Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Imported VS. Domestic

"What beer do you want?" Mr. Wonderful said pushing the shopping cart.
"My favorite: Stella Artois," I said grabbing a 6-pack. 
"Bread?"
"A baguette."
"Cheese?"
"Brie."

Apparently I preferred my dinner imported over domestic. Perhaps this was because I wasn't born and bred in California but moved to the Golden State as an adult. In other words: Imports liked imports, which was my rule of thumb on the inside of the house. But as far as the outside of the house went--I declared publicly--I was going native! 

"You're taking your top off?" our 86 year-old neighbor said hustling across his lawn to get a closer view.
"No, Harold. I'm not changing my clothes."
"Oh," I heard the disappointment in his voice.
"I'm going to plant California natives.
"Oh," his disappointment increased.
"In my front yard."
"Ohhh," he sank into his lawn chair deflated. I explained that California natives were plants that grew naturally in California, on its wind-swept ocean coasts, in its hot, dry deserts, along the slopes of Mount Hollywood--"
He rolled his eyes: "You mean: weeds." 

Harold didn't mince words but he did raise a point that many shared. Many domestic products were dismissed just because they were local, such as: 1) American beer; 2) American cars; 3) Americans in America.

As a Proud American I had to admit that while I couldn't change people's minds about all things American, I could try to inform them about the benefits of plants native to their region, namely: 1) They grew well with little water; 2) Had a long blooming season without pesticides; 3) They spoke with your same accent.

After months of reading up on California natives and criss-crossing the city photographing them like an Ansel Adams of the Suburbs, I made a short list of some of my favorite natives, like: the Manzanita Tree;


Verbena;

and a Ceanothus tree with an American Agave.


After our imported dinner, Mr. Wonderful perused my native photographs. "These plants look good," he said. 
"You don't think they're weeds?"
"No way."

And that's why I married him not the neighbor.