A few years ago, I replaced my cranky, rusty front lawn with native and drought tolerant plants. I felt so empowered by ending that co-dependent relationship with my thirsty lawn and I've never looked back. My neighbors were curious when they saw me in the bed of my pick-up truck in my red polka-dotted rubber boots blasting my iPod and shoveling aged "Double-Doody" horse and cow manure into my yard.
With the ubiquitous rectangular front lawn missing from my suburban lot, I'm certain they were convinced they were living next door to a Communist...
But then the California drought hit and water rates increased. One by one, all those apprehensive neighbors came by to ask me questions about my native plants, as if all of a sudden, I was the cool, popular girl in school. So I milked it for all I could and explained that lawns are a pollinator's desert. We need flowers so the beneficial insects will come pollinate our food and protect our plants from pests.
I showed them how established native plants will survive solely on rainfall and little summer water, attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and bloom without chemical fertilizer. And like that, I instantly became queen bee of my 'hood!
Many of the gift ideas listed in the slideshow below helped me on my path to front yard sustainability. If you've got a hortiholic on your holiday gift list, read on, pilgrim! You're about to score some extra credit points with them -- and with Mother Nature.