Almanac

Viewpoint - February 3, 2010

Letter: Native gardens can save water, add beautiful landscapes

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Menlo Park could become known as the Native Plant City of America? Exquisite gardens of native plants of all sizes and colors along winding stone or brick walkways would not only beautify our landscape but would reduce use of the most precious resource of all, water.

The city could work in conjunction with our own Sunset Publishing, classes could be held, awards could be given. You only need to open the pages of any magazine that features native gardens to see how extraordinary these gardens can be.

We are accustomed to grassy lawns. Yet, we spend inordinate amounts of water to keep them going. When weeds or insects appear, or before they appear, we poison our earth with insecticides, herbicides, and "magical" fertilizers with substances that keep weeds from germinating in the first place. When a weed does appear, we zap them again with poisons that cannot be beneficial to our earth.

Some may argue that lawns are essential to give children a place to run and play. Yet, we live in one of the most incredible landscapes available anywhere. We have parks to play or picnic in, and beaches, hills, forests, natural grassy landscapes visited by butterflies and birds to occupy our time and thoughts.

I endorse the city's proposal to drastically cut down on lawn watering. I would further encourage rethinking of how we envision beauty in our front and back yards by changing our lawns into places of beauty filled with native plantings, which would subsequently be visited by butterflies and birds.

Carol Taggart

Valparaiso Avenue, Menlo Park

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