Saturday, March 28, 2009

Water - Water Everywhere

Storm coming in from the West
My yard is almost tropically lush this year. It’s tempting to run out and buy more of what’s doing great this year. Then I remember last year’s drought conditions. This year’s stars were last year’s strugglers. To have a beautiful garden year after year, you must diversify your plant material.

One year I toured a hosta garden that was serene and ordered. The next year slugs nearly wiped out all the hostas. In the fall, I count on phlox to give one last flowering color burst. I’m betting this year most will be covered with mildew. The point being, if you have a passion for only one thing, chances are you will experience an attack that could eliminate your entire garden. Same for bushes and trees.

Unless you have the paid staff the size of a botanical garden, unlimited financial resources and a private phone line to Mother Nature, your garden will have a different set of successes and failures each year.

For wet conditions, here are some suggestions:

* Construct a rock lined dry river bed to pull water away from things that are sitting in continual mud. Most of the time, it will be dry. In excessive rain, it will draw the moisture away from those plants.
* Use rain barrels to collect water for those areas that will need extra water.
* Red Twig Dogwood, hosta, Japanese and Siberian iris, bald cypress, ferns, violets, blue and black berries, sweet peas, roses, and lavender do well in moist conditions. Few non bog plants do well sitting in water continually.
* Inspect your garden daily and stop problems in the beginning.
* Encourage and nurture good insects, bats, birds and healthy plant life.

Most of all, enjoy the success of this year’s gardening circumstances. Keep the basement door open for the next tornado warning. Keep your sense of humor and perspective. As the old saying goes, “God made rainy days, so gardeners could get their other chores done.”

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