Carmichael neighbors earn their ‘blue thumb’

Carmichael residents came together Saturday, October 13 to improve a neighbor's front yard while learning sustainable landscaping during a free hands-on workshop and "Garden Party." // Photos courtesy

Carmichael residents came together Saturday, October 13 to improve a neighbor's front yard while learning sustainable landscaping during a free hands-on workshop and "Garden Party." // Photos courtesy

Carmichael residents came together Saturday, October 13 to improve a neighbor’s front yard while learning sustainable landscaping during a free hands-on workshop and “Garden Party.”

Part of the Blue Thumb Neighbors program, landscape designer Cheryl Buckwalter and irrigation specialist Don Smith taught participants how to replace water-wasting lawn sprinklers with more efficient ones, install in-line irrigation and plant beautiful, low-water use flowers and plants.

After the instruction, participants dug in to create a beautiful result–new irrigation, flowers and plants that are both attractive and water smart.

The hands-on Garden Party was the final element of Blue Thumb Neighbors,  a free program that teaches participants how to create beautiful, River-Friendly landscapes. River-Friendly landscaping is a holistic approach to sustainable landscaping that uses resources, like water, efficiently and incorporates practices that foster soil health, reduce waste and prevent pollution of the air and waterways.

Each of Carmichael’s 58 participating households received a free at-home consultation on efficient watering sponsored by the Carmichael Water District, as well as resource kits and education during three September workshops on sustainable landscape design, efficient watering and selecting beautiful low-water use plants. Two participants won weather-based “smart” irrigation controllers donated by Rain Bird and Hunter for completing all program components.

During the program participants learned that more than 60 percent of a household’s water use occurs in the landscape. Of that, it’s estimated that more than 30 percent is wasted due to overwatering and evaporation. They learned how to program their sprinkler systems to deliver just the amount of water plants need and about low-water use plants that are especially suited to thrive in the Sacramento region. Volunteer instructors included Buckwalter of design firm Landscape Liaisons, Smith of the City of Folsom and Ellen Zagory of the U.S. Davis Arboretum.

“Carmichael Water District is thrilled by the number of participants who embraced this truly valuable program,” said CWD Public Information Officer Chris Nelson. “Our water use affects the beautiful American River and our local streams that help make Carmichael unique. When we use more water in our landscape, we leave less in our waterways to support fish, plants, wildlife and recreation.  Blue Thumb Neighbors teaches us how to be good stewards so there is enough water for all.”

Blue Thumb Neighbors is sponsored by the Regional Water Authority, which includes 22 water providers in the Sacramento region, including Carmichael Water District. The program was offered in partnership with the Carmichael Creek Neighborhood Association.

For information about bringing Blue Thumb Neighbors to your community, contact your local water provider or Blue Thumb Neighbors Program Coordinator Christine Kohn at 916-944-1631.

‘Boulevard Brush Up’ very successful

Members of the community all showed up at Carmichael Park in their work clothes with sleeves rolled up and work gloves on for the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce’s “Boulevard Brush Up” on April 10.

Volunteers enjoyed beautiful weather and a delicious breakfast provided by Moka Davis, and then headed down Fair Oaks Blvd to pick up trash and pull weeds. The event was a tremendous success, as bags and bags of trash, plant materials and more were raked, swept up and disposed of.

The “Boulevard Brush Up” was sponsored by the Carmichael Creek Neighborhood Association, the Carmichael Colony Neighborhood Association, the Carmichael Chamber, and the County of Sacramento.

The Chamber team included Howard Schmidt, chief of staff for Supervisor Susan Peters; Chamber Board members Gary Andersen of Century 21 All Professional and Bill Schlack of XLeration Services; Golden 1 Credit Union Branch Manager Julie McAndrew; Honorary Mayor of Carmichael Pauline Gilmour, and Linda Melody, Pre-Paid Legal Services and the Chamber.

The next Boulevard Brush Up will be sometime in October.