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Old 07-18-2000, 03:54 AM
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Default new home unhappy neighbors

In February we bought a new home,just built, in Yuba City, just outside city limits, sort of suburb with 1/3 acre flat mud scraped lots, everyone else has lawns of course with the usual lollypop tree, they spend hours mowing and gallons of water most of which runs down into the street, perhaps they are trying to grow more cement,

so we brought in MULCH, almost 8 inches deep front and back and started planting xeriscape plants, mostly herbals: lavander, rosemary, some olive trees, manzanita

sorry I had not thought more about CNP but there is still plenty of room

PROBLEM: while the adults have said nothing, just stares, the children have confided to mine that their parents think we have 'spoiled the neighborhood'

kiss my I might say, but being a lady I wondered what words of wisdom you all could offer,

I know in 3 years the place will be covered in wonderful low/no water perennials, but in the meantime? do I suffer the silence now and the envy later?

thanks,julienne</p>
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Old 07-19-2000, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

Julienne -Sounds as if you have put some good thought to your yard. You might grab the bull by the horns and sponsor an open house to try to get your neighbors into your yard and perhaps set up a nature walk to explain the importance of xeriscapes and native plants. Perhaps they would be happier with a small wetland in your yard? You neighbors suffer from prejudice and discrimination which essentially boils down to the fear of difference, your yard is different to them so.? Right now you have an excellent opportunity to educate your neighbors and change their perceptions. Drop me a note at home if you would like to chat more. Ben</p>
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Old 07-20-2000, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

hi julienne-- if its any consolation I too used to live in a very traditionally landscaped neighborhood, lots of lawn and lollypop trees as you say. My house was considered the prettiest landscape on the block, full of dark green grass, ficus trees, etc and all of a sudden our next door neighbors put in what they called a 'xeriscape.' My husband and I called it a 'zeroscape' because we thought that they were just being cheap not spending money on watering, mowing, gardners etc And yes, everyone thought it was weird. But after about 6 months when all their sages, and native grasses started filling in their dirt--the joke was on us!! Everytime I went to water my great green lawn, I couldn't help but feel jealous that they werent having to spend nearly the time and money I was on my grass, and I had to admit it looked way more creative and I started to love it. It literally 'grew' on us. After a while all the neighbors got used to the 'weird zeroscape' that we ignorantly called it, and started to appreciate its beauty and simplicity -- so much so that we all started realizing the intelligence of what they were doing. It was hard for us to admit this, cuz so many of us had so much invested in gardners, perfect lawns etc But now, I would say thanks to my neighbors--about 1/2 the neighborhood if not more has converted their front lawns to xeriscapes. And as you can see, I am certainly a converter myself. I applaud you--go for it--just realize the main reason your neighbors probably don't like your xeriscape, is because they don't understand the principle behind it. And, when they do understand, at first it might upset them because they thought they have been doing the right thing all these years having the perfect postcard house with green lawn and lots of watering.. Hope this helped! laura</p>
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Old 07-21-2000, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

I really appreciate you all letting me vent. I have been a gardener in my immagination for years, this is our very first home, you know the kind bank and I own. Every plant that goes into the ground is special. Right now I am dealing with probably some normal loss because of watering idiocyncracies and was the neighborly critizism was just more than I could bare. Thank you so muchfor giving me a place to get support. And thankyou for your replies. We homeschool so I just might have been inspired to start a kids native plant club. We have these beautiful Sutter Buttes almost in our backyard, my own children are interested in what else grows and lives around here besides man-made orchards. Several of the neighbors have stopped by on their daily walks and asked questions. I promise to be patient with them. But I really do not know much. The main reason I did this was because my brother is VERY green and just wouldn't have spoken to me if I had planted a lawn. I am no hero.Las night I was so upset, several of my latest plantings dried out and I fear are destined for the composter. You would think I had lost a family member. I stayed out hand watering until the every mosquito in the county had bit me. This morning the mulch looks so nice and dark brown with the little green/gray plants struggling. I still think I lost some but I still love my weird yard!</p>
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Old 07-22-2000, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

Julienne -The best way to learn something is to teach it! You will have to make the effort to find out more about what you are doing so you can tell your neighbors about what you are doing. There are a number of books available see my book list noteto help you out. You probably also have high clay soil so you will need to do some amending. Check into the plants you have put in the ground on the web and see what their natural environment is and then try to replicate it too the best or your ability. Making a larger hole than specified in the planting directions will give your plants roots that much more room to get started. If one dries up leave it a bit to see if there is enough energy in the roots for it to resprout. If it remains dried up try putting in a different plant and see what happens. Your perseverance will eventually pay off and you will end up with what is classified as a bird or wildlife garden. When your neighbors see what you have then they may be asking you for help in converting their yard. Good Luck. Ben</p>
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Old 07-23-2000, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

good advice,

books are us around our house,

like I might have mentioned before I have been gardening in my imagination for years,

real soil and live plants are quite different,

I never lost a specimen in my dreams, now it seems like the poor ones deserve funerals, I fret so,I did work with the landscaper and contractor and traded my lawn and lollypop tree for professionally added mulch and soil amendments and a drip system,

it did not leave very much $ for actual plants, so the fill in I am doing myself, and a flat full gets lost the area seems endless, I do not know if I am bragging or complaining here,

my mother-in-law has a 12X12 front yard in San Diego, she xeriscaped some years ago, it is so fabulous now I am resolute, but I am also impatient,I will hit the books, like you said knowledge is important, and this is just the first year on my education,thank you for your encouragement,julienne</p>
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2000, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

Ms. JDon't give up! After reading about your trials it reminded me of when i started with natives in 1975. Lots of similar problems though mine was not in a front yard like yours. Do stay patient and learn from every source you can including nearby CNPS people. Gardeners of any kind are always willing to talk and share, but that is especially so when the topic is narrowed from the world to California natives. My best wishes-Dan</p>
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  #8  
Old 09-10-2000, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

I think it's worth adding that if you planted in the spring/summer, you will have better luck if you plant in the cooler fall/winter weather. This will give the roots time to settle in. We've lost very few plants we put in the ground in Oct-Dec. Spring sales are so tempting, but these plants are often hard to keep going through the hot summer. If they last the first summer though, odds are high that they'll take off from there.

We put in CA natives in our yard, and after a couple of years, some neighbors are making noises about following our lead. One lady, who also likes birds, admits that she loves how our yard is so alive with bird song.

You might try converting the kids to your way of gardening first - get some milkweed plants going and when the monarchs lay eggs, show the kids the monarch caterpillars and emerging butterflies. One father told me he didn't have to send his kids to camp, he could just send them next door!.

Trish</p>
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Old 05-03-2001, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

When we first had mulch delivered a few years ago at at Central Coast school for a native plant project, we got a number of calls about the smell, was it toxic, etc. Now there have been literally hundreds of tons of mulch deliverd in the several adjacent valleys. Even the middle school kids know 'it's the new trend in town'. Tons of recycled 'waste', much lower water bills as well as gradual native devlopment of native gardens - bet yours is looking better already- </p>
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  #10  
Old 09-01-2001, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: new home unhappy neighbors

In five years everyone will be trying to do what you are doing. We are thinking along the same lines ourselves. In fact, I left the lawn brown this summer to get ready for the transformation. Good luck with stares. Oh, do you have a photo of the project? Would like to see.

Madelene :</p>
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