Gardening Nana – Water Wise and Plant Savvy
We started our garden projects and containers with carefree watering. My great nephews, Max and Eli, used their squirt guns. Now we have to be more careful and learn to be wise in our watering. We also need to be more plant savvy in picking out drought-resistant plants for our projects.
We can still attract bees, butterflies, and birds because we have used mostly native plants in our projects and many of them are drought resistant. The book Indiana Gardener’s Guide, by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp and Tom Tyler, is a great resource to find plants. It has easy-to-read plant characteristics codes from what wildlife plants attract to sun and water needs.
The boys’ Jungle Garden containers are doing great, and the elephant ear plants are huge. These plants are tropical and love the hot, humid weather, but they do need water when the leaves get droopy. We are learning about using “gray” water, and we take the water from the dehumidifier for the plants in the containers and our Butterfly Window Box. The caterpillars have not arrived yet, so we have to keep watering the plants and waiting for the metamorphosis to happen and watch for the butterflies!
Our Sunflower Fort is also doing great except that the giant sunflowers have been slow taking off. The morning glories don’t have them to climb up as we planned, so the “fort” will not have a “roof.” Sunflowers love the sun, of course, and are drought-resistant plants so they should survive with a little water. The bees are busy and soon the birds will love the seed heads, the flowers are starting to bloom.
The boys are learning and getting a small taste of what their great grandpa (94 years old) did as an Indiana farmer who has seen many droughts and survived many weather, weed, and pest disasters! Since I’m a Purdue grad and former 4-H farm girl, I’m very familiar with the Cooperative Extension Service. (I took the Master Gardener courses at the Johnson County Extension office.) Purdue Extension has a good web site on the drought in Indiana: bit.ly/PBqMdu.
Also, a good article to read is “In Times of Drought” by B. Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Purdue University. bit.ly/PBrDL3.
Last month, Ken and I visited our daughter, Ann, out in Fort Collins, Colorado, and my sister and brother-in-law in Colorado Springs when the devastating wildfires were happening. The beautiful mountain forests are gone, and it will take a long time for them to be green again. One method to replant is aerial re-vegetation or “seed bombs.” Our next project! cg
Nancy’s love of flower gardening intensified while living in Holland and was perfected with Master Gardener courses.