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Sunday, January 8, 2012


NIFTY-FIFTY--I’m amazed at myself for being such a complete zero when it comes to basic gardening around the home. Yes, I know I can hire someone to do it. But I’d rather do-it-myself. Can it be that difficult to find the right drought resistant plants for the homestead? A friend, who grows perfect roses seemingly on concrete, gave me one of those sideways grins. “I feel your pain.” I don’t want sympathy I want results. No different than being the coach of the NFL Chargers.

I digress, but my rosy friend did give me a green thumb tip that I will be forever grateful.

Enter the marketing department at the San Diego County Water Authority that has compiled a roster of 50 local plants that grow in our semi-arid part of the world and thrive. The SDCWA worked with Cuyamaca College’s Water Conservation Garden staff to produce a remarkable list of drought tolerant, non-invasive plants.

I traveled out to the five-acre Cuyamaca College garden and found new inspiration. I met the Garden’s plant expert Ms. Smarty Plants, whom I swore I met in another life. At any rate, she led me to believe even I can grow water miser plants. The trick I learned is to get them planted properly. I’ll keep you posted on how my garden grows.

Meanwhile, the Nifty/Fifty plants are on display “live” at the Water Conservation Garden, which is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Call for winter hours.) Tours are offered each Saturday morning and by appointment. Also, they have classes, workshops, and gardening festivals for the entire family. Address: 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West, West El Cajon, CA 92019. Contract info: or call 619-660-0614 x10.

But if you can’t make it out to Rancho San Diego, then download the Nifty/Fifty PDF at the following long address:

More Water Miser News: Also, the SDCWA has a very cool new digital flip magazine called “A Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape. Download at

Images: Cuyamaca College Water Conservation Garden website and San Diego Water Authority website.

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