Every spring more than one billion people in almost 200 countries celebrate Earth Day. A day to honor our environment, Earth Day is also a day to recognize how we can preserve our natural resources and make lifestyle changes to help reverse the damage humans have caused the planet.
This year the Earth Day theme is “Protect our Species.” We can help protect entire ecosystems by starting small. In this case think bugs, yes bugs. That includes an array of insects, bees and the beautiful monarch butterfly. This butterfly species has experienced a drastic decline in its population by more than 90 percent since the 1980s. Insects play a vital role in our planet and are invaluable to humans as pollinators of our crops.
So how can you help? Replace your lawn with a water-efficient and pollinator-friendly yard. Trading your thirsty turf for native plant species will benefit habitat for pollinators and provide food for them. There are several benefits to a water-wise landscape that includes native plant species:
- Work less. Water-wise and native plants thrive with minimal maintenance. No more mowing, regular watering, pest control, fertilizing and extensive weeding.
- Save water. Once established, watering can be greatly reduced to only the hot months (depending on the type of plant), helping you save money and water.
- Reduce toxins. Native plants and other species suited to our California climate don’t need fertilizer and may be less prone to pests, weeds or disease. By cutting back on these use of fertilizers and pesticides you decrease potential harm to pollinators.
- Naturally beautiful. A water-wise yard is a serene oasis, attracting different species of birds, bees, butterflies and more. The garden’s diverse blooms and colorful winged-pollinators offer a tranquil and lovely sight.
If you don’t know where to start, no problem! Valley Water can help. Our Landscape Rebate Program can help you plan and save on the cost of your project. Santa Clara County residents can receive $1 per square foot of lawn (or pool area) converted to a water-efficient landscape, for a maximum of $2,000 per residence. We also offer an abundance of resources from landscape design templates, a gallery of sample projects, an approved plant list and list of professionals with experience participating in our program. Please note a pre-inspection is required before starting on your landscape project. Call us at 408-630-2554 for more information on how to get started.
For additional resources in planning for your water-wise garden, visit the South Bay Green Gardens website. This handy resource is a great guide on sustainable gardening with a number of helpful tools for planting, garden maintenance, fertilizing and more, including water-wise garden templates.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see beautiful water-wise landscapes in person at the Going Native Garden Tour this May 4 and 5. Hosted annually each spring by the California Native Plant Society and the UCCE Master Gardners of Santa Clara County, this free community tour features gorgeous gardens made up primarily of California native plants. Register today and check out the beautiful gallery of this year and past years’ gardens here.