Hi, everyone! The Mecklenburg County Master Gardeners have been invited by Charlotte Water to provide a short series of blog posts to explore ‘Xeriscaping’ in our gardens and discover which plants are more drought tolerant for the upcoming heat of summer. (additional articles: Drought Tolerant Flowers and Grasses, Drought Tolerant Shrubs and Perennials, and Top 10 Ways to Conserve Water In Your Garden)
We will provide you with the necessary tools to become a savvy gardener whose landscape will not just survive but thrive during periods of drought.
Many people call our Horticulture Help Desk to ask how to care for their yards and gardens during periods of drought. We have experienced many droughts over the last 30 years – 1986, 1988, and 1998-99 and who can forget the drought of record in ’07-’08. We watched our lawns go from deep green to light brown, established shrubs and trees withered and died, and flower and vegetable beds were hard to maintain with the ‘hand-watering only’ restriction. Even last summer we dipped back into drought conditions.
Unfortunately, another tough summer probably lies ahead and we need to be prepared. Since water and air are our most precious resources (life cannot be sustained without them) several years ago I did some research and wrote an article on what was a new topic at that time called Xeriscaping. That term refers to a low-maintenance way to garden by using common-sense techniques to conserve water in our gardens.
Back then, people pretty much rejected the concept of Xeriscaping because everyone thought that meant we could only grow cacti and our homes would look more like the desert than our lush, familiar southern landscapes. Well, that isn’t the case at all, but people just weren’t ready for the idea at that time – it is hard to change old habits.
Those who were ready to adapt, discovered that their yards were just as beautiful, were much easier to care for because they had far fewer problems, and they saved both time and money. That is a good thing!
So, let us fast forward to today. In our next post, you will learn the ‘Top Ten Things You Need to Know about Xeriscaping.’ I think you will agree that the time has come for all of us to embrace this successful gardening technique.
See you in the garden!
Sylvia Hindman, Master Gardener Emeritus
Mecklenburg County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers provide answers to your gardening questions at community events & Farmers’ Markets; give presentations to schools & clubs; write for local papers & magazines, and maintain two public demonstration gardens (Freedom Park & Independence Park). Contact us with your garden questions:
Horticulture Help Desk: 704-336-4011
Website: Master Gardeners
Facebook: Mecklenburg Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
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