Gardening, for some, has been rather difficult over the past few years, as many parts of the country are in the midst of a severe drought. Many cities have been imposing watering restrictions which make it almost impossible to keep healthy lawns and traditional gardens thriving. Many gardeners have had to renovate their gardens to make them more water efficient. If you live in an area that is going through a drought or if you just want to save water, here are some suggestions you may find quite useful.
Begin with a garden design which will minimize water usage. Plan your garden so that plants with similar water requirements are located next to each other. This will prevent wasting water. All the plants that don’t require much water can be placed on one side of the garden, and those that depend on more water can be placed on the other. Proper plant selection is also an important step when planning a garden less dependant on water.
If you still seem to need more water than you can supply to your garden, you might consider which plants you could replace with less water dependent plants. If you want a good shrub that doesn’t use up more than its share of water, try the white flowering spirea or colorful smokebush. They’re is not only tolerant of droughts, but are attractive in any garden.
If you’re trying to find flowers that will still be lush and beautiful despite the lower amounts of water, look for penstemon varieties like Garnet, Apple Blossom, Moonbeam, and Midnight. You can attract hummingbirds and butterflies with annuals such as cosmos and perennials such as yarrow. The best part about all these plants is that they don’t look rugged and withstanding, but they are. Some herbs are also tolerant of dry conditions. Rosemary, for instance, is useful in preparing meals and rarely need watering.
Preparing your garden beds with water retaining soils is critical. Sandy soils don’t retain water very well, if fact twice as much water may be necessary in order to get it to actually absorb into the roots. Conditioning the soil will help. Adding organic matter such as compost, manure or peat moss will increase the soil’s ability to retain water. This not only prevents water from escaping, but provides nutrients for your plants.
The installation of a drip irrigation system was another way to reduce the amount of water needed to fully water a garden. The great thing about these systems is that they constantly and slowly drip into the soil so there is no runoff and more water is absorbed by the plants. Traditional watering systems often will overwhelm the plants and water will seep right past.
One of my favorite drought resistant plants is Lavender. A large group of Lavender plants beautiful, and requires little water to flourish. Pineapple sage is another personal favorite. It is a tall perennial that smells vaguely of pineapple. It’s another major attracter of hummingbirds, and the leaves are also useful to add taste to drinks.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to deal with a drought and perhaps watering regulations, try some of the gardening suggestions mentioned above. Even if you’re just trying to conserve water or be generally more efficient with it, you‘ll find them useful. Difficult environmental conditions make proper garden planning essential. Knowing how to deal with them allows you to create carefree and long lasting gardens.