Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xeriscaping - Responsible Gardening in Dry Climates

As the reduced water conditions in California loom more and more ominous, xeriscaping is becoming increasingly popular. This type of gardening utilizes plants (usually native) with lower moisture requirements than water guzzling lawn grasses. I’ve been happily applying xeriscaping techniques even in my rainier region because I tired of high water bills. The fact I have less grass to mow doesn’t hurt, either, so I keep carving chunks out of my traditional lawn for more interesting perennials.

A great example is the ornamental grass garden planted near the sidewalk. These perennials grow even in drought conditions. In addition, their rustling height hides the ugly power transformer nine months out of the year. I cut them back in March to allow new growth, meaning they also provide visual interest all winter. Near my garage, Eastern prickly pear cactus and dragon’s blood sedum thrive in some really crummy soil. Both provide lovely blooms, and are of course extremely drought tolerant.

My cottage style garden features purple coneflowers, lots of fun amorphophallus konjac, bee balm, one long-lived centranthus, a few dwarf evergreen shrubs, and a weeping crabapple. Oh, and I like flowering spring bulbs, too. Just plant them in mid to late fall and they need little effort to provide years of beauty. On the shady north side, English ivy surrounds hellebores and hardy ferns.

What most of these plants have in common is a root system that delves much deeper than boring old grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and fine fescue. And they don’t need cut two or three times a week, which causes lawn grass blades to lose what little moisture they can store.

Gardening isn’t for everyone, but it provides me both joy and exercise. What hobbies do you enjoy?

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15 comments:

  1. Ooh, cool! I just learned a new word. I haven't heard of xeriscaping. :) I can't wait to see pictures of your garden; it sounds awesome!

    I'm not planting yet; it's just about time to though and I'm starting to get excited.

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    1. You're very kind. I planted some nasturtium seeds already, which reminds me that I need to see what the sprouts look like for sure so I don't mistake them for weeds! ~blush~ I'm looking forward to trying vegetables again, too. Happy planting!

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  2. I like the sound of what you've done! I adore gardening but alas I'm reduced to a balcony since moving to my loft apartment, but my numerous flower tubs and pots that adorn it are my pride and joy!

    Keith's Ramblings

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    1. Good for you on making the best out of the situation. I am embarrassed to say that plants do not do well for me unless they are put in the ground. It seems potted ones always get too little or too much water. Silly me. Happy container gardening!

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  3. I'd never heard of xeriscaping but we don't get much need of it here in Britain - we get plenty of rain!

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    1. I would really enjoy a visit to your region. Rainy or not, Britain's history and people make me want to plan a trip. Oh, and this reminds me that I need a new umbrella. ~grin~ My old one is collapsing after many years and lots of hard use this spring. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I think this is the most interesting X word I've come across so far, and I think I even know how to pronounce it. Your yard sounds so much more interesting than grass. I don't have a yard yet, so I can't garden in anything but pots, but at least I don't have to mow anything. 8-)

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    1. You're very kind. I admire you for successfully gardening in pots! Happy gardening.

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  6. A new word for me too: "xeriscaping." I'd love to see photos of your garden. It sounds lovely.

    I'm moving from TX to MD to live in a house with a garden. I hope to grow something edible; there are already berries, tomatoes, and pears. We'll see.

    (also @http://glamofgod.com)

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    1. Wow! Best wishes on the move. That sounds lovely. I don't stand heat well. ~grin~ Some family members recently moved to Bethesda and I look forward to visiting.

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  7. I had not heard of that word either. I was amazed to discover how many words begin with X, thanks to the A to Z challenge. I never thought Oregon would be short on water, so the drought here is strange, and frightening. February was like summer. Water rates in town here are high so I have begun using dirty dishwater to water plants and even to flush the toilet and I now have a barrel that I may use to collect water draining from the washer, for my garden. I try to grow food in the summer months, although I don't have a lot of garden space, to reduce costs and so I have more to spend to feed the cats. It really helps!

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    1. Bless you for all your hard work and financial expenditure to aid strays. That drought does sound frightening. I hope things improve. Best wishes, for sure!

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  8. Very interesting. I've been getting a bit interested in gardening, though I'll be doing it in a colder climate in the future. Not so dry, though.

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    1. I sure hope you enjoy the new hobby. Best wishes on the move. That can be stressful, so take care.

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Thank you for taking time to share your opinion. Hearing from readers adds immensely to my joy of writing!