January 23, 2014
Design for Drought
Algerian iris heads my garden’s bulb parade this week!
Thanks to its Mediterranean roots, dry times don’t bring on a shudder. Drought isn’t new to Texas, either. It’s just easy to forget in a rainy spell.
What’s different, climate changes aside, is that gardeners are connecting to the broader and long-term picture of water conservation. For one thing, we’re growing plants that weren’t on our radar not so long ago.
We cherish our natural gifts, instead of trying to conquer them.
We’ve swapped grass and dull hedges for the double W: wildlife and water-wise.
We’ve learned how to catch, direct, and control rainfall in rain gardens, berms and swales, barrels, and dry creeks.
In food gardens, we’re drip irrigating and adapting lawn sprinkler heads.
And exploring techniques like wicking beds, hugelkultur and ollas.
We’ve taken a cue from the past with heritage favorites that thrived when watering meant a pump, not a spigot. One of them is iris, Daphne’s Plant of the Week.
Even when not in bloom, their structural foliage is a relief from fluffier plants. Adaptable to heavy soil like mine, or rockier spots like this, they perform with minor adjustments.
One big question: How and when do we fertilize iris? Daphne recommends using a blend that’s high in phosphorous but LOW in nitrogen. Apply mid-February to March and again after flowering. Find out why.
And check out Trisha’s tips for dividing in fall, since that’s essential for more flowers, too.
For Surroundings Landscape Architect Kenneth Francis, water ethics are the starting point in designs from his New Mexico home-base, which now includes Austin (and beyond). He joins Tom to illustrate infrastructure concepts that wrangle water, regardless of style.
Kenneth explains his starting point, which you can adapt by analyzing your own house and landscape.
In one of his landscapes, this charming rill carries water to its various destinations.
This berm also acts as a privacy and sound barrier against a busy road.
And check out these solar bricks on a driveway!
In the vegetable garden, wouldn’t you love to pick your own organic asparagus? Since now’s a perfect time to plant your crowns, John Dromgoole shows how to prep and plant.
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda