ec54bcbc8c71eb466255d4fefc9cfddc

I’m fired up. Mainland California's most polluted beach of 2008 was right here in Newport Beach.

 

This week the Natural Resources Defense Council released their 19th annual summary of the nations’ most polluted beaches, titled "Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches". It’s a 453 page nation-wide summary of coastal pollution and it was Vaughn’s Launch at the edge of Newport Back Bay that took home top honors.

The state of California establishes daily maximum bacterial standards for beaches and, according to this report, Vaughn’s Landing exceeded those standards on 50% of its samples.

According to a 2005 County of Orange report, the principal cause of this pollution headache is from contaminated runoff going into the bay. In the report, the source of polluted runoff was described as follows, “There are few data on the exact sources of the coliform in this runoff. Coliform has diverse origins, including: manure fertilizers which may be applied to agricultural crops and to commercial and residential landscaping; the fecal wastes of humans, household pets and wildlife; and other sources.”

The byproduct of residential and commercial landscaping is certainly a primary contributor to the polluted condition of Newport Bay and many of our other local coastal waters.

bluffs.jpg

Home gardeners and homeowners associations need to change their ways. Bacterial pollution is only one of the unfortunate results of homeowners and gardeners who aren’t paying attention; who aren’t adapting; who aren’t educating themselves and assuming responsibility for their decisions. Improper use of fertilizers and pest products, over-irrigation, and landscape runoff are not difficult problems to fix.

Our gardening activities should leave a positive impact on our communities. A garden that is thoughtfully designed and properly cared for should be an asset, not an obstacle; improving our individual emotional health as well as our neighborhood appearance. Gardens and landscapes should offer opportunities for birds and wildlife, absorb pollutants, balance temperature extremes and provide oxygen.

Vaughn’s Launch is a small, unsigned turnout along Back Bay Drive. It lies at the base of Big Canyon, on the east side of the bay. Above it, lie the communities of East Bluff, Big Canyon, The Bluffs and others. These are terrific communities and desirable places to live, with excellent schools, great weather and strong communities.

These communities are filled with great gardens and with great gardeners. They are gardeners who want to do the right thing. I know they do; I talk to them every day. None of them want to pollute the bay. They’re gardeners – good gardeners. Good gardeners enjoy nature and they always have a strong connection and sensitivity to their environment.  

So let’s make some changes. Let’s water only when needed; and when we do, let’s keep it out of the storm drains. Let’s clean up our dog and cat feces. Let’s feed our gardens intelligently; and when we do feed them, let’s use a product that has the least likelihood of ending up in the bay. Let’s put this fertilizer onto our gardens and onto our plants carefully, not with an applicator that throws it onto the walkways and driveways. When we need to use a pesticide, fungicide or snail control, let’s ask for one that is sensitive to the environment and then let’s carefully follow the label directions.

For our professional gardeners that we hire, let’s have them do what we want. Let’s tell them what to use. Let’s not allow them to apply fertilizer inappropriately, wash down the sidewalks or apply any product into ours gardens that we don’t approve of. If they can’t do this, or won’t do this, let’s get a new gardener.  

Let’s get involved in the landscape committees of our HOA’s. Let’s go to a meeting and make our expectations known. Let’s take back control from the companies that maintain our common areas. Let’s expect changes. If status quo is the response, let’s start interviewing for a new maintenance company.

Let’s not just ‘want’ to do the right thing – let’s do the right thing. We’re gardeners. Let me know how I can help.  

Questions from Readers August 2, 2009

Question:
 
I want to grow a Heliconia, but I am having a hard time finding one at a nursery. Any suggestions?
 
Judy, Corona del Mar
 
Answer:
The vast majority of Heliconias are too tropical to survive for long in Orange County, even along the coast. Very rarely, a rogue plant will survive in a local garden, but that’s a very rare plant indeed. One species with smaller, less spectacular flowers than its showy relatives is Heliconia schiedeana, particularly a hybrid called ‘Fire & Ice’. It will handle winter temperatures down to about 30 degrees, but still needs some coddling. Most nurseries should be able to order one for you.

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens , Corona del Mar.


Plant Care Reminders

Easter Egg Plant Plant Care
Perennials Pat Hammer

Solanum melongena var. ovigerum (Easter Egg Plant) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

What are Microgreens and How to Grow…

125831 Chris Eirschele
Microgreens
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…

Raspberry- Red (Rubus idaeus) - Monthly…

6416 Julie Bawden-Davis
Red Raspberry Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (Daylily -…

9892 Julie Bawden-Davis
Lemon Daylily Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

New Plants Added to Database

Added 12 new Hibiscus and Hydrangea to the Plant Database

Our website has so much information being added and updated that I decided to post an update to keep the members informed.
Southwest Retreat Make Over
Landscape and Design Kathleen Hassinger

APLD International Landscape Design Merit Award Winner: Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery

Association of Professional Landscape Designers Announces: Annual International Landscape Design Awards Program Winners

Spring Care Tips for Pampas Grass

104412
Pampas Grass Spring Care
Spring Care Tips for Pampas Grass

Sudden Oak Death Found in Presidio National Park

7119
Healthy Coastal Live Oak
SAN FRANCISCO — A coast live oak tree in Presidio National Park has been found infected…

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

6787
Default Image
At Renee's Garden, I offer only the varieties that are very special for home gardeners,…

Plant Recommendations

Cuphea
Plant Recommendations Steve Brigham

Hummingbird Plants - Southern California

Steve Brigham's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Hummingbird Plants for Southern California.
Leonard Dudley Braithwaite Rose

Roses - Southern California

Jan Brider's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Roses for Southern California.

Orchids - Southern California

6596 walter andersen
Phalaenopsis
Walter Andersen's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Orchids for Southern California. 

European Fruit Trees - Southern…

9459 Richard Frost
Anna Apples
Richard Frost's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite European Fruit Trees for Southern…

Trees for Small Landscapes - Northeast

10418 CL Fornari
C.L. Fornari
C.L. Fornari's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Trees for Small Landscapes for the…

Featured Plant Care

Blackberry Monthly Plant Care

Blackberry - Thornless (Rubus canadensis) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Epiphyllum Monthly Plant Care

Epiphyllum spp. (Orchid Cactus) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Orchid as a house plant

The Orchid as a Houseplant

in Orchids
Oooh La La—The Orchid as a Houseplant.

Latest Articles

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl - Information Hub

Peach leaf curl is a common problem found on leaves of Peaches and Nectarines (and their…
Avocado Information Hub

Avocado - Growing and Plant Care Information Hub

in Edibles
We're bringing relevant information about Avocados (Persea americana) to one fantastic…

Popular Articles

Using the Mulch for Home Gardeners

Home Gardener: Using All The Great Features on the Mulch

You Can Use The Great Features on the Mulch For Free!
Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)

Upcoming Events

Sorry, we currently have no events.
View All Events

Who's Online

We have 2040 guests and 2 members online

  • leezook
  • Mitch