Editor’s Note: This week’s blog post is proud to feature one of our newest authors, Des McHugh, who is based in the newly-established ZL Dublin office.
Ireland. Land of milk and honey. Land of a thousand welcomes. Land of slightly more rain than Northern California.
Having recently joined ZL to set up our new Dublin office, I have had the pleasure of finally visiting California for the first time; it was hard to ignore the drought conditions that exist there which hopefully will be relieved this year with some decent winter rains. Being from Ireland, drought is rarely a problem for us in terms of weather… but believe it or not, we do experience water depletion in warm and dry summers. This is caused more by excess usage due to old and leaking infrastructure than lack of rainfall.
Years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance have led to levels of leakage volume as high as 50%. Recent economic events have resulted in the bringing in of explicit water charges for the first time for private residences, triggering quite sustained protest based on various disagreements with the concept or the implementation of the "tax." One way or another, most of the revenue received should go to making up for the years of neglect, and will hopefully bring the infrastructure up to the standard required to make water accessible to all, easily managed by the authorities, and easily scaled as real estate development progresses and evolves. Along with our rainfall we get lots of subsequent growth in our gardens during our warmer season (not warm by California standards, but at least warmer than our winters). So, as with anything, we have the choice of being reactive or proactive. Attack the overgrown garden with a big and onerous job on an irregular or infrequent basis, or gently tend to it on a weekly basis: cutting the grass, trimming the edges, pruning the foliage, regular watering (if required)… and not to mention the questionable practice of talking sweet nothings to the precious plants!
I hate gardening. So it goes without saying that I have always followed the reactive approach: the “do it when it absolutely cannot be put off anymore” big-job type scenario. However, I have recently had the fortune to completely reinstate my garden; having had builders working on an extension for my house, I took the opportunity of removing all the overgrown foliage and the moss-ridden and weed-infested grass, and laying beautiful new turf with minimalistic but appropriate plants and trees.
Whereas before I had let my garden over grow and consequently found all maintenance painful and did it on that last-minute basis (mostly prompted by my wife finally losing it with me), the beauty and cleanliness has incentivized me to have the discipline (well, mostly) to do my gardening on a proactive basis and therefore minimize the onerousness of the regular and frequent. This also has the side benefit of a beautiful looking garden; good garden governance saves me time and effort in the long run and gives my wife a beautiful view out of our back window.
Good governance saves lives… or at least makes it less likely that my wife will take mine.