Posts

Recycled Water Truck

Recycled Water Truck


Recycled Water Delivery in Marin County

Do you have drought-stressed trees or plants? If so, and you live in the County or its surrounding areas you could have recycled water delivered to your door!  Marin Water’s website explains some of its benefits. “Using recycled water for irrigation saves our drinking water supply and benefits the San Francisco Bay”. 

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) recommends getting your trees inspected to find out if they are drought-stressed.  They are your highest value plants and without sufficient water, they’re vulnerable to pests or diseases.  See our recent post that describes symptoms of drought-stressed trees.

This post has what you need to know about recycled water, how it is delivered, and its benefits.

What is Recycled Water?

It is wastewater that has been treated chemically and biologically.  And, it’s highly regulated for safety by the California Department of Public Health. The recycled water program began as a collaboration of eleven North Bay water districts.  Their goal – a more reliable water supply. An increasing number of districts in the San Francisco Bay Area are also offering recycled water as an alternative to potable water.

Why Should I Use Recycled Water?

Marin Water has now restricted irrigation with potable water to spray, once a week; drip twice a week. Because of these mandates, your trees and other high-value plants may be at risk.

What are the Benefits of Recycled Water?

It’s exempt from water restrictions.

It conserves our potable (drinking) water.  In fact, every gallon of recycled water used saves a gallon of potable water.

Higher nutrient levels than drinking water, which is beneficial to plant growth.  It can reduce the need for fertilization.

Who can receive recycled water delivery?

Gardeners’ Guild will deliver to both commercial and residential properties.

Every Gallon Recycled Water Saves a Gallon of Potable Water


Gardeners’ Guild Delivers Recycled Water

Description of our Service

  • We schedule a site visit to assess plants and determine which ones could benefit from recycled watering.
  • We send you a proposal.
    Pricing is based on the quantity of water needed and labor required.
  • Once you approve the proposal, Gardeners’ Guild will schedule a date and time to deliver recycled water to your home or business.
  • We transport recycled water to your home or business on a truck that is equipped with a hose for direct application to the plant(s).
  • Gardeners’ Guild will also provide a sign that says “irrigated with recycled water”.

Irrigated with Recycled Water


Qualifications for Recycled Water Delivery

Any company that wants to truck recycled water must have a use permit issued by the County of Marin.  The application process requires training, the appropriate insurance, and the truck must meet specific requirements to ensure that storage tanks are airtight and are cleaned of contaminants.

Gardeners’ Guild has met all requirements and has a use permit that is visible at all times.

For more information – contact us

(510) 439-3728

Email

 

 


 

offices Integrating nature

Bringing the outdoors inside


Employees want more nature in the workplace

How do employees envision the post-pandemic workplace?  I’ve combed the web to find out.  Studies have been trickling in – starting last year.  This post is a compilation from a myriad of sources.  A trend is taking shape.  Nature is a common denominator.

A note about the process.  I’ve mined data from actual research and expert sources, rather than just opinion.

In broad terms, workers want to feel safe, see their co-workers and have an adequate work-life balance.  A pesky fly in the ointment – most employees really liked working from home.   You could say they are torn – enjoying the comforts of home yet missing the comradery of the office. 

It looks like the best of both worlds is a hybrid work schedule.  (building in the flexibility to work remotely as needed or on a schedule).  Most importantly, employees will be driving this change in the workplace, because companies recognize that their success relies on attracting and maintaining talent.

What’s in this post.

  • The verdict on the post-pandemic office
  • What the experts say
  • How and where to incorporate nature in your workspace

Employees liked working remotely

Comfort, access to nature, fresh air, natural light, and soft lines; shapes.

Greenery inside and outside.  In fact, employees felt they had a healthier lifestyle.  In a survey conducted by Morning Consult, 40 percent said they spent more time outdoors.

An NPR story on the post-pandemic office underscores this idea.

A panel of five experts assembled for the story evoked the same theme.  For an office building to be healthy, it is essential for employees to be in contact with nature.  They recommended strategies such as living walls instead of partitions as room dividers.  They cited the term biophilic design (bringing nature indoors) as boosting productivity and overall well-being.  The panel also discussed using natural construction materials – further connecting the office to nature.

Silverado Roundtable – Bringing Nature into the Workplace

A white paper published by an organization called Silverado Roundtable and distributed via their website and collaborating green industry organizations is a compelling read.  Compiling research from architects, architects, social scientists, and psychologists.  The paper offers an engaging rationale for the post-pandemic workspace to be reinvented and more aligned with nature. 

What employees want in the workspace

What employees say they need for their well-being


A Healthy Workplace is a Necessity

Quotes from the report

“The American office building has to really confront what’s been done in Netherlands and Germany: office space requires high volumes of fresh air. Natural light. We know plants work in an office, but they also purify the air.”

“A healthy workplace used to be perceived as a benefit; now it is a necessity. Access to fresh air, light, nature, and any other option to give employees the confidence their work environment is as safe as it can be, will be the primary driver in a return-to-work strategy. Access to nature is increasingly critical for employee mental health and overall wellbeing.”

What the Experts Say

WorkDesign Magazime


A great article – it explores the trend of employees’ desire to be connected to nature.  It suggests that merging the outdoors with interior workspaces will enhance their experience. As employers are challenged to attract workers back to the office, they need to recognize that preference.

Gensler Survey


Gensler is a global design and architecture firm.  Their research found “people are expecting health and wellness to be built into everything.” 

A 2019 workplace survey found that employers are “facing mounting pressure to synergize indoor and outdoor spaces, nudge healthy behaviors, and support a sense of psychological well-being”. This is in part because working from home (a trend even before COVID) has provided easier access to the outdoors and nurtured their need for a healthy lifestyle which is increasingly important to them.

Resimercial - a new term


No, this is not a typo.  The term cropped up in the last year, describes an emerging trend.  It’s an interior design approach incorporating home-like comforts to an office.  Architectural Design firm, Planforce describes resimercial design as having three aspects.  One is natural elements.  Elaborated in their March blog post. “The fancy term is biophilic design, but it really just means embracing more plants or elements that are reminiscent of nature.”

Healthy, Relaxed, and Green

All the above quotes and links to articles about the trend toward merging the outdoors with the indoors have been building for several years. COVID brought this to the forefront.  Employees’ message is loud and clear.  They want a workplace that reflects their values – healthy, more relaxed, and aligned with nature.

One Example


Big tech has always known that a big part of attracting and retaining talent is providing a workplace more integrated with nature.

Amazon’s (not surprising) building features three giant glass domes called “The Spheres”. Growing inside are 40,000 plants.  A profile in Seattle “Curbed” features a giant photo (I bet their employees never go home). 

How to incorporate plants in your office

Their legions of benefits are well documented.  (Stress reduction, cognitive improvement; enhanced creativity, and mood).

Good Earth, a Southern California Plant Company has great ideas for where to position plants in your office.  Some of them are listed below.

  • At the entrance for a welcoming, friendly first impression.
  • If you have a lobby or reception desk, put plants on the security guard desk.  Rotated color – meaning Orchids or Bromeliads are especially pretty for their color and texture.
  • Concentrate plant displays where they are visible to employees who do much of the work.
  • Use plants as dividers to separate work areas. (Regardless of social distancing).
  • Living walls.
  • In restrooms and break rooms.
  • Positioning larger plant pots, in multiple locations in the edges and corners of a room has a great positive benefit and softens hard lines.

Looking for more plant ideas?

Look through our catalog of plants

They are color-coded based on their light requirements.
Plants with the highest air cleaning properties are marked.

There are many factors to consider, size, whether they are a table or floor plant.

Do they grow upright and narrow?
Or short and wide?

GGI Interior Plant Catalog


Call us (510) 439-3728

 

 

Dry Creek Bed - North Bay

North Bay Drought-Stricken Creek

 


Adapting Your Landscape

We’re going to help you adapt your landscape to the drought.  Yes – you can adapt.   We see it as a combination of being well-informed, horticultural best practices, and creative reimagining.  Beautiful landscapes can and will prevail. 

They may look different. How we use plants and water will change, and we will guide you through each step of the journey.

First, know that San Francisco Bay Area water utilities have spoken.  At this moment, only a few have scheduled mandatory water rationing but all are urging cut-backs.  Keep in mind – this could change tomorrow.

What’s in this post.

  • An up-to-date report on water usage restrictions – organized by district. Download PDF for the latest policies.
  • What Gardeners Guild is doing to support you.
  • What you can do – now – and later.

Water District Policies

Below is a snapshot of four Bay Area water policies.  (the attached has more information and districts)

  • San Francisco – as of today, no mandates. The district is urging residents to conserve.
  • MMWD – Marin County has a very specific water rationing policy.
  • NMWD – North Marin until July 1st residents are asked to voluntarily conserve by 20%
  • Santa Rosa residents are asked to voluntarily conserve usage by 20%
  • EBMUD – Declares Stage 1 drought and urges a voluntary reduction of 10%

ABC7 Map of SF Bay Area Drought

ABC7 map shows the extent of the drought in the San Francisco Bay Area


What to do now

According to the US Drought Monitor, most of the Bay Area is in either what is called D3 or D4, Extreme or Exceptional Drought.  Exceptional being the driest.

For some perspective, in a Severe Drought, the US Drought monitor describes what happens to plants.  “Trees are stressed; plants increase reproductive mechanisms; wildlife diseases increase.”

Protect your trees first.

Trees are your high-value plants.  They provide shade, give off oxygen, regulate extreme temperatures, nurture wildlife habitat and help us adapt to climate change.  But they may be stressed because of our dry winter. 

Symptoms of stress include wilting and undersized leaves, leaf drop, and disease – these are just a few.

A drought-stressed tree needs water.  Some watering methods include soaker hoses, gator bags, or deep root watering.  Proper watering depends on the species, its age, and where they are planted.  Water them slowly, says UC Master Gardener Program. See the image below.

Mulch – two to six inches of mulch around your trees.  Organic mulch will help the soil retain moisture.  (See the link below for rebates)

How to water trees

How to water trees


Irrigation – Is your system is working efficiently?

Water early or late – before 9 am or late – after 7 pm.

Fix any broken sprinklers and repair leaks

Correcting them could save 10 percent off your water bill, and improve your plants’ health. 

University of California suggests you also check

  • Automatic valves, heads, and other connections to ensure they are functioning
  • Other irrigation problems can include broken, sunken, crooked, or clogged emitters.

This evaluation can be complex, we suggest consulting with a professional.

Consider

  • Spray to drip conversion – it will save water.
  • Smart controller – it adjusts according to weather and will save water.
  • Irrigation audit to determine your system’s efficiency.

Check for rebates – See attached for details

Plants – Evaluate and Prioritize.

University of California suggests you prioritize the care of high-value plants such as trees, (as stated above) shrubs, groundcover, and herbaceous perennials.

Lawns and bedding plants can be re-established more easily and less expensively.

Start planning now.  Depending on your location, dry, brown turf areas can be a fire hazard.  You may need to replace your lawn with mulch and drought-tolerant plants.

Check for rebates – See attached for details

Mulch

Applying mulch will help the soil retain water.

There are many types of mulch, including tree service mulch, which is free, except for the cost of spreading.  Gravel is another increasingly popular form of mulch.

Mulch

One type of mulch


Additional Tips and Tools

Root zone moisture products such as Hydretain, will help supplement watering.

Rebates – some water districts are offering them for turf conversion and irrigation upgrades. 
Some offer free mulch.
See the downloadable list of rebates by district

What Gardeners’ Guild is doing

  • Tracking water districts in our service area for water policy updates.
  • Supplying you with tips on allocating water usage to save plants and trees.
  • Guidance on how to best prepare for any mandatory water rationing.
  • Tracking rebates and any updated information.
  • Helping clients to prioritize plants by their value.

Final Thoughts and Cautious Optimism

The above quote was taken out of context.  I found it encouraging, but there will be variances depending on the plant type, its age, landscape, and its environment.  More than anything it speaks to the extent that plants are over-watered.  

Some additional notes.

The drought has compounded the risk of wildfire.  Be mindful that a dry landscape can be at risk. Plan what plants you want to stop watering and/or plants you want to remove and what they will be replaced with.  This is essential.

We want and need attractive landscapes.  They make a difference in our well-being.  It just means we will need to re-invent how we manage them.

Talk with a professional who can help you plan.

We will continue to do our part – updating you on water district policies, rebates, how to plan, short and long term for adapting your landscape to the drought.