Monday, August 12, 2013

Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden


It was a lovely, lazy weekend. The days are still beastly hot but the nights are darn right chilly. Growing up in the Midwest, we used to call that 'good sleeping weather.' Such a sweet treat, to open the windows wide and let a cool breeze blow in.

Wild Coneflowers speckle the August garden. They are considerably more waterwise than their hybridized cousins, but I'm always amazed they are still alive. :) They've got a tough job ~ to tell me what's cooking out there. {Literally}

Coneflowers wilt quicker than the Golden Marguerite and Catmint surrounding them. When I see my long-suffering Cones droop their heads, I know it's high time to flip on the sprinklers.


There's lots of great reasons to plant waterwise perennials but the most basic, for me, is simply saving money. Water costs in the desert southwest are horrendously high. My neighbor proudly announced his water bill averages $700/month to keep his Kentucky Blue Grass green and healthy. (Mine is under $100.) I just roll my eyes and think ~ once an Easterner always an Easterner. Kentucky Blue Grass doesn't grow out here. Not every well, anyway. Imagine all of the new, non-thirsty, perennials he could buy for that princely sum!

Some Like it Hot:
Mr. Giganto Russian Sage (photo above) is the biggest camel in my garden. He's old enough, now, that he relies solely on the sporadic rains we've had this summer. To get a size perspective... I call him 'Giganto' because that boulder, behind him, is about 8 feet wide and he's hell bent on growing larger than the rock.


She might look dainty & fragile but don't be fooled by Cerise Queen Yarrow. This gal is one of the prettiest workhorses in my garden. Like the Russian Sage, she rarely gets a drink of water and doesn't seem to mind.


Pink Mallow (sometimes called Malva and I like to call her a miniature Hollyhock) is another easy grower in hot, dry places.

She's also a host plant for the Painted Lady Butterfly. They look a lot like Monarchs. Painted Ladies migrate through Utah so if you live around here, be sure and plant lots of this little pretty. Our fluttering friends will thank you.


And, last but not least...

Got on Facebook last night. This just made my day! Earlier this summer, I gifted my New Mexico friends with my favorite climbing vine. Heavenly Blue Morning Glories.

I tossed in some deep red, Scarlet O' Hara Morning Glories for good measure. Thought that might make a stunning combination.
I guess it's always a crap shoot when you opt for cheap seeds because these allegedly red Morning Glories are as pink as they can be. It looks more like a baby's nursery than a cowboy garden. But, who cares? They're gorgeous!

Here's hoping you all had a marvelous weekend. My new pledge is to not hate Mondays so much. That's like hating 1/7th of your life. But, I'll confess... so far it's not working so well. Time for another cup o' Joe.







TIP: Waterwise perennials don't start out that way. Water them consistently (every 2 days the first year and every 3 days the second year) until they become established. By the 3rd year, they're mature enough to send down a deep root system searching for water. THAT'S when they truly become 'waterwise.'

2 comments:

Aaron Dalton said...

Beautiful flowers.

Waterwise gardening is vital, especially in the arid West -- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/us/to-save-water-parched-southwest-cities-ask-homeowners-to-lose-their-lawns.html

Kim Mattingly said...

I can't believe Mr. Giganto is eight feet tall! Wowza!

I follow a different method of teaching my plants to be water-wise here in the lower altitudes. I start out watering them daily...then I let that slip to two days between watering, then three...watering them more deeply as the watering becomes less frequent. I feel like I'm teaching them to send those roots deep with this watering schedule.

Only for the first year, though. With very few exceptions, they get nothing in year two. I'm a mean mom! (And my plants don't have it as tough as yours do up in the altitudes, so I can get away with it. :-)