Water and Gardening go Hand in Hand

I woke up Wednesday morning to a slow and gentle rain; the kind that makes gardeners smile.IMG_1609

Water from Wednesday’s rain collected in my stock tank.

When it comes to July & August, Texas is a cooker.  I feel fortunate I live in east Texas versus central Texas where I lived previously.  On the whole, Central Texas has always been hotter and drier than east Texas. This year was no exception.

This summer, Central Texas experienced several over 100-degrees F (38 degrees Celsius) days, some of which were record breakers.  In contrast, my little town has yet to break 100 F/38 C.  We’ve also seen far more rain than Central Texas.

For most of July, I watered the in-ground plants every 4 days, and the potted plants get a daily drink.  Watering everything can take a couple of hours, so I work to get it done in the early morning when it’s cool, and of course, any drops of rain are deeply appreciated at this time of year.

I water by hand using a garden hose.  I’d love to know how you water.  Is your water costly? Does your area suffer from droughts and if it does, do you do anything special at those times?

Water can be expensive in Texas depending upon where you live.  There have been private corporations that purchased the water sources for small towns and subsequently increased the prices to outrageous levels.

That’s not happened here, thank goodness.

Apparently, our town wants to conduct a rate study for water and would like to install new water meters. Does this mean our water bills will rise?  Maybe.

Related to the water meters, I came across this fake news article that made me chuckle. I thought you might find it funny too.

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Newly planted (June) Globe Thistle, Echinops Ritro, in mulch.

Most of my in-ground plants are mulched with wood chips.  Some may not need as much mulch once established.

From time to time, I read plant articles from other areas of the U.S. with a negative bent given to mulch. Yes, mulch can be ugly, but I believe it is almost essential for healthy plants in Texas.  I’m guessing other areas of the U.S. get more water than Texas, and their hot temperatures aren’t as extreme and don’t last as long.

All of this post is to say, I think as gardeners it’s important to look at how much water we use and to find clever ways to reduce our water consumption or waste when possible.   I do believe in climate change, and I think water will only become more valuable as time goes by.

Finally, unrelated to water, my Kolstad Inn neighbors gifted me all of their concrete stepping stones, which they plan to replace with flagstone.  I was very happy to get them, and I believe I can use them all.

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Above: Stepping stones from my neighbors at the Kolstad Inn.

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Above: A few stepping stones put into place.

I’d love to add black Mexican beach pebbles around the stepping stones, but they don’t sell them here or in Tyler, TX, our closest big city.  In fact, when I called a Tyler, TX gravel yard to inquire about them, the guy said, “No, we don’t have them.  They cost too much.”  Bummer!

Happy Blogging!

 

Black Friday Rain

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Two and a half inches of rain in the dog’s food bowl above.

Is it going to rain?  I rarely cared before I was a gardener.  Yeah, I guess it was important if I was driving, but I didn’t really CARE.  So it rained or it didn’t rain.  So what?

But these days: I check the forecast religiously.  Rain?  Any rain?  How much?  Lightning with that rain?  How about hail?

THEY are never right.  “THEY” are our holiest of holy weather forecasters-prognosticators-predictionists a.k.a. the schmoozers who rake in “as much as $136,120 per year, or $65.44 per hour, as of May 2011” just for GUESSING.  Source:  http://work.chron.com/much-money-meteorologists-earn-8291.html

That salary is from 5 years ago.

Can we hold the water prophets’ feet to the fire? A bonfire for being WRONG?  No?  How about holding ‘em up to the sun?  No?

So anyway, when the summer is over, I feel it’s my right to no longer have to schlep water to each and every plant.  Everyone gets a vacation, so should I.  It should rain, preferably once a week, but if that’s not possible then at least every 10 days.  Is that asking too much?  I don’t thinks so.

But the weather forecasters, who hold the sky in the palm of their hand, won’t cooperate. (I must blame someone for the lack of predictable rain, and anyway on their salary paid for guessing, they’re probably out buying BMW’s and booking their cruises to Alaska. Clearly, they don’t care.)

I say if the prognosticators forecast it’s gonna’ rain, it should RAIN, Dam_ It!  I’m tired of being played as a fool.

Take yesterday’s forecast for today.  It was supposed to start raining at 1 pm.  There was a 50% chance.  Okay.  BUT this morning, the forecast showed it wouldn’t rain until 4 pm.  Fine.  Nothing at 4.  And then at 7 pm tonight, it showed it would rain at 1 am tomorrow (Is this a shell game?), but right now it’s FINALLY drizzling at 9:15 pm.

I don’t think we should pay these weather forecasters if they can’t even get close to being right.  Not a cent. Even better, every time THEY’re wrong, the public should be awarded 100% of their pay for the day.  That would fix them!!!

By the way, do they sell rain on Black Friday?

Flag on the Play

(Boy, I learned a lot when I researched that title!)

I’ve decided to start a garden trend.  I’m not talking fairy gardens, terrariums, or succulents grown in gravel.  Oh no.  This is MUCH BIGGER!

I think classic garden design needs to be spiced up. I do.  Really.  Let’s turn garden design and designers on end.  (All of you garden designers reading this, please stand on your head, thank you.)

I plan to break the rules of the garden game.  I’ll probably be penalized by folks who stick their noses in the air.  I plan to commit the biggest and best garden foul ever.  Hah!  Take that Fine Gardening!

This is why I’ve put bright orange survey flags all over my back yard to first and foremost show how fun it can be to break rules and be wild and crazy because, frankly, those orange flags add a whole new dimension to backyard gardening.

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They are different.  Striking.  This is one of a kind garden decor, and the flags come in other colors such as fluorescent pink and gag-me-green.  Survey flags are my new winter flowers.  You can’t miss seeing their glowing beauty.  I’ll add 10 pink flamingos and a few resin skunks for a better effect.  (Please check out the skunk link.  You’ll love them.)

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Agapanthus and survey flag.

Are you behind me? Say you are!!! Dare to be different. Let’s all put orange flags and furry skunks in our garden as a symbol of solidarity.   Let your orange flag hang out, brother.

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Baby blackberry plant hanging out with a survey flag above.

Okay, of course I’m lying to you.  While I might be different, I’m not THAT different.

The mundane story behind those flags is my neighbor’s daughter will use them to identify the plants she needs to water while I’m having a peachy time in the house recovering from the **!!!!@X hip replacement.  How long will it be before I can garden again?  (Whine.) When can I lift heavy stuff? (Whine)  When can I pick something off the ground again? Waaaa!  I hate being cooped up inside the house.

Actually, I’ve begun ordering a few good books to keep me entertained such as The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World

Plus, maybe I can work on a grant application for our local animal shelter or even start on my taxes….Did I just write “start on my taxes”?–Uhhh, maybe not.