Sunday, January 1, 2012

The value of water

It goes without saying that gardens of all kinds need water in order to flourish. Even 'dry' gardens need some. This time of year we aren't normally thinking about watering our gardens, letting Mother Nature take care of that. However, when we hit a prolonged dry spell like we're in, we need to take up the slack. Here are two things about watering you may not be aware of.
Tip 1. Watering your annuals and deciduous perennials past their usual season will actually prolong their life, sometime for up to two months. I discovered this quite by accident but now choose on occasion to extend certain plants' lives or stave off their dormancy.
Tip 2. This tip may fall under the heading of 'duh' but spring blooming bulbs are triggered to send up shoots by winter rains (and of course warming temperatures in some cases). In a dry winter, I've discovered I need to take up the slack for the absence of rain. This means watering the bare ground under which the bulbs are nestled. Using bark mulch on top of these beds will help to avoid soil runoff. Think of yourself as "Mother's" little helper.
What's up in your garden? I have the first Dutch iris, sparaxis, freesias and ixias, as well as the reliable ipheions and snowdrops. And just today I saw the first crocus poking their heads up!

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