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Archive for July, 2015

I am going to keep pressing on this.  The drought will persist, it appears.  Today, we are getting a few sprinkles here in Seattle, but I’m sure it will NOT be a deluge at any time soon!  So, here’s a site to visit.  It’s at the University of Vermont Extension Service, which has a wonderful reputation for helping gardeners with their perennials, etc.  Dr. Perry, who put this page together, is fabulous.  When I lived in New Hampshire, he was kind of my “Gardening Guru”.  Incredibly knowledgeable!

Even though this is intended for New England, these plants all grow quite well here, and the list is a good one!-1

One of the perennials listed is rudbeckia.   Here is a description of this bright, cheery, pollinator attractant and drought resistant plant.

I know many of you are concerned about our pollinators, as well as the drought.  This hardy plant answers on both counts!

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We have struggled with water needs over the last few months in our HH garden beds and levels; we have been seeing the Environmental Group’s concerns “Living Dangerously” documentaries; we have been “enjoying” red sunsets caused by smoke from fires in Canada, mostly exacerbated by drought; and we have read articles about climate changing and global warming.  But, what can WE do about that?
Well, we CAN do our little bit.  In our apartments we are trying very hard to separate our trash, turn off lights, conserve water, etc.  But, how about in our gardens?  Are we being water conscious there?
Perhaps the next time you decide to purchase a plant for your garden, you should get one that is DROUGHT TOLERANT.  I have found a wonderful article from Washington State University Extension Service that addresses just that issue.  I will give you the link here.  It is for a PDF.  The flowering shrubs, vines and ground covers start on about page 13, but these are plants that would happily grow in your HH garden, with a lot less need for water. Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 8.22.32 AM Think seriously about the purchase of one of these next time you go to the nursery for plant replenishment!
I received an advertisement from Molbak’s this past week.  They are having a sale on “Hens & Chicks”.  They are lovely little, drought resistant plants that would love a spot in your garden!
This PDF also shares many good tips, mostly targeting large gardens…but many of the techniques can be tailored to our little beds.  Give it a try.  Read it seriously, and see if you can’t make your little piece of paradise a little less dependent on so much water!

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Succulents!  If you are concerned (which you SHOULD be) about use of water in your garden…think about planting some succulents.Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 1.55.07 PMThe picture I have here is of what I call “Hens & Chicks”.  I had these guys planted in many corners of my garden!  They were in stones, by the sides of steps, in gravel, in places where nothing else would grow.

Here is a picture of some Hens & Chicks where you can see the little chicks peeking out from within  the fleshy leaves of the mother plant.   Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 2.09.55 PMI would just gently pull these little guys out and stick their rootlets into the soil where I wanted them, and voila, before I knew it, I had a new “Hen” making her own “Chicks”!

Succulents are plants that have evolved into what is called “Xerophytic”.  What that means is that they do not need much moisture at all in order to grow.  Their roots are extremely shallow, which allows them to  take advantage of very light rainfalls.  Their leaves absorb that liquid, creating the “fleshy” leaves, the liquid of which can be drawn on during extended periods of drought.

Succulents can be indoor plants as well as outdoor plants.  They are easy to grow, because of their seemingly total disregard for water.  This makes for a GREAT (indoor OR outdoor) plant for a new gardener !

In this age of concern for use of water, there could not be a better choice!  TRY them…you’ll LIKE them!

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Almost all our problems here at the Horizon House gardens involve water…in one way or another.IMG_0371

There’s a leak creating a flood; the hose has popped rendering water unavailable; the hose nozzle is broken; a spray emits from the sprayer going in the wrong direction, creating a very wet gardener; there’s water leaking across the deck under the planters creating a slippery spot, which is NOT good in a retirement community where some folks are challenged with walking; we need more folks to water pots and planters that are not individually cared for by an assigned gardener; there is the usual vacationer who either forgets, or neglects to get their garden cared for in their absence.  The list goes on and on.  All the gardeners know JUST what I’m talking about.

So, we can’t do without it, and yet sometimes we just get too much…or we get it in the wrong place.  WATER   We can’t live without it, and sometimes we can’t live with it.  Our plants?  Well, they need it, but administered correctly!

Why do they need it?  If they don’t have it, the little rootlets will dry up, no sustenance will get to the leaves, stems and trunk, and then?  A dead plant.

Here is a wonderful site that explains all the why’s and hows of water and your plants.  It comes from the University of Arizona Extension Service.

It tells about mulch.  It tells about over, and under watering, and the effects those will have on your plants.  It explains WHERE to water, and how much.  It’s worth a visit.

WATER is SO CRITICAL to every growing thing.  Without it, our gardens would be very sad places.  There certainly are plants that don’t require very much hydration.  Those are the ones we should try to get into our gardens.  Water is something we seem to be squandering.    It is important that our families have enough drinking water…but it is also important that we have food.  Every thing we consume is loaded with water.  So, almost everything in and  on our planet needs it.  It behooves us to use it sparingly, yet in such a way that it supports life-ours AND that of our plants.

I address water in my book as well.  It appears in the calendar section as well as in numerous stories.  It’s a very important aspect of gardening.  The book also addresses snow and ice and it’s affects on your garden.  Of course, in Seattle, we are not troubled too much with ice and snow, but it’s all part of the big picture.

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