It's time to awake from the dream.

The_Mohave__Kid(Nevada)June 1, 2007

Enough is enough.

Do we really need to litter every highway median with an assorted arrangement of trees .. shrubs and flowers.

Does any gardener really enjoy working out in traffic on a two foot wide highway median or on steep slopes along highways .. spraying herbicides while traffic speeds by... making english gardens out of xeriscapes .. does anyone really enjoy your landscaping work as they speed by at 60 mph.

Water is precious .. time is valuable .. energy limited .. why do we create landscape monstrocities that we can only afford to maintain with an influx of immigrant labor.

What we do as landscapers is sacred work we should place landscaping in sacred places ... at the very least in a place where it can really be enjoyed. Landscaping is not filler anymore .. it's very expensive and should be used and placed with care.

Wake up from the dream .. stop pissing on your own profession. We are not dogs.

Good Day ..

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Wouldn't that be up to the Nevada highway department?

A funny thing here is that while one stretch of freeway is being planted with closely spaced native trees (or other tall species) another section is being logged because the trees are tall enough to fall over the lanes.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 5:28PM
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gonativegal(zone 5a)

Mohave Kid,

As a professed native planter, I agree wholeheartly with your rant. I am sick to death of unsustainable landscapes which rot over the winter and are water hogs in the summer. Because of our weird winter and early spring this year here in the Midwest, I've been ripping out some of my clients' traditional garden plants (they weren't designed or installed by me!). The list includes loads of lambs ears, pachysandra, tea roses, pennisetums, miscanthus (and the list goes on) that were deader then a doornail because they simply rotted. The native gardens or sustainable gardens as I call them (filled with both native and tried and true visitors such as peonies and garden phlox) came through fine with flying colors.

And what's even cooler is that I maintain all 40 of my gardens with no imported labor. I am a one-woman show. It's all about knowing the plants and how they behave through every aspect during each of the seasons - such as when to prune, when to weed, and having everyone on a schedule.

Native gardens can look every bit as beautiful without looking weedy if done properly while keeping with the style of the house.

If I see one more PJM Rhododendron or Hydrangea macrophylla in a design I'll scream. They don't work here in the midwest. It's all about knowing the plants, folks. Even the best design cannot work if the plant choices are all wrong.

Well, that's my rant.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 9:31PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I don't live in Nevada, so we don't have watering issues like you do. I do a great deal of driving, and I really enjoy the median strip gardens. We don't have them everywhere, only in selected locations, which makes them more special. Some are on the boring congested highways, others in the downtown area where I sit for long stretches in traffic at stoplights.

The highway ones tend to be wildflower mixes, things like poppies and cosmos. The downtown ones are drought-tolerant, tough plants like yucca, miscanthus, daylilies, russian sage. All of the ones I have seen have been done by the public works departments, not a private landscaper.

I do interior landscaping myself, a slightly different creature. There's not much sacred about it. Most "sacred spaces" like churches are too dark for any plants. Our best clients tend to be in professions that are anything but sacred (I won't list them for fear of offending someone).

I think some of the plants we provide that give the most pleasure are in dumpy old office buildings with endless cubicle farms and employees stuck in unfulfilling jobs. That pothos hanging basket may mean more to them than the nicest 25 foot indoor palm does to the high-end office space.

If the client wants plants, and wants to pay for them, and you're not being environmentally irresponsible, why ever not?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 5:44PM
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I can't imagine what you're describing in NV. Like watergal said, here in MD we have large swathes of wildflowers where highway crew would otherwise have to mow. There are some denser areas that may be reforestation projects. Some areas have daylilies, daffodils, or shrubs that are planted along the highway in a landscaped type fashion (between the road and the noise barrier wall), but nothing that requires more care or water than mother nature already gives. In a land of too much concrete and aggressive driving, I find it very soothing to see something more than a tangle of weeds along the side of the road. I'm appreciative that someone thought of the view along the journey, not just at the destination.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 2:27AM
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You can thank Ladybird Johnson (former First Lady) for the wildflowers in the median strips all across the nation.

One trap that we often fall into is the belief that all landscaping is for aesthetics. Often it is for other purposes that are not so noticable. It is not uncommon to vegetate median strips with the purpose of screening headlights of oncoming traffic or to create a physical barrier for those foolish enough to attempt a u-turn. I'm not saying that it is the case in Mohave's situation, but there may be a much bigger reason for a certain planting than initially meets the eye.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 7:07AM
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Part of the reason VDOT maintains wildflower medians is that studies have shown that the mix of bright colors helps to create more alert drivers- it eliminates that "freeway coma" you get from miles of uninterrupted grass medians.

I wonder if they're doing it for the same reason in NV? I remember how deadly boring the drive between Phoenix and Tucson was.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:12PM
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landman41(z5 Colo)

"I wonder if they're doing it for the same reason in NV? I remember how deadly boring the drive between Phoenix and Tucson was."

marcinde......extremely...unless you appreciate century plants and ocotillo for your viewing pleasure...yet whats worse is the non-stop litter. We visit taht area from Colorado at least once a year....and color would actually be a go-send to break-up the "heat-coma" that renders you zoned in less then 5 miles.

By the way, loved Virginia esp coming out ofd the Shenandoahs on our way to VA Beach

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 6:26PM
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Here in Raleigh, NC, I think they are doing it fairly well. I like the use of Zelkova trees, Chinese pistache, shade-giving maples and willow oaks, drought-tolerant crape myrtles, spring magnolias, etc. Wild flowers are used along the highways, and I love the color. I remember growing up in Wisconsin, where unless there was fresh snow, my world was gray and dreary. I am surprised they don't use more varieties of drought-tolerant groundcovers, especially stonecrop types.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 12:50AM
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Laura, your memories are incorrect.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 11:47PM
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Um, I remember winters that lasted about 6 months, very gray and dreary when there wasn't snow. Now come June, very green and plenty of flowers, but it was the long winter that was rough for me. Loved snow, though.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:13AM
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I seem to remember the two-lane highways and byways in Wisconsin as being one of the natural wonders (was a kid then). The drainage ditches, bogs, open patches, and stands of trees had all kinds of interesting stuff - acres of ditch lilies, Black eyed Susans, wood violets, pink prairie roses, aquilegia Canadensis, skunk cabbages, ferns, Jack in the Pulpits....

I'm a winter fan, myself, but as a benefit of retirement, I don't HAVE to get out in it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 11:12PM
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Um, you didn't see those in October, November, December, January, February, March, April, or all Mays!

Sometimes on my B-Day (May Day), the crabapple trees would be in bloom. On the other hand it might be snowing!

Down here the pansies can bloom all winter. The leaves don't fall until November and the trees start to flower again in February.

I'm not talking about Wisconsin in June. I'm talking about Wisconsin in February. It's a great place to live in a lot of ways, but those winters are long, colorless and brutal in Milwaukee.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 12:18AM
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