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Soil & Water Management

Don't Stop Watering Now -- Trees and Shrubs

As we discussed last time, this year’s lack of consistent precipitation has put enormous stress on your lawn. But grass isn’t the only plant that suffers - Trees, shrubs and perennials feel the effects of drought too, and can react in a variety of ways.

Eight Ways To Love Fall Leaves

When we left ten days ago, our lawn looked like this:

 

When we came back, this was what our lawn looked like:  

 

and this was the neighbor’s:

 After six years I still can’t convince him that there are much better ways to get rid of fall leaves than sending them to the dump in black plastic bags. 

 

HERE COMES THE SUN

It’s hot this week — really hot.  And there isn’t a drop of rain in the forecast. After our long, relatively mild (and moist) spring, it seems summer has arrived with a vengeance. Right now, my garden still looks lush and healthy, but without the right care, it could soon become a dried out, depressing wasteland. 

No matter where you live, understanding the ins and out of watering is an important piece in maintaining a gorgeous garden throughout the summer. Over the years (which have been filled with many painful “learning opportunities”),  I have finally figured out that there is much more to watering than simply turning on a hose and pointing it at my plants.    If you stop and think about it, how much water a plant needs at any given moment depends on multiple factors:

 

Celebrating Insects

My four-year-old granddaughter sat for a good half hour the other morning completely mesmerized by a caterpillar climbing up a branch. She squealed in delight each time it inched its way up the branch, forming an arch, then straightening out.  She declared that green was her favorite color and asked if she could keep it “forever.”    

I have to admit it --  I wasn’t quite so entranced with the giant tomato hornworm crawling up my heirloom tomato plant, but her fascination and pure joy did strike a chord with me. We all need to be a bit more appreciative of the insect populations that surround us, not just the monarch butterflies and golden honeybees, but all insects -- even the tomato hornworms in our lives. The stark reality is without insects, the planet will cease to exist as we know it. 

Eight Terrific Plants for a Water-wise Garden

 

If you’re like me, there are always holes to fill in the garden  --  a bare spot here that needs to be filled or a suffering plant that needs to be put out of its misery and replaced. In the past, I tended to pop in annuals for their cheerful bursts of color. This year, after seeing the impacts of a region coping with a long-term drought, my goals for my garden have changed. Instead of being seduced by  water-guzzling beauties, I am going to search for plants that give me water-wise beauty and sustainability.

The Summer Garden

In the best of times, keeping a summer garden fresh and appealing is a challenge. This year, with half of the lower forty-eight states experiencing unusual heat patterns and moderate to severe drought, the challenges are even greater.  There are, however, environmentally friendly ways to keep your garden blooming throughout the dog days of summer. 

Lessons From the Desert: Part 3  Using Water Wisely

One of the first places to begin implementing water-wise techniques is your lawn. Ironically, , watering your lawn is an important way to conserve water. An irrigation system, when designed and installed by well-trained, knowledgeable technicians, can save the client time, effort and money all the while protecting an extremely valuable natural resource. 

Lessons from the Desert: Part 2  Know Where You Are

I added some Hens and Chicks to my succulent garden today. Pulling back an inch of gravel mulch, I nestled their roots into the soil underneath and then immediately watered them in. The whole time I worked though, my mind kept heading back to the desert, seeing the tiny Clustered Pincushion and the massive Saguaro cacti rising out of the bone dry landscape of sand and rock. On one hand, it is almost inconceivable to me that any plant life can exist at all in that harsh environment, but on the other hand, the old adage of Right Plant in the Right Place rings true.