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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Water-wise gardening

If you are into conservation and in particular water conservation, I have found this great article on water-wise gardening on the Indigenous Gardener's website. The article states that, "While some indigenous and water-wise species are indeed adapted to drought, the way that we water (too frequently, not deeply) prevents them from developing strong, deep root systems. Instead of ‘making rain’ with our irrigation systems – giving a long deep watering - we wet the leaves, mist the atmosphere and moisten the top few centimeters of soil – only to have most of it evaporate soon after. Crazy, isn’t it? When one considers that most gardeners are using treated potable water on their gardens, it becomes even more incomprehensible. Imagine emptying 500 bottles of mineral water in one area of your garden – this is the typical water-use of ONE station of shrub sprayers.

Clearly, it is time for a major rethink.

The article answers questions like "What is a water-wise garden?", what to plant, our relationship with water, saving and storing water and tips on planting, watering and maintenance of a water-wise garden.

A key aspect of water-wise gardening is changing our expectations and embracing a more natural style of gardening. Instead of aspiring to artificial lushness and green lawns all year round, we can embrace the seasonal changes of colour and texture that are typical of the landscape we live in.

There is a misconception that indigenous plants (i.e. South African plants) are water-wise. Nothing could be further from the truth! Summer rainfall species such as Plectranthus require regular water in summer to flower. However local plants (i.e. those indigenous to your specific area) are likely to survive and thrive on natural rainfall. These are prime water-wise candidates, and you would do well to choose from this palette. Making a garden that doesn’t need watering is both rewarding and extremely satisfying.

Us gardeners are part of the conservation fraternity of the world. We are very aware of and spread the word about the importance of saving our vanishing fauna and flora. A garden of native plants not facing risk of extinction can be a beautiful way to celebrate local natural heritage.

Water conservation plays a big part in all of this, so head on over to the article for the full story!

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