Wonder how to achieve it while being water-wise? All over California, we have been experiencing a major drought, so now, more than ever, we need to be responsible with our water use. Having a garden that doesn’t rely on an abundance of water doesn’t mean you can’t still have an abundance of beauty that is a delight to your senses, as well as that of our local wildlife. After all, a garden is more fun when it is aflutter with butterflies, birds and bees! Here are some tips that will help you create a pretty yard that saves water, provides a habitat for insects and birds, and is an oasis for you and your friends.
The first thing you will want to do is amend your soil to make it healthy. Add a few inches of organic compost to your beds, then dig it into your existing soil using a shovel, so your plants will be healthy and happy.
Find your local nurseries and get acquainted with the Succulent and Cactus sections! They are very easy to grow. They are low maintenance, drought-tolerant, fire-resistant and beautiful. Some larger succulents such as agave also are very good at stabilizing hillsides due to their deep strong root systems.
Plant as many Native trees, shrubs and flowers as you can. These plants, being from the local area, will do well once they are established. Natives are also very good for giving habitats back to wildlife that have been crowded out by development. Stay away from pesticides and chemicals for your health and the health of the pollinators who visit your flowers. Ask for help finding natives at your local nursery. Remember to plant native milkweeds, which attract beautiful Monarch butterflies as they migrate south this time of year.
Keep new plants regularly watered through their first year. Your plants need that year of extra attention in order to establish their roots.
Also remember to provide a water source for birds, bees and other friendly critters. The drought is especially challenging for them, so keeping a birdbath filled with water will really go a long way in helping.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you lose a plant here and there, you can always try another that might be better suited for your garden; fall is the best time of year to experiment with your plants. Make the moments even more special by including your kids – you never know who might have a green thumb!
Chris Young, Children’s Author, “Is That a Fairy?” (currently available on iTunes)
water wise gardening tips