Gorgeous Garden in a Drought

Five Tips to Survive the Drought in Your Backyard

My yard is dead. I don’t mind because I’m not fond of lawn grass. Nor do I want to waste our precious resource. That’s water, which might be surprising to my Arizona readers. After all, Minnesota is crowned by Lake superior (the largest freshwater lake in the world) and bordered by the mighty Mississippi River. All we need to do is take a look at White Bear Lake, the St. Croix River or Lake Minnetonka to see that even we need to be careful with our water use.

But I have a plan. (Because after all with Parkinson’s picking up a shovel is never going to happen again.)

Derek Carwood, a sustainable landscape designer is helping me reimagine my front yard. So instead of a tiny, patch of dead grass ringed with mature trees, there will be a lovely entertaining space that doesn’t require daily watering.

Derek and his company, Greenwood Horticulture, offer complete design services for your outdoor space or advice on your houseplants, plus bigger educational events such as for a garden club or company.

I love Derek’s approach of thinking about sustainability from the very beginning–at the design stage–vs. trying to fix a series of bad ideas later. This speaks to me on a personal level because I spent a lot of time studying behavioral economics. Basically, I studied people’s buying decisions and what affected their choices, such as planting hybrid roses vs. purple coneflowers (Echinacea angustifolia) or companies trading the right to pollute vs. designing a system that pollutes less (or none at all).

By re-thinking our gardens and landscapes as not only places of beauty and leisure, but also as smaller pieces of the greater ecosystem puzzle around us, we can create richly diverse and sustainable habitats for all flora and fauna.

Greenwood Horticulture https://greenwoodhort.com/

Five Tips for Surviving the Drought in Your Backyard

  1. Cut back on watering your lawn before you cut back on watering perennials—especially newly established plants. 
  2. Newly planted gardens need slow, heavy watering to encourage deeper root systems. Once established, most native pollinator gardens are very drought tolerant—much more so than most non-native plants. 
  3. Water your gardens early in the morning, before the heat of the sun so that water can fully penetrate the soil rather than evaporating. 
  4. Shallow water dishes, bird baths, and other containers provide much needed water for wildlife and keep critters from abandoning gardens during dry spells. Check for mosquito larvae and refill as needed. 
  5. Grey water from showers, baths, and sinks can be used to water the lawn and garden. Use all-nature soaps and cleaners and spread evenly throughout a given area. 

Even in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes – our groundwater and our lakes, streams and wetlands are limited resources.

Minnesota’s Groundwater:
Is our use sustainable?
A Freshwater Society special report / April 2013 https://freshwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Updated-MNs-Groundwater-Paper-lo-res.pdf

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