Pasadena In Focus
September - October 2010

A Cornucopia of Sustainable Gardening Programs

October through early November is the ideal time to start a sustainable garden. The cool weather is perfect for working outdoors, and new or pruned plants get a head-start on spring by soaking up rain from winter storms. Three free workshops are being offered as well as new rebates on turf replacement and rainwater catchment systems to help you create the garden of your dreams.

gardenThe first workshop – Saturday, Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Salvation Army Pasadena Tabernacle, 960 E. Walnut St. – titled “The Not-So-Secret Garden” will emphasize sustainable, moderate- to low-water species plus turf replacement with water-smart grasses and groundcover. You’ll learn the principles of pruning, watering and nourishing a variety of plants, shrubs and trees as a local horticulturist reveals secrets for maintaining a healthy garden that will mystify even the greenest of green thumbs!

If you’ve had the pleasure of road-tripping around California, you’ve seen the wide variety of colors, textures, shapes and scents that grace the Golden State’s landscape. For the second workshop, native-plant expert Lili Singer will show you how to create a stunning souvenir of California’s natural beauty in your own yard at “Native Nights: The Pleasures of Going Native” Thursday, Oct. 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. Low-water, low-maintenance, year-round color, butterflies and birdsong await you!

The coming rainy season will give your sprinklers and water bills a break, but you can reap the benefits of winter even more by harvesting roof and pavement runoff with a rainwater catchment system. Learn about the many types of systems available, some of which you can make yourself before winter rains begin, at the third workshop: “Introduction to Rainwater Harvesting” Sunday, Oct. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Monica Airport, 3223 Donald Douglas Loop S. This day-long demonstration workshop is presented by the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association and co-sponsored by PWP and the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Register for any or all of the workshops above at
PWP has partnered with the Metropolitan Water District to offer turf-removal incentives for Pasadena homeowners. Lawns typically use 50 percent more water than other plants. You can receive $1 for every square foot (up to $2,500) of water-thirsty grass you replace with water-wise groundcover or a water-permeable surface such as mulch, gravel or interlocking pavers. To qualify, you must replace at least 250 square feet, reserve a rebate online, and schedule a pre- and post-inspection. Fall is the best time to replace turf, so submit your plans and reserve your rebate soon. Program information is available at

Water Usage Gauge