What your drought-tolerant landscape could look like

Drought-tolerant landscapes are an idea whose time has come. Many homeowners in Austin get this. Here’s a look at several non-lawn lawns that may inspire you. While they almost all require getting rid of that pesky turf, they’re easy to maintain later on. Most importantly, they’re not overly thirsty.

These 7 gifts are perfect for nature lovers

Give back to nature by helping restore forests, oceans and wildlife. Your contribution will boomerang back in countless ways, curbing climate change, teaching kids about the outdoors, feeding endangered monarch butterflies, making space for whales and even helping tree farmers. All you’ll get is that lousy T-shirt. (But this year, they’re actually pretty cool.)

Bloom Town: The wild life of American cities

One of America’s hottest cities and one of its coldest may have more in common than you would guess. In places like Phoenix and Minneapolis, scientists think that cities are starting to look alike in ways that have nothing to do with the proliferation of Starbucks, WalMart or T.G.I Fridays. It has to do with the flowers we plant and the fertilizers we use and the choices we make every spring when we emerge from our apartments and homes and descend on local garden centers.

Please feed the butterflies

We feed birds in the winter. But Americans have not been as aggressive about feeding butterflies in the summer.
The best way, of course, is to supply many varied and native flowers for your area. Plant those with a variety of colors and shapes — bright red and purple flowers rich in nectar in trumpet and cone shapes with sturdy “landing pads” — and you will see butterflies gravitating to your yard from spring through summer. Love the look of nature? Get really saavy and plant the vines and vegetation that caterpillars need also.

Xeriscaping: The path to water independence


(Photo: Green Right Now)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about energy independence. Important, no doubt. But we need to think about preserving water too, and nothing works harder toward this goal – or offers as much creative satisfaction – as Xeriscaping. In this endeavor, one could say that being green means dialing down the green in your lawn, giving up some of that solid sheet of thirsty turf and committing more area to a low-water garden that features rocks, flowering plants, shrubs and low-growing trees. That is Xeriscaping, getting away from landscaping that drinks up too much precious water.

Tour de Faux Pas: Lance Armstrong Becomes Austin’s Top HH Water Consumer

By Barbara Kessler

Lance Armstrong may have to take his own advice and “dare to change” his life after being outed as the city’s biggest water guzzler, using a whopping 222,900 gallons of water in June, according to an AP report that appeared in the Austin American-Statesman late last week.

In July, consumption jumped to 330,000 gallons, putting him way out in front of the competition at about 38 times what the average household uses, according to the New York Times, which jumped onto the story.