It’s been a thought-provoking and newsy week in the garden pages of my nearest big-city newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle. Check out:
A great story about tenant farmers on urban land owned by the Public Utilities Commission. An urban agricultural park: what a concept! Read more about it here.
A thoughtful piece from Ron & Joe about the replacement of street trees in San Francisco.
Questions from readers about going lawnless. Once you rip out the grass, what next? The answer raises lots of questions, but doesn’t get into specific plants. It got me wondering: if someone asked you to recommend five plants that could serve as lawn substitute in your climate, what would they be? And by lawn substitute, I mean that rather than plant a garden, you’re going to pick one plant and cover the ground with it. My picks?
- Lamium, assuming the lawn is surrounded by some kind of edging to keep it from creeping over to the neighbor’s yard.
- Golden oregano, which spreads fairly quickly and looks great all year–but with the caveat that one really should plant SOMETHING dramatic alongside gold foliage. A few red New Zealand flax? Something!
- One ornamental grass, planted over and over. I’m loving my blue fescues (Festuca glauca).
- A very low-growing ceanothus. Native, tough, bug and bird-friendly.
- A very low-growing manzanita. Same deal.