Ocean Friendly Gardens, Basic Class, GAP, HOW
May 21 2013

6 Ocean Friendly Gardens Events In One Day in Southern California!

by Paul Herzog

You know demand for Ocean Friendly Gardens-oriented classes and workdays is growing when 6 OFG events are held in just one Saturday in Southern California! The events demonstrate the opportunities for scaling up outreach, developing partnerships, and getting more gardens built. Here's a run-down of events:

As part of National Public Gardens Month, the City of Santa Barbara hosted a talk-and-walk covering three different gardens, including the new OFG at Spencer Adams Park. During the "talk" portion, Master Gardener, Lesley Wiscomb, spoke about the changes made to the landscape out front of the building: climate appropriate plants, mulch and more efficient sprinklers. The City's Parks Manager, Santos Escobar, presented on subsurface drip irrigation system installed in the warm-season turf lawn next to building, delivering water right to the roots, while significantly reducing evaporation and runoff.

Then Santa Barbara OFG activist and landscape architect, Kim True, peaked the audience's interest with how OFG retrofit to Spencer Adams Park "applies CPR to landscape:" Conserving water, creating Permeable surfaces to absorb and filter water, and Retaining rainwater coming off the roof. This OFG is just a few door's down.

After Kim's great slideshow (which, with a voice-over, will become an orientation slideshow for new volunteers), the group moved outside to look, touch and smell all the three landscapes. OFG activists Heather Wehnau (Plant Propagation Manager, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden) and Rob Lane (Rockrose Design) talked next. They explained the redirection of the raingutter downspout into the garden to water plants and help filter pollutants, as well as covering plant selection and maintenance. You can read about the Hands-On Workshops that built this garden, funded by a grant through the California Coastal Commission's Whale Tail License Plate program.

Thirty minutes south in Ventura, the Ventura County Surfrider Chapter's OFG Sub-Committee worked on creating an OFG at Will Rogers Elementary School. Sub-Committee Co-Chairs, Wayne Sapp and Morrie Wills, lead the OFG charge. David Ferrin, Chair of the Midtown Ventura Community Council (at right), put into action the skills he learned from the previous OFG retrofit and his G3 Core Concepts Workshop training. David's daughter (in pink shorts) and her classmates worked, too, such as dunking the plants to ensure they were fully wet before going into the ground. The design was done by landscape architect, Brian Broderson, who also attended G3's Core Concepts Workshop (through a California State Whale Tail Grant).

Volunteers will return to Will Rogers School in June to cut and remove asphalt (at left) just across the way from the OFG. They will replace it with  a bio-swale to absorb and filter runoff from the adjacent buildings roof and the blacktop's surface.

Just a mile away at Botanic Garden Festival in Grant Park, G3 Regional Organizer and OFG activist, Renee Roth, spoke about the benefits of OFGs and how to get started creating one.
Renee gave an intro to runoff, pollution prevention, and the steps to a success installation.

Another fifteen minutes south in Camarillo, Camrosa Water District hired G3 to teach their Watershed Basics Class - which has a strong overlap with OFG. Camrosa's Communications Specialist, Donnie Alexander (at right), met G3 and Surfrider reps at a monthly meeting of water conservation staff from around the county and was impresed by G3's comments. South Bay Surfrider OFG Co-Chair, Beth Crosse, co-taught the Class as a G3 Qualified Trainer.

Meanwhile, down south in Malibu, the recipient of an OFG Garden Assistance Party paid forward the help she got by tabling for West LA/Malibu Surfrider (WLAM) OFG at an event.

The rest of the WLAM OFG Sub-Committee were further south in Venice, helping complete the 3rd of 3 Hands-On Workshops (HOW) to retrofit the landscaping at Beyond Baroque Literary and Arts Center (at right).

The HOWs were lead by WLAM OFG Co-Chairs, Steve Williams (biologist and coordinator of a site evaluation program with a state agency) and Tom Rau (landscape architect), both of whom are professionals who have been trained by OFG partner, G3/The Green Gardens Group. A grant through the City of Los Angeles' Keep LA Beautiful program providing funding for the HOWs.

HOW #3 covered irrigation and mulching (at right), while HOW #2 focused on redirecting the raingutter downspout (at left) and #1 dealt with sheet killing turf through sheet mulching.

All in all, quite a day for OFG education, hands-on training and partnership development!