Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dealing with the Drought

As those of us living in California continue to have to deal with the drought, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about tips for both saving water and for using the water we do use in ways that let us get the most out of our gardens.To conserve water:
1. Mulch, mulch mulch. This not only saves water but keeps weeds in check. I even use microbark on top of my larger pots. Mke sure to replenish mulch as it thins out.
2. Plant drought tolerant plants together. I know this sounds obvious but keeping these kinds of plants together means using less water. It also means they'll do better than being mixed in with plants that need more water.
3. Drought tolerant does not just mean natives. There are many great plants -- both perennials and annuals -- that are not endemic to our state.
4. Use vertical planting. You can make better use of your "valuable" space by planting in layers. Bulbs under the ground; low growing plants above them and then taller plants tucked into the same space. Having nutritious soil allows you to keep plants close together happy.
5. Use efficient forms of watering. Avoid sprinklers or any form of watering that disperses water in the air.
6. Use a deep watering method where possible. Deep watering = deeper roots = stronger plants and plants you can water less often, saving you water and time.
7. Do a little research (or ask your local nursery) for alternatives to plants that need regular water. You'd be surprised at the range of drought tolerant plants available these days.
8. All of this having been said, don't deny yourself the pleasure of having some of your favorite plants, just because they need regular water. Find other ways to save water around and inside your house.

Okay, now the photos. I want to remind those of you relatively new to the blog that I normally only take photos of plants in my garden that I hadn't taken last week. Or the week before that. Etc. So if you enjoy the photos (or the descriptions) you might want to check out older posts.

Magnolia grandiflora. I came out this morning and saw honey bees kind of rolling around dazed in the petals of my Southern magnolia. They were after the pollen on the fallen stamen but I don't think I've ever witnessed something like this before. They were completely oblivious to me and stayed in there for a good ten minutes.

When I saw this Zinnia I thought it looked like a fireworks display so I played around with the focal point and was able to achieve a near black background, simulating a night sky.

Schizostylis is one of the least appreciated of bulbs in my opinion. I mean, look at that color. It's vigorous too. Below is a shot of my Buddleja 'CranRazz.' Love that color and of course the bees do too.

Here's a shot of a cool new Bidens, B. Hawaiian Flare Orange Drop. Lovely pattern and just as tough as other bidens.

Although I wasn't able to get this shot in perfect focus, I thought a closeup of the tiny little flowers that make up an Eriogonum giganteum was an interesting shot. Flowers such as these, and the even tinier flowers on Ampelopsis (Porcelain berry vine) prove that bees can collect nectar from the very smallest of flowers.

Here's my gregarious Datura Blackcurrant Swirl, along with the orange flowering hawkweed and the light blue flowering Nigella.

Speaking of nigella, here's a closeup of one of its robin's egg blue flowers. Part of their charm is the feathery 'ruff' of leaves underneath and the distinctive developing seedpod on top.

Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy.' I love the waxy flowers on pineapple lilies and this year I'm getting an especially good show on this specimen. Another favorite destination for bees.

Delpinium chinensis 'Blue Butterfly.' My favorite delphinium! Here's a little tidbit about blue delphiniums. Breeders trying to create a true blue rose -- something as yet to be accomplished -- have tried crossing a purple rose with a blue delphinium, as the latter contains a compound especially strong in producing the color blue.

Teucrium 'Summer Sunshine.' I have to admit, the flowers are quite pretty, even though I'm growing this variety for its golden foliage.

Protea neriifolia 'Pink Ice.' Love this pot and can't wait for the protea to bloom. Next year perhaps?

Swainsona. This Aussie native is one tough and floriferous guy. Unstoppable really. I had to really hack it back this winter as it was overrunning the bed.

Though the flowers brown at the tips rather easily if they get any direct sun, they are nonetheless really interesting. To me they look like turtle's eggs. Their color and shape has led to this Alpinia 'Zerumbet' being called Shell ginger. 

My Sauromatum venosum has put out an especially large leaf shoot and leaf. Now the question is, will this Voodoo lily produce its famous foul-smelling spathe?

Wahlenbergia. This campanula relative likes sun and has an arching habit. Very sweet.

I didn't quite get what I was after with this shot but in the end I kind of like it. The unfocused flower has a kind of dreamy quality, half there and half not.

This is a new Viola that I took an immediate shining to. It's called V. 'Brush Strokes.' It does rather look like it's painted, n'est-ce pas?

1 comment:

  1. These are beautiful plants. I've been looking to get some plants like these for my wife. She really wants a flower garden and I thought I would surprise her with something to get her started.
    -Seamus |


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