You can still have a beautiful garden, reduce your water consumption and cut your water bill too. In this video, Linda De Luca of Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery shares four great tips and information for you on how to achieve a waterwise garden in dry times.
During this particularly hot and dry spell we are experiencing, one can notice that many trees are dropping their leaves. This is the only way in which they can stop or drastically reduce loss of moisture from their leaves through transpiration.
To slow this down or stop the leaf drop, add a thick layer of good, organic mulch on top of the soil. The positive effects of this are that the soil is able to hang on to its water, and not lose it rapidly through evaporation, as well as keeping the soil cooler and improving the health of the soil.
If soil is at an ideal temperature, it is much more suitable for microbes and other creatures to live in it and break organic matter down, thus releasing minerals that the plants are able to take up again.
We use wood chip mulch at the nursery, and find that it works brilliantly.
Good Garden Design - Zone the garden
Before talking about zoning, it is important to note that South African indigenous plants that grow naturally in water-scarce environments are far better suited to coping with and surviving extended dry spells. Their ability in general to adapt to dryer conditions makes them an excellent choice in order to preserve the investment that you make in your garden.
Critically assess your garden, and group plants according to their water requirements. If you are not sure where to start, pay us a visit at the nursery and we’ll be happy to advise you. Booking an appointment is essential, so please give us a call or drop a line first.
Focus predominantly on the many beautiful drought tolerant perennials available, and keep your thirsty plants to a minimum.
To help increase plant resistance to drought, one can also fertilise with Rockdust – a highly nutritious fertilizer derived from igneous rock. You will be amazed at how much less water you will use on the garden, and this results in significant cost savings!
(Note: One can also make use of rainwater harvesting techniques, and grouping plants as well as shaping flower beds and lawns to make wise use of any rain water that falls in the garden.)
Cut back on watering
Many people make the mistake of over-watering their gardens, particularly at the onset of spring. The weather heats up dramatically before the rain arrives, resulting in plants losing a lot of moisture. Our natural reaction is to turn on taps and soak the garden into what we think spring should be like.
Too much water on the garden results in excessive green growth, and if one resists the temptation to water too much, we are often rewarded with the most amazing displays of flowers. Again the cost-cutting advantages of reducing our watering habits cannot be ignored.
This is especially attractive with the rapidly rising cost of water.
Consider the wildlife
During extended dry spells such as we are experiencing, many natural watering areas dry up. This means that birds, insects and other creatures that use these areas have no water to drink, outside of what they find in our gardens.
Our gardens become a haven for the local wildlife, and as creatures move along corridors of natural resources, naturally their distribution shifts slightly as they seek food and water. We start seeing new species of birds, insects and other small creatures that we don’t usually see in our areas.
Even by simply adding a shallow dish of water here and there, and a few food plants that we nurture, we can help to ensure the survival of the local wildlife.
These are four easy and cost-effective ways in which one can garden sustainably through this drought. We look forward to bring you a lot more suggestions, and would love to hear from you about your efforts in water-wise gardening, or your water-wise garden landscaping ideas.
Remember to please keep it indigenous!
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