Physical Los Angeles

You know that smell

Around the grassier neighborhoods of Los Angeles, November means the unpleasant aroma of lawns being fertilized, Native Intelligence contributor Denise Hamilton writes on today's Times op-ed page. It's a rite of fall almost as pervasive as the jacarandas of late spring.

To many people, November brings the scent of fireplace logs, hot mulled cider, pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving turkeys. But I know November has arrived when I smell manure.

Each year, regular as clockwork, the gardeners of Los Angeles start spreading fertilizer on front lawns right after the trick-or-treaters put away their costumes. From Rosemead to Glendale, from Studio City to Mar Vista, the grass gets that mottled brown color and the stink of manure wafts through the air, polluting my nostrils.

In a city in which even some of the gardeners have gardeners, this phenomenon seems to cross all socioeconomic lines. With the unseasonably warm weather, the sun is really baking the crap out of the manure this year, and the fall breeze is spreading stench faster than Paris Hilton changes boyfriends. And if Beverly Hills doesn't reek of cow patties, it's probably only because the high walls provide some sort of barrier. Or maybe the wealthy can afford less stinky fertilizer. I wouldn't know.

Also from LA Observed contributors: Cari Beauchamp wishes the Times would remind people to vote on the front page, Jenny Burman suspects a cafe is coming to Magic Gas in Echo Park, and these Santa Anas are getting Veronique de Turenne up early. Also: I am quoted in a San Fernando Valley Business Journal story this week (subscribers only) about the layoffs and circulation woes at the Daily News

We Get Email: A former sales staffer at the LA Weekly says layoffs don't fit with the paper's profits.

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