mediterranean climate, which means life that needs less water, will help reduce water use and help create a beautiful landscape in your yard. Foxtail Agave, Mexican Bush Sage, Yellow Wave New Zealand Flax, Bicolor Lupine, Dalea, Brittlebrush are just the types of fauna and flora that will bring a new life to your garden.
Representatives from Foothill Municipal Water District, Crescenta Valley Water District and the City of South Pasadena will also be on hand to answer questions about water use and conservation.
The Water Symposium will also introduce Patina Restaurant Group’s water sommelier Martin Riese. He will offer one of his popular “water tastings,” which allows visitors to sample the many natural flavors of bottled waters from around the world.
The Water Symposium aims to be a “one-stop” resource for consumers, said Education Programs Manager Emi Yoshimura, and reflects Descanso Gardens continued commitment to creating and sharing information on sustainable horticulture. “We are continuously interested in the lush and low-water garden message,” she said. “In the past, we’ve done stand-alone workshops. We thought that if we clustered all of these programs in a single day, it would have a bigger impact.”
Free with admission to Descanso Gardens ($9 for adults; $6 for seniors 65 and older and students with a school I.D.; $4 for children 5 to 12, and free for age 4 and younger), the Water Symposium will take place at Descanso Gardens.