Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
If you dislike lawns as much as I do, the Astrolawn web site may be the answer to all your problems. AstroLawn boasts a pile of 1 1/2 to 2 inches, and is easier on the feet than Astroturf. "It is not abrasive, is user-friendly; it's green year-round. It's like your old shag carpet," according to Andrew Belles of Southwest Recreational Industries, producer of the new miracle lawn substitute.
AstroLawn comes in 15-inch widths that can be cut to fit any area. Water drains right through it, allowing rain to penetrate the soil. It would be perfect for using under trees or around permanent shrub plantings. Just think, instead of mowing, you could spend your Saturday mornings vacuuming the lawn! That would give the neighbors something to talk about.....
Favorite or New Plant
As I sit at my desk composing this column I am graced by the presence of one of my very favorite plants, rosary vine (Ceropegia woodii). This particular plant is the great, great, great, great, great grandson of a plant that my grandmother gave me back in 1971. Her rosary vine lived in a hanging pot in the shaded driveway of her home in Napa. My original plant was made up of cuttings from only seven stems, lovingly tended over the years. Through that time, I have taken many cuttings to share with friends. The original plant is long gone, but this clone still gives me great pleasure. I recall many years ago when my pet cockatiels surreptitiously clipped all the foliage around the rim of the pot, the little demons. The severed vines fell to the floor like a Spanish shawl!
Rosary vine originated in South Africa. The succulent 1/2-inch, heart-shaped leaves hang on slender stems. The foliage is gray/green and white, and in the summer or spring, tiny pink flowers in the shape of elongated Bishop's caps form along the stems. Because it is a succulent, it needs very little water during the growing period and a resting period during the winter months.