Not being a big fan of xeriscaping (I much prefer English cottage gardens), but wanting to seriously reduce my outdoor landscape watering, I discovered a wonderful source of free mulch through the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation's Lopez Canyon Environmental Center located at 11950 Lopez Canyon Road, at the east end of Paxton Street, off the 210 Freeway in Lake View Terrace.

For more information, log on to lacitysan.org/srpcd/MC_lopezCanyon.htm. There you’ll find information on the entire process with a link to the 11 locations where people can pick up as much free mulch as they can haul away.

You do not have to be a resident of the city of Los Angeles to load it up. On my first trip there, I saw folks ranging from a fellow with an open-bed pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer with at least 20 large trash cans to a lovely senior lady filling up a small trash bag with her bare hands. Trust me on this one, the mulch is every bit as good as anything you'll find commercially available, and it's free!

Don Gross
La Cañada Flintridge