What if we had a drought and the lawn didn’t notice?
Because of the continuing drought, gardeners in the Denver metro area will have twice-a-week lawn watering restrictions starting April 1–no fooling.
Along with these restrictions will be higher water bills for using more water on other parts of the landscape, too.
I remember the summer of 2002 and how difficult it was to keep the garden going with limited irrigation. It was fortunate I had already removed a good deal of lawn the summer before, replacing with low-water perennial flowers, shrubs and bulbs.
I’ve dusted off some of the water conservation tactics I used the last time we had Stage 2 drought restrictions and plan to rely on them again this summer. Here are some of my top tips for gardening in a drought:
Happy Fourth Anniversary to WesternGardeners.com!
I wrote a short post about the predicted drought conditions in the West, with the headline: Warmer, Drier Forecast is Daunting!
It seems like I could have written that headline yesterday, too.
Over the last four years I’ve written a lot about conserving water in our landscapes from planting water-wise flowers, trees and shrubs, to ways to use water more efficiently in the garden.
Those tips are even more relevant today.
Of the 449 posts I’ve written, I’ve been surprised by the one that’s been most popular: my simple recipe for Pickled Jalapeno Peppers. That one post continues to draw hundreds of gardeners looking for ways to use their home-grown jalapenos.
Today’s post is from Deb Courtner, a landscape designer, garden writer and speaker who creates low-maintenance landscapes for busy homeowners. She owns and operates Blossoms & Blueprints, LLC, a landscape design and consulting firm in Denver, Colo. She also shares this image of “creative bindweed use.” Visit her blog for more helpful landscaping tips.
Summertiiiiime and the livin’ is crazy . . . forest fires, Stage 1 drought, weeds galore, plants wilting left and right.
What’s a gardener to do?
These tips may help you cope with hot, dry weather:
Go long on grass. If you have Kentucky bluegrass, don’t mow your lawn any lower than 3 inches. Taller grass blades shade the soil and help conserve moisture. They also reduce weeds.
Now’s the time to start planning for ways to conserve water in your garden.
One of the most sobering facts I learned during my master gardener training is that there will always be a drought somewhere in Colorado.
In 2002 that hard fact struck home as gardeners coped with one of the most severe droughts on record.
The outdoor watering restrictions implemented that summer made me consider every drop of water I used on the lawn in the flowerbeds and vegetable garden, too.
Many of my favorite landscape plants didn’t make it through that summer. Others simply disappeared over the equally dry winter.
But those plants that remained, like Rocky Mountain penstemon, were the hardiest of the hardy. And I plant more like them every year.
My “Best Of” gardening selection at the 2012 ProGreen industry tradeshow is a new portable drip irrigation system called Watering Rocks.
Each Watering Rock is a self-contained drip irrigation system. Just place the rock in a part of the garden that’s difficult to water and fill the container with water.
Water will slowly seep from the rock into drip lines and adjustable drippers to water plants deeply. Watering Rocks are available in one-gallon, two-gallon and five-gallon sizes.
Gardeners fill the Watering Rocks by placing a hose in the holes at the top of the rock or they can connect an existing drip irrigation system for automatic filling. The amount of water can be adjusted to match plant needs.
Another handy feature is that liquid or soluble plant food can be added to the water for automatic fertilizing, too.
WesternGardeners.com welcomes our newest advertiser: Flxx Rainwater Harvesting Systems and Equipment located in Boulder. Flxx serves rural Colorado, and nearby states, providing complete rainwater harvesting solutions from design to installation. (Photos provided by Flxx Rainwater.)
Now, some rural Coloradans are allowed to lawfully capture and store rainwater on their property.
Legislative changes created the opportunity for rural residents to capture and use rainwater that flows off their rooftops.
However, residents who get their water from a municipality or water district are still prohibited from collecting rainwater in Colorado.
Harvesting rainwater is a sustainable option to letting rain simply slip away. Green-minded Coloradans can now catch it, store it and use it.
Today’s Workshop Wednesday features Victoria lilies and how to grow these giants of the water garden.
With a leaf up to 8 feet in diameter and flowers as big as platters, the Victoria is no shrinking violet.
“It is something that touches every sense and everyone has a reason to find it fascinating,” says Nancy Styler, founder and co-director of the Victoria Conservancy, a nonprofit branch of the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society.
Working together with her husband, Trey, the Conservancy provides Victoria waterlilies for the Denver Botanic Gardens, The Hudson Gardens, Denver University and other water gardens around the world.
Named for Queen Victoria, these giant water lilies are known for their large, round floating leaves and their beautiful oversize flowers.
A new PBS television series is set to premiere in major markets on Saturday, May 15. Growing a Greener World is what happens when you combine one part eco-friendly living with one part gardening know-how and then mix in recipes for cooking up the harvest.
This new show is hosted by Joe Gardener (Joe Lamp’l) and Garden Girl Patti Moreno with help from celebrity chef Nathan Lyon.
I think it’s the right show at the right time for the right audience.
I met both Joe and Patti at a symposium last September and have a feeling they’re going to be terrific, down-to-earth hosts for this series.
Earth Day is a good time to rethink lawn and garden practices and find ways to make sure your landscape is as green as it looks.
It would seem that green and gardening go together naturally, but that isn’t always the case. Most lawns are kept green and weed free with synthetic fertilizers and toxic herbicides, bags of grass clippings and garden waste head for the landfill and over-watering is all too common.
Do you have a sustainable landscape that uses natural resources wisely? Do you use practices to eliminate soil and water pollution? Are you working to reduce waste?
Earth Day is the ideal time to take a close look at all our gardening practices to make sure each one is promoting the long-term well being of the environment.
For several years, I’ve been trying to follow the lead of the landscape industry and working toward “zero-waste gardening” in my own backyard.
Trees aren’t the first things you think of when you think about New Mexico, but Albuquerque’s urban forest is a important environmental tool.
Nick Kuhn, city forester, was one of the speakers at the New Mexico Xeriscape and Water Conservation Conference in Albuquerque last month. I guess it never occurred to me that cities in the southwest would need foresters, but by the time Nick finished his talk, I was a believer.
Nick explained that even the southwest needs an urban forest and street trees are valuable “solar-powered environmental tools.” Each tree is a natural resource for economic, social and environmental benefits.
However, in the city of Albuquerque many residents have stopped thinking of trees as an important part of the ecosystem equation. With water at a premium, and a big push to conserve it, many think that a treeless yard saves water. But nothing could be farther from the truth.