Tag Archives: wishing wells

wishing for water

Remember wishing wells? In the early 1970s, when I first started paying close attention to gardens, every few yards would have a wishing well as an accent of the landscaping: Big lawns, lots of flowers, the wishing well, maybe even a lawn jockey. You don’t see wishing wells (or lawn jockeys) around these parts very often anymore.


The other day I was up on the roof deck, enjoying the breeze. Looking in a direction I don’t usually pay much attention to, I noticed this feature in the back yard of one of my neighbors. It’s a little hard to make out, so I’ve enhanced it a little. Hmmm. Looks like a wishing well, maybe 1970s vintage…

Jump ahead 30 years, to the more drought-conscious 21st century. Many Californians are reducing or replacing their turf. One of the ways that’s used to give some focus or structure to these de-lawned yards is to construct a dry stream bed.

(I thought it was interesting that both these yard accents are all about water. The wishing well celebrates the stuff, almost as if it’s available in a magical, never-ending supply. The stream bed is more of our time, and acknowledges that water is a resource that isn’t always plentiful and can’t be taken for granted.)


Down the street, another of my neighbors has done their own take on a dry stream bed. It has lawn along some of its length, but succulents and drought-tolerant plants the rest of the way. And in the middle of the stream…seashells. And these little yellow rubber duckies…