COSTA MESA — A butterfly fluttered briefly above a lush red bloom bursting from atop a thorny succulent, before flying off toward dozens of other blossoms hidden in a small corner of the Orange County Fair.
Various hummingbirds and bees were attracted to the red, yellow and orange flowering plants in the Water Wise Demonstration Garden, sponsored by the Mesa Consolidated Water District.
District officials said this type of garden uses three-fourths less water than a typical lawn in water-challenged Southern California.
"The most common misconception people have about water-wise gardens is that they think of them as rock or mulch," said Barry Carlson, Mesa Water conservation and resource efficiency expert and customer service manager.
"The key with getting color in a California-friendly garden is to plant seasonally," added Carlson, who tends his own 400-square-foot, water-wise garden at home.
The fair's 1,000-square-foot garden has 15 species of plants, such as autumn sage, butterfly weed, dwarf birds of paradise and other shrubs.