As near as I can tell they’ve stopped watering the grass in the back half of this park. The grass around the edges, near the playground, and near the clubhouse is green but scraggly. I’m not sure how they’re watering the trees, but most of them seem to be finding enough water to have put out leaves. Away from the street view, the ground is mostly dirt and dead grass now, but you can really see where the runoff collects.
To save water in this multi-year drought, California cities, homes, and businesses have stopped watering medians, replaced landscaping with more drought-tolerant plants, cut back on watering lawns just enough that the grass won’t completely die, and switched to reclaimed water for irrigation (often with signs letting you know it’s recycled — partly so that you don’t try to drink it, and partly so that you don’t call the water police on them).
But some places just can’t accept “Brown is the new Green.”
Manhattan Village Mall, it seems, doesn’t want to appear downscale with brittle yellow-brown grass, so they’ve set up their landscape for renovation, giving that lawn a fresh paint job.
I looked up close: it’s powdered green paint.
It’s way too green compared to anything else I’ve seen this summer short of Astroturf, and that includes the office building near work that still over-waters their lawn to the point that it’s sometimes muddy when I walk out there at lunchtime.
It’s also just blue enough to look wrong, though it didn’t quite come through in the photos. There are plenty of plants with slightly blue leaves and stems. But not grass – at least not that’s popular around here.
Oh, wait! I should’ve looked to see if they had some roses!
The office building next door to work is being converted into a hotel, and the lawn has become a staging area for the renovation work. They’ve turned off the sprinklers, leaving the lawn around the building dried into very short straw and producing an interesting gradient in the transition from watered to unwatered.
I kind of hope they’ll put in something less water-intensive than a new lawn when they’re done, but I’m not counting on it.
Landscape Renovation, originally uploaded by Kelson.
Irvine is dreadfully afraid you might think the dead grass is the result of poor maintenance.
Apparently, they’re also concerned that the old Grass Under Renovation signs might not be inclusive enough.
Early last month I posted some photos of ponds in an empty lot in the Irvine Spectrum area, fed by the winter rains. Well, the rains have been tapering off, and the weather has been warming up. It’s been at least two weeks since it last rained, and the ponds are drying out.
Drying Office Park Pond, originally uploaded by Kelson.
On the plus side, all the sun has brought out the wildflowers. It’s still nowhere near the 2006 level, when hillsides were covered with patches of dark green, light green and bright yellow…
…but there was a nice patch of lupins at one end of the lot.
Lupin Patch, originally uploaded by Kelson.