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April 1, 2014 > Reflections on Water

Reflections on Water

By ACWD Public Affairs Specialist Sharene Gonzales

Each holiday season, I find myself in the same predicament - searching for creative, thoughtful, and unique gifts that do not break the bank. This past holiday season was no different. Given that I am not crafty and donÕt have the time nor patience to create homemade gifts, I must resort to store bought items.

While brainstorming with my daughter, she suggested those thick-leaved plants known as succulents. A few months prior, I had given her a dorm-warming gift of potted succulents, figuring that low-water use, low-maintenance plants could be cared for by even the busiest of college students. I was right, and since the fall she has added to her collection, adorning her windowsill with a variety of these year-round green plants.

Succulents! What a great suggestion for gift giving. We headed down to our local nursery, and lucky for us, there was an ample and varied supply: greens, deep purples, some with blooms, and leaves varying in shapes and sizes. This would make our shopping easy - no two gifts would be alike. Plus, these potted beauties were arranged in groups adding more variety for each recipient. Thanks to my daughterÕs suggestion, I had succeeded in finding the perfect holiday gift.

Fast forward a few months. I was recently visiting my mom when she exclaimed with delight, ÒLook at the plant you gave me. It has grown and I only water it once a month!Ó Her comment reinforced my hope that these plants were truly gifts that keep on giving, regardless of their small size.

In fact, it is their small size that makes these plants an ideal option for container gardens that urban dwellers can easily create. Not only that, they require far less water than many other plants and need little to no maintenance. They are the perfect complement to any patio, porch, hanging basket, or dorm-room windowsill. They also provide an easy, affordable, and transportable option to bringing plant life to just about any living situation.

IÕve done a bit of research and have found several creative ways that succulents can be used. They can be used to create wreaths, topiaries, and living wall art. They are inexpensive and are widely available - from specialty nurseries to grocery stores.

Once you make the choice to add these cuties to your indoor or outdoor container garden, you will be pleased at how easy they are to maintain. And you can water them by capturing water from a running faucet or shower, thereby reducing the strain on our water resources.

Given the fact that California is currently experiencing its driest conditions on record, many people are looking for ways to conserve water. Landscape irrigation accounts for nearly 50% of the water used in the average size household. Making simple changes to irrigation schedules is the first step to saving water. Another option is to replace water-thirsty lawns with succulents and other drought tolerant plants. And if your neighbors need to be gently reminded to conserve waterÉ well, a potted succulent would make a great gift when the holidays roll around again.

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