After Linda Sanoff let her lawn die off and removed it, she knew that she wanted to replace it with a drought-tolerant alternative that would complement her Mediterranean home in Hancock Park.

“We wanted something traditional,” Sanoff said. “I didn’t want an English garden, but I did want something a little formal.”

So Sanoff and her husband, Gerry, asked landscape designer Michael Kirchmann Jr. of Anigo Garden Design to help them convert their former front lawn into a lush low-water oasis that requires very little maintenance.

“The transformation was all about water,” Sanoff said. “It’s a precious resource. We would have done this even without the rebate because it was the right thing to do.”

The couple began by replacing the turf on their parking strip with the South African ground cover dymondia margaretae. When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began offering turf removal rebates, it gave them extra motivation to keep going.

To help them visualize the new garden, Kirchmann took a picture of the house and covered it with a sheet of paper. On it, he drew in all of the plants so the couple could visualize their new garden.

To their delight, it grew in just as he illustrated.

Kirchmann kept the agapanthus, trumpet vine and roses because they were well established and planted drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials and succulents — lavender, rock roses, lantana and iris among them.

He also added a decomposed granite walkway to allow access for the trash cans and installed a drip irrigation system. A detailed maintenance list, included below, makes maintenance easy.

Sanoff says she is pleased with the results and the that they are saving 20% savings on their water consumption.

Now when neighbors walk by and comment on their landscape, she offers them encouragement. “I tell them ‘you can do this too,’” she said.

The couple removed the parkway in February 2015, stopped watering the front lawn in June and planted the new yard in November. They received a turf rebate of $3,500 and invested $9,000 more.

See how the front yard evolved over time and what it looks like today:

September 2014

The front yard before

The original front yard was simple, consisting of turf, agapanthus and roses.

(Linda Sanoff)

September 2014

The parkway before

The Sanoffs started their turf removal process with the parking strip. After their gardener dug up the long, narrow strip of grass, they planted Dymondia margaretae.

(Linda Sanoff)

February 2015

The parkway in transition

The South African ground cover Dymondia margaretae (silver carpet) begins to fill in on the parking strip.

(Linda Sanoff )

June 2015

The front lawn before

The 1926 Mediterranean home was bound by a traditional — and thirsty — lawn. The Sanoffs stopped watering the lawn and let it die over four months. They skipped weed killer and had their gardener dig up the dead lawn, along with 6 inches of soil before installing the new plants.

(Linda Sanoff)

November 2015

Newly planted …

Among the new items: rock roses, Echeveria elegans, tall Euphorbia wulfenii, pyramid-shaped juniper “Medora,” white trailing lantana, English lavender and walking Iris.

( Linda Sanoff)
(Linda Sanoff)

June 2016

Growing in, seven months later

The garden is looking lush seven months later.

(Linda Sanoff)
(Linda Sanoff)

Drought-tolerant plants that will look great in your garden! »

April 2017

The front yard in the spring

Following record winter rain in Southern California, the garden is alive with a variety of blooms, shapes and textures.

(Linda Sanoff )
(Michael Krichmann)
(Linda Sanoff )

May 2017

The front yard today

The former front lawn and parking strip today, after Sanoff trimmed the Euphorbia wulfenii per Kirchmann’s maintenance plan, shown below.

(Linda Sanoff)
(Linda Sanoff)

Inspiration — and tips — for drought gardening »

Plant list and maintenance tips from Michael Kirchmann Jr.:

Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’: Remove dead leaves underneath as they brown. If the plant gets too tall, cut stalk, let stalk get hard at the end after about one week, put plant back in ground.

Agave attenuata ‘Ray of Light’: Remove dead leaves underneath the main clump. Remove any pups from the stalk. Each agave should be a stand-alone specimen.

Cistus ‘Sunset’: Cut back and shape as needed. Do not let plant get rangy.

Echeveria elegans: Cut back bloom stalks when finished. Remove dead leaves underneath as they brown.

Euphorbia wulfenii: Cut back bloom stalks as close to the clump as possible. Usually in late spring/early summer.

Juniper ‘Medora’: Trim and shape as needed to keep the pyramid shape.

Lantana ‘Trailing White’: Cut back by one-third after the bloom cycle. The plant should have a trailing look, but not get too rangy.

Lavandula stoechas: Cut back by one-third after each bloom cycle to keep the plant full. Trim back to a roundish shape, but not a tight ball shape.

Neomarica caerulea ‘Walking Iris’: Cut out bloom stalks after the flower is finished. Remove any yellow or dead leaves.

Olea ‘Little Ollie’: Trim and shape the dwarf olive as needed, cut to desired height.

Pennisetum orientale Chinese Fountain Grass: Cut back entire plant to about two inches or so above the main clump in winter to refresh the plant.

Pittosporum crassifolium ‘Compactum’: Cut back as needed to shape for desired height and fullness.

Teucrium chamaedrys: Cut back bloom stalks after they finish flowering. Cut back as needed to shape for desired height and fullness.

Westringia fruticosa ‘Morning Light’: Cut back as needed to shape for desired height and fullness.

If you’ve given your yard a makeover, we want to see it, and may feature it in an upcoming edition of the Saturday section. Please send before and after pictures to, and include a day-time contact number.

Twitter: @lisaboone19

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Fifty years on, San Francisco’s Summer of Love has become a glossy flashback to the time young people came to the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to start a cultural revolution.

A new kind of flower power tribute begins Wednesday in Golden Gate Park when the plain white Conservatory of Flowers will be bathed in lights featuring boldly colored spinning flower mandalas, animated butterflies and other designs and shapes.

The nonprofit group Illuminate, which supports projects such as the Bay Bridge illumination that began in 2014, partnered with light-based art pros at Obscura Digital to transform the 1879 building.

The show is free and open to the public from sundown to midnight starting Wednesday and continuing until Aug. 21.

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Some people describe the French-Canadian city of Quebec as “France without the attitude.” Others laud it for its scenery and excellent cuisine.

All those attributes contribute to its popularity with cruise passengers, especially during the prime fall color cruise season, when it is a highlight of Canada-New England cruise itineraries.

Now the city and port of Quebec are working hard to improve the first impression it offers cruise passengers.

Last week, port officials dedicated a $30-million new park, created from an old parking lot, that will greet arriving passengers. In addition, the city plans other waterfront enhancements, including a promenade.

The park, called Place des Canotiers (Boaters Park), is in Old Quebec between Rue Dalhousie and the St. Lawrence River. It is one of the largest public spaces in the city and includes green spaces, benches, an art installation, restrooms and a bike path.

Designed to highlight Quebec’s maritime history, it also offers an observation deck with views of the city skyline, cruise ships and historic Hotel Chateau Frontenac.

Quebec Mayor Regis Labeaume said local residents disliked offering visitors a parking lot to look at when they arrive, preferring that they see a garden instead.

More than 150,000 cruise passengers visit Quebec annually, on 122 ships, with the majority arriving during the fall season. A 30% increase in passengers is predicted for 2017.

The city of Quebec plans on expanding the waterfront promenade for about 15 miles, starting from the Quebec Bridge. In addition, the Port of Quebec is expanding its facilities to accommodate larger ships and a new dock, across the river in Levis, as was announced recently.


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When the Ramadan fast ended for the day around 9:30 p.m., Muslim men packed into Cafe Salaam on Rock Street to eat.

A group of Algerians hung outside chatting in Arabic, sipping coffee and exchanging animated stories about what went down the night before.

A man had driven a rental van into a crowd of worshipers near a mosque in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood early Monday, injuring 11 people and leaving one man dead, perhaps from natural causes. A suspect, identified by British media as Darren Osborne of Cardiff, Wales, was handed over to police, who charged him with attempted murder and other crimes.

While the driver appears to have deliberately targeted Muslims, the men at the cafe said this was not a place, or a city, where they felt unsafe or targeted. And the response from the wider community has lifted their spirits.

“I feel that people were with us today, they feel sorry, they’re trying to help,” said Adam Ayman, 30. “We have been fasting and people were bringing us water and asking if we need something. When you see that, that’s the moment you see the community you live in. It feels very good and I appreciated each person. I hope I can do the same to them.”

Reports of Islamophobic attacks have surged in Britain in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks in the last two months, which killed 22 and eight people respectively, and injured dozens more. The militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for both.

But as the police barricade was lifted on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park, streams of people carrying roses walked to the Muslim Welfare House, the mosque and community center near the site of the attack. Several hundred people — different ages, races, religions — stood in the street at a vigil organized by the mosque to honor the victims.

Some held signs reading “Love Will Win” and “United Against All Terror.”

“We’re in a situation in the U.K. where you’ve got a concatenation of violence … and [a] very febrile social and political situation that could lead to more violence,” said Raffaello Pantucci, the director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute. “I think the majority of people in the U.K. don’t want to see the social tensions that groups in the extreme right or Islamists want to tear our society apart.”

The choice of Finsbury Park for the attack, widely thought to have been in retaliation for recent attacks in London carried out in the name of Islam, has perhaps not surprised locals who are aware of the area’s notorious past.

It was where the radical preacher Abu Hamza, with his distinctive hook for a right hand, once made a name for himself, seizing control over the Finsbury Park mosque in the late 1990s and delivering inflammatory sermons — initially in the building, and later on the sidewalk outside when authorities raided and shut down the mosque in 2003.

“The mosque was a prominent place in Europe for all jihadis, where you could go and rest and recuperate,” said Pantucci. “Look back at the Guantanamo documents and see people referring to it as a place they knew about. It was always known as a place that was a source of problems, and everyone knew about it.”

The Egyptian-born Abu Hamza was eventually arrested and found guilty of inciting violence by a British court in 2006 and sentenced to seven years in prison. In 2014, he was extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges, for which he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

That troubled legacy is now in the past as the result of a massive collaborative effort between a diverse partnership: the new mosque’s trustees; the Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is the local member of Parliament; other faith leaders; and a unit within the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit.

Daily prayers are back at capacity, with up to 2,000 worshipers at a time.

The chairman of the mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, said the biggest challenge was rebuilding trust, both among Muslims who had abandoned the place and with the larger community.

“This was a big challenge for us and we worked hard,” he said. “We can see now we have the trust of the community and people can see that the mosque is completely different than it was before…. This gives us the strength to keep going to do things right and make sure our community are looked after by us.”

As a result of these efforts, it did not take long for both this North London neighborhood, and the wider city, to reject the narrative that the attack was somehow different from other recent incidents on London Bridge and Westminster Bridge and in Manchester.

To them it was simply terrorism. Any other description shows a lack of understanding of what Finsbury Park is today, residents say.

Outside the mosque, a sign was placed against the wall on behalf of locals. It read: “We stand by you. We are shocked and saddened with you. We won’t let this hatred divide us. We need you in Finsbury Park.”

Like much of London, Finsbury Park is a rapidly gentrifying area. Kebab houses and Arabic cafes sit alongside artisan coffee shops and boutiques.

But those who live here tell of street parties, communal barbecues and recipe swapping with residents of all religions and backgrounds.

This is not a neighborhood fraught with tensions. Nor is it a “melting pot,” some residents say.

“That tends to suggest that the ingredients are all thrown in together and aren’t mixing well,” said Simon Sampson, 46, who lives a few doors from Finsbury Park mosque. “We choose to be here, We haven’t been chucked in the pot by some other force.”

Sampson said he came close to tears Monday when he stepped outside his door and saw the vigil.

“This is a tight-knit community,” he said. “Since we have been here, we couldn’t ask for better neighbors. It’s very diverse, very cohesive. It’s really live and let live and everyone respects each other.”

When Phabian Adams heard the sirens and a police helicopter hovering low overhead in the early hours of Monday, her first thought was that a thief was on the loose.

Terrorism did not cross her mind.

Sitting on her stoop beside her two children the next day, Adams marveled at the scene down the road, where the world’s media had gathered along with countless police, spectators and others.

But her overriding feeling was one of anger that the community she has lived in for most of her 35 years was targeted.

“I was quite aggrieved,” she said. “We have worked so hard to be a community. We have street parties and everyone comes out with food, to talk and celebrate. Our communities are integrated.”

Once the camera crews have left and life returns to normal, Adams predicts, the solidarity will continue.

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A Highland Park man is facing charges of not only trafficking drugs out of his home, but doing so while running an unlicensed day care center, federal and civil documents show.

In a federal complaint, Felipe Talamante, 48, is accused of trying to sell 20 kilograms of cocaine “direct from Mexico” to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent on May 25, court records show.

Talamante boasted to a confidential informant that he had 20 kilograms of cocaine worth about $430,000 ready to sell, the criminal complaint shows. The informant then allegedly connected Talamante with the undercover agent.

When the men met to make the sale on May 25, authorities noticed that several children were playing in the front yard, documents show. One 2-year-old child was picked up from the home while the drug order was being placed, and officers conducting surveillance “observed children of all ages being picked up and dropped off at Felipe’s residence,” the criminal complaint said.

A child’s mattress was found in the same room as the cocaine, and children were seen playing on the patio during drug deals, authorities said.

Federal agents arrested Talamante on suspicion of being in possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He’s scheduled to be arraigned July 16, his attorney said. He’s being held in federal custody.

Talamante’s home, meanwhile, is subject to civil action.

On Monday, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office announced it had filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against Talamante’s property. The lawsuit asks a judge to declare the property a public nuisance and to take it away from Talamante, who could then be banned from the property for a year.

The lawsuit also seeks to keep Talamante from operating any day care center in the city and force him to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. The property would then be sold at auction with the proceeds going toward rehabilitating the location.

Police had previously arrested Talamante at the same home in 2015 — also for possessing 20 kilograms of cocaine, according to the city attorney’s office.

“The rampant drug activity we allege at this home is a dangerous blight on the community — and especially alarming because little kids are caught up in the middle of it. Imagine if your children were being cared for in the same house where cocaine was being sold,” City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement. “My office will do everything in our power to shut down what we allege is an incredibly toxic combination of illegal drugs and day care.”

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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A major highway and entrance to Yosemite National Park reopened late Saturday, nearly a week after a massive rockfall buried the road.

“We do not see any other movement at this time,” said Jamie Richards, a park spokeswoman. “Everything should be very stable.”

El Portal Road, which is a continuation of Highway 140, had been closed since June 12 when park officials said 4,000 tons of rocks slid off a cliff and damaged a 100-foot section of the roadway.

The rocks detached from a point halfway up the “Parkline Slab” cliff, struck a ledge and broke into pieces.

About a third of the material piled onto El Portal Road, covering it in 15 to 20 feet of rock. One of the boulders that fell on the highway was estimated to weigh 130 tons.

Road crews had been working all week to clear rock and debris from the roadway, Richards said.

Workers removed the marred pavement and replaced it with gravel and dirt, she said. Cones were placed along the damaged rock wall.

Geologists actively monitor the rock walls and hillsides throughout the park, Richards said

“Sometimes we can predict when and where there might be a trigger; other times we can’t,” she said.

Twitter: VeronicaRochaLA

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A 26-year-old woman has died after falling into a creek in Sequoia National Park, the third drowning in the park this year, authorities said Sunday.

The incident occurred Saturday evening when the woman fell into Silliman Creek near the Twin Lakes Trail and was subsequently swept downstream, according to the National Park Service.

The woman’s identity has not been released.

Record high temperatures in the region coupled with rapidly melting snow in mountain areas is causing swift, cold and dangerous river conditions, park officials warned.

“River crossings fluctuate with temperature and time of day,” U.S. Park Ranger Leah Tobin said in a prepared statement. “Just because you are able to cross in the morning, does not mean the same crossing will be at the same level when you come back in the afternoon.”

Saturday’s drowning was the third in the park this year.

On April 21, a 21-year-old Tulare woman died after she fell into the Kaweah River and was swept away. In a separate incident eight days earlier, a woman drowned when she slipped and fell into the Tule River.

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It could get a little toasty for a couple of thousand people expected to turn out Saturday at the recently dedicated Los Angeles State Historic Park for a mass meditation.

Temperatures in the downtown area will reach the mid-80s, said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. At least 2,200 people are expected to turn out for the Mass Meditation Initiative, presented by DisclosureFest and California State Parks.

The free event, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., is to feature internationally renowned speakers, workshop leaders, yoga teachers, sound healers and live music. The mass meditation is set to take place at 2 p.m.

“I don’t think mid-80s is very hot, but it’s all relative to the person,” Bartling said. “People can bring umbrellas.”

Forecasters said temperatures will be in the 70s along the coast, while coastal valleys will see the mid- to upper 80s and valleys will hit the upper 80s and 90s. Antelope Valley will see temperatures over 100 and possibly up to 108, Bartling said.

Higher temperatures are anticipated next week. Inland areas will see triple-digit temperatures on Monday, lasting through Wednesday, forecasters said. In some cases, they said, heat records are likely to be broken.

A dry high-pressure system centered over Arizona and the Southwest is to blame for the hot days ahead, forecasters said.

Desert and mountain communities will take most of the hit when it comes to the heat. Temperatures are expected to hover between 120 and 122 degrees early next week in the Coachella Valley and deserts in San Diego County.

Most cities in Los Angeles County will are expected to get 90-degree weather, while the desert communities in the Antelope Valley could see temperatures reach up to 110 degrees.

Twitter: @Brittny_Mejia


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A gunman who wounded a Los Angeles police officer and K-9 during an exchange of gunfire Thursday night has been captured, authorities said.

The suspected shooter, whom officials did not immediately identify, was arrested about midnight, said LAPD spokesman Officer Tony Im.

One officer was shot in the elbow and the K-9 was wounded, authorities said. One bullet struck another officer’s tactical helmet but did not injure the officer, Im said. The suspect was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, among other charges.

The arrest concluded an intensive search after police reported being fired upon about 7 p.m. at San Pedro and 49th Streets, on the western edge of the South Park Recreation Center, Im said.

At least 13 officers were involved in the incident, with some returning fire on the gunman.

Just before the violence erupted, a group of children were playing soccer in the park, which has a pool, baseball diamond and tennis courts.

The burst of gunfire brought the game to a halt, and families and children ran for cover.

One woman ran toward the shooting, yelling, “Where’s my son? Where’s my son?”

Gregorio Garcia was with his wife, daughter and three sons, and when he heard the shots he threw himself and his family to the ground.

“This area is hot,” said Janet Aguilar, who was inside her car and lives nearby. “A lot of stuff going on like shootings. I don’t think I’ll bring [my kids] back for soccer practice.”

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

Twitter: @MattHjourno

Twitter: @leilamillersays

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A man armed with a rifle fired several rounds toward police Thursday night near a park in South Los Angeles, authorities said.

Officers in the area reported they were fired upon about 7 p.m. at San Pedro and 49th streets, on the western edge of the South Park Recreation Center, said Officer Tony Im, an LAPD spokesman.

Police set up a perimeter in the neighborhood to search for the gunman, who was described as an adult Latino male wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.

No injuries were reported, Im said.

Earlier in the evening, a group of children were playing soccer in the park, which has a pool, baseball diamond and tennis courts.

The burst of gunfire brought the game to a halt, and families and children ran for cover.

One woman ran toward the shooting, yelling, “Where’s my son? Where’s my son?”

Gregorio Garcia was with his wife, daughter and three sons, and when he heard the shots, he threw himself and his family to the ground.

“This area is hot,” said Janet Aguilar, who was inside her car and lives nearby. “A lot of stuff going on like shootings. I don’t think I’ll bring [my kids] back for soccer practice.”

As the sun set, more police descended on the neighborhood and at least one helicopter circled overhead.

Twitter: @leilamillersays

Twitter: @MattHjourno

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