With natural resources such as fresh water at a premium, conserving these natural resources as much as possible is an absolute necessity. With this in mind, it is imperative to choose plants that are resistant to draught and require less water in order to thrive.
In order to create a landscape that is easy to maintain in draught conditions it is important to group like plants together. This will help make the watering of your plants much easier because all the plants in a particular group will have the same needs.
For example, if you want to use annuals or other plants that require more water; place them all together in a grouping. On the other hand, if you have plants that require minimal watering such as Crown of Thorns, Bougainvillea and succulents, try to keep them in another grouping. By organizing your plants in this way, watering will not only be easier, it will be more enjoyable and require less time.
One factor that is often overlooked when purchasing your plants is the quality of the product. Where you buy your plants is almost as important as what choices you make in plant species. When choosing plants that will withstand extreme elements that Florida often offers, local Mom and Pop plant growers will often offer the best quality plants for the money.
In addition, the plants are grown right here in our local area and are well adapted to our local conditions. So the next time you are out and about and you pass by that small local nursery you never pay that attention to, stop by and look around and chances are you will find some great plants that will hold up very well in your local area.
In addition to designing your gardens for maximum water efficiency, you should also design your turf area for the same.
As I mentioned in earlier columns, you can increase the watering efficiency of your yard by using strategic methods of decreasing your lawn area. You can create islands that are filled in with decorative stone and decorated with interesting lawn ornaments.
Another tip for maximizing water efficiency is to install an irrigation system. A properly configured system will cover all the areas of your yard without wasting water. These systems can be configured to water on the days that are designated for your area without any interaction on your part. In addition, when properly installed, the system will turn off automatically when it rains so you do not waste any water.
When you are dealing with larger trees and shrubs, it is often difficult to get enough water on them to deeply penetrate down to the roots. This is where proper mulching will take effect. A heavy dose of mulch will go a long way in preserving the moisture around your trees and bushes so they will fare better between watering cycles. Although you may be tempted to run out to your favorite retailer and buy a truckload of cypress mulch, remember that there are natural choices that are both look great and also help preserve our natural resources.
If your plants are of the acid loving variety, you can use natural pine needles as a mulching material. You can also use plain hay to help preserve moisture around your plats. Hay is being used more and more by local communities in the landscaping effects of streets and parks. You can also create your own mulch by using the vacuum feature of your gas or electric powered blower. Simply rake the majority of the leaves in your yard to one location and use the vacuum of your blower to pick up and pulverize the leaves and grass. Use the contents of the vacuum bag around your plants. This is both conservative and much less expensive than buying commercially produced mulches from a store.
As you can see, there are many ways to help beat the draught and still keep your plants looking as good as possible.
Joe Zelenak has more than 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website, www.hometowngarden.com