It is now a week since over 230 volunteers transformed the landscape around Petaluma’s City Hall in an event equivalent to an old fashioned barn raising… *
In cooperation with the City of Petaluma, the volunteers created a new water conserving landscape for City Hall that could serve as a model for businesses and homeowners to emulate.
However, the euphoria and enthusiasm (which I share) generated by the event must be tempered with the realization that the work is not done. We are starting our third year with a “transformed” sheet mulched landscape and have no regrets. Nevertheless, it does require monitoring, weeding and some pruning. From time to time, plants die and have to be replaced.
Going forward, the new City Hall landscape will demand the same attention, albeit on a scale larger than a residential yard. While turf maintenance and turf water demands have been eliminated, there will be maintenance of a different kind requiring different knowledge– and yes, the new landscape will require some water.
Given the current realities of the City budget, there will be little or no money for this maintenance.
Therefore, it is essential that the regular maintenance needs be met by volunteers–whether provided by Daily Acts, Petaluma Bounty or some other organization. This is going to be particularly true with respect to the community garden plots.
In short, City Hall is now the “showcase” for lawn conversion and water conservation in Petaluma. There is no option but to keep it looking good.
It is a huge responsibility…
*NOTE: For readers outside of Northern California, the water supply for the year is primarily from snow melt & water storage during the winter rainy season. Consequently, water and its uses are critical issues. This is especially so when it comes to residential and business landscaping. In Petaluma, many homeowners have torn out their lawns or converted them to low water plants or gardens. Others have simply let their lawns turn brown. You can view photo pages documenting the City Hall volunteer effort at the following links:
- City Hall Turf War–Part I
- City Hall Turf War–Part II
- City Hall Turf War–Part III Victory & Turf Transformation