In response to D.E. Holt (Forum, July 24), it is truly sad that someone who lives in the most beautiful state in the nation cannot see anything of our native flora except "sagebrush, orchard grasses and weeds."
Next time you are camping, picnicking, fishing or hunting in your great state, spend a little time examining the landscape from a gardener's point of view. Utah is home to over 3,000 species of trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers of every color. (Nothing you buy in a nursery can rival the electric blue of penstemon.) Many of them have a potential place in the cultivated garden. All of them are well adapted to our arid climate.Xeriscaping (landscaping for water conservation) involves a variety of techniques to reduce water use. One technique is a reduction or elimination of traditional grasses with high water requirements. This need not mean covering the whole yard with pink gravel. Lawn can be partially or completely replaced with a combination of native grasses or, ground covers, drought-resistant shrubs and wildflowers, rocks, gravel, bark mulch . . . your imagination is the limit.
Rather than being a sacrifice, such changes actually provide more creative opportunities for the home gardener. As you point out, trees provide shade and aid in keeping homes cool in the summer. In an area such as the Wasatch Front, trees serve an integral part of xeriscaping, if they are drought-resistant species.
Mr. Holt, you state that our elected officials should be responsible for making sure we all have plenty of water. Isn't it time we stopped expecting the government to solve all of our problems? Our water conservation efforts must move beyond digging deeper wells and building more dams. Sooner or later, we are all going to have to look at water consumption and admit that much of this resource is used frivolously. Everyone should share the responsibility of conserving water.