GBDW – Water-Wise Gardening Wrap-Up

– Posted in: Garden Design

soil-cracking-april-28-091

So, it’s been a little dry here in Pennsylvania. Well, it’s not really as bad as it looks; my soil frequently cracks like that until I’ve worked on building up the organic matter for a few years. But still, after weeks of cool temperatures and rain every other day, dealing with a week of summer-like heat and no rain is pretty tough on the garden, and the gardener, too. If I hear one more person raving about the supposedly wonderful weather we’ve been having, I’m going to get a little cranky. Ever since I read somewhere the thought that “The next drought starts with the first rainless day” (or something along that line), I almost dread the forecast of “nice” weather.

Well, whether you have to cope with too much rain or too little rain in your own garden, you’ll find something of interest in this month’s contributions for the topic of water-wise gardening. Here’s the list of contributors:

Garden Bloggers Design Workshop – Water-Wise Gardening (Nan at Gardening Gone Wild): Kick-off post for this month’s topic.

World Water Day (VP at Veg Plotting): In honor of World Water Day, which was on March 22, Veep shared an excellent tip for getting water right where it’s needed in the garden.

Water Conservation (David at Montana Wildlife Gardener): This one link leads you to a number of great water-related posts at David’s blog. Learn how to build, install, and make the most of rain barrels in your garden; why and how to get rid of unneeded lawn; and much more!

Mother Nature Throws a Wet Tantrum (Jodi at Bloomingwriter): As Jodi points out, having too much water can be just as problematic as having too little.

Drip Irrigation: Common Sense Watering (Fran at Gardening Gone Wild): Fran’s post on the many benefits of watering by drip irrigation sparked some interesting comments from our readers, as well.

Canna & Fuchsia Graywater Planter (Ryan at DryStoneGarden): Using graywater in the garden isn’t something I’d thought of when I originally proposed this topic, but I’m glad someone brought it up. Ryan discusses uses a simple system for using washing-machine water to irrigate a container planting.

Water Management (Joco at Comments): Jo gardens on sand and has high-chlorine tapwater, so collecting as much rainwater as possible and distributing it effectively during dry spells are serious garden priorities.

GGW Design Workshop: Water-Wise Gardening (Rose at Ramble on Rose): Championing the angle of selecting native plants for their ability to tolerate regional rainfall patterns without liquid life support, Rose discusses some of her strategies for her Midwestern garden.

The Sunny Woodland (Frances at Fairegarden): What do you do if you’ve carefully chosen plants to suit your site, and then your site changes? Frances proves that, with dedication and ingenuity, even a challenge like this can be faced and – hopefully – conquered.

Making a Dry Creek Bed for Downspout Drainage (Dave at The Home Garden): Dave offers a quick and simple project for dealing with rainwater runoff from house gutters.

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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our friend Ben April 29, 2009, 10:02 am

I’m with you, Nan! As you know, I have no heat tolerance at all, and our delightful 100-degree weather coincided with massive planting, weeding, designing, and watering efforts here, which meant that I’ve had heat stroke every day. Thank God for cooler weather today! But… they said it would rain! Liars!!! Now I have to haul all those milk jugs full of water to the back of the property again…

I know – can you believe that huge band of rain just disappeared when it got to us? How unfair! Well, hopefully tomorrow night. And yes, the cooler weather and clouds are a blessing, anyway.
-Nan

Gail April 29, 2009, 10:57 am

I thought for a minute there that you had sneaked down here and snapped a photo of clay and limestone’s soil! Here in the south we have to renew the soil yearly! Loved this series…gail

Ah, yeah – we have a little clay up here too! On the plus side, when we do get some water, the cracks let it get down to the root zone quickly.
-Nan

healingmagichands April 29, 2009, 12:11 pm

You are so right about the people talking about “Nice” weather. Our local news is particularly egregious about that. A few years ago when the Midwest was suffering from a huge bad drought (when cattle ranchers in Texas were getting rid of their whole herds because there was NO water) and all the farmers in the area were looking at losing their entire crops, the news anchors were raving about the beautiful weather that was coming for the weekend blahdeblahblah. I send them an email reminding them that we were in a drought and all the rainless days were not really a benefit. I guess I wasn’t the only one who complained, because suddenly the next day they realized that we were having a drought.

We are using our ancient aquifers up, and weather patterns are changing and that is why it is so critically important that we all learn to conserve and treasure this precious resource. The garden is the first place to start, and that is why my newest addition to the landscape is planned as a xeriscape. Well, except for the blueberries. . .

Oh yes, if only the forecasters wouldn’t put value judgements on the weather. Tell us it’s going to be sunny, or rainy, or whatever: not that it’s “perfect” or “awful”!
-Nan

Mr. McGregor's Daughter April 29, 2009, 6:12 pm

Oh, dear, I wanted to do a post for this & planned to do it about my new rainbarrel. I guess I haven’t been able to keep up with things lately. I’m going to do the post anyway.

It’s never to late, MMD; just come back and leave a link here, if you’d be so kind.
-Nan