The heat tightens, the earth is barren, and the new law prohibits watering with the same fluidity as before. But far from content to have languid and withered gardens, Californians have signed up to the fashion of painting their green lawns.
With a simple layer of spray, the grass regains its natural color to the delight of its owners, happy to look again “healthy” events. This form of makeup gains followers every day that the intense drought continues in California – and it’s been four years now.
This is the case of Paula Pearson. Since the Democratic Governor Jerry Brown announced in April exceptional measures to save 25% of water in the absence of rain and the emptying of the reservoirs, this neighbor of Escondido – a town near San Diego – has kept the hose and closed the tap.
The effect has been immediate: the parterre of the entrance of his house has turned yellow and has stopped projecting that home feeling that he likes so much.
“In my opinion, the grass should be green,” tells AFP this blonde haired woman, who protects herself from the sun behind dark glasses.
– A lifestyle –
The first time Paula heard about the possibility of painting the lawn she laughed, but then she thought that it could be a good solution to her problem.
“If I had wanted a yellow garden, I would have replaced it with pebbles,” he says while showing off his land. “But what I want is green grass.”
The garden is a way of life so ingrained among Americans that it is part of its essential architectural structure.
Hundreds of thousands of neighborhoods throughout the country are designed in the same way: houses with a garden in front and one behind (the classic “front yard” and “backyard” in English).
Taking it well is “a reflection of how the owner is,” says Jim Powers, founder of the Lawnlift.
Her clients are people who “do not want to see her dead parterre every time she leaves and arrives home,” she told AFP. “But when it’s forbidden to water, there are few options.”
The significant drought has prompted many residents to replace their Eden by cactus, agaves and other typical plants of the desert climate. To favor this change, some Californian cities like Los Angeles even offer incentives to their citizens.
Governor Brown’s measures also include replacing old appliances with models that save, as well as increasing the prices of invoices to discourage large consumers.
But Power firmly believes that the famous gardens will “survive the drought.”
“In the 70s we lived a similar one (in California), people took their lawns, and after a few years he put them back,” he says.
– Magic –
With no time to waste, an operator begins the operation in Paula’s garden after mixing in an electric pump the magic potion, a combination of water and natural pigments similar to the cosmetics used by women.
In the blink of an eye, the grass comes back to life, before the fascination of its owner. “I would have this color if I had watered it every day!” He exclaims. “I know because I’ve lived in this house for 25 years.”
The product is non-toxic, lasts 12 weeks and is resistant to rain – although that is not exactly the main threat to California gardens.
The spray has been successful since it came on the market seven years ago, but Power recognizes that the drought has spiked the benefits, especially in the last 12 months.
“Sales doubled this March compared to the previous one,” he explains.
For now, it only exports to Canada, although a few weeks ago it sold products worth $ 15,000 to an Algerian businessman.
“I’m going to have to put a sign in my garden so that my neighbors know that I have painted it, but they will think that I water it every day and they will denounce me,” he warns, while he does not stop taking photos.