FROM THIS EPISODE
The City of Santa Monica works hard to incentivize its residents to conserve and capture water, even offering rebates of up to $8,000 for switching out their front lawns. The result has been a saving of water and a flowering of creative gardening, especially in the neighborhood of Sunset Park.
Santa Monica resident Sarah Bromell in her new drought-friendly yard
Photo by Frances Anderton
But now California has seen its wettest rain season in over a century. The snowpack along the Sierra Nevada mountain range is a huge 185 percent of average and there are fears of flooding. So can everyone relax about saving water? And if they do, will homeowners revert to the green lawns and sprinklers made iconic by artists including David Hockney?
No, says the City's Sustainability Officer, who is urging folks to hold on to their "drought mentality." That view is shared by some Santa Monica residents who are enjoying their new palette of plants too much to bring back turf.
South LA's "gangsta gardener" Ron Finley wants to bring locally-grown food to areas that desperately need it, and to change ideas about what it takes to make a healthy community. But his lush garden near the Farmdale Expo Line station is under threat because the property has been sold to investment company Strategic Acquisitions, which wants to redevelop the entire site. It was sold to them by the bank that repossessed the property.
Ron Finley in his garden in South LA
Photo by Avishay Artsy
DnA hears about Finley's efforts to raise the money to buy the property back, and gets a tour of his garden in South LA, from its sidewalk bursting with banana plants, sunflowers and a canopy of woven branches in which to shoot the breeze, to the hidden Eden in an empty swimming pool in his backyard, filled with plants in pots, old sinks, a wagon and other receptacles that capture Finley's imagination.
"My whole thing for the way I garden here and in urban areas is not for production, not for maximum yield, it's for beauty," he tells DnA. "Every sense in your body can be affected in the garden and that's what I want to do."
The newly designed Aeron chair
Photo courtesy Herman Miller
Design firm Herman Miller first launched its popular Aeron chair in 1994. Designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick replaced the foam and fabric of traditional office chairs with high-tech materials and cutting-edge design. Over seven million Aeron chairs have been sold in 134 countries. Now, Chadwick has overseen a redesign of the chair. He told DnA why the redesign was needed and why it's important for designers to work with their hands.