Mosaic Gardens Journal

news, photos and inspiration

water saving advice July 3, 2009

Filed under: photos,Uncategorized — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 2:40 am
Tags: , ,

It’s hot! Or hot for Oregon, anyway…. As native Southerners (Suthnurs), we’ve seen hotter temperatures, but we still can’t help but feel the heat of those first days above 90 degrees.

The plants are feeling the heat, too, and on these warm summer afternoons, many of them look a little wilty or dry. Before you pull out the hose or turn up the irrigation, take a moment to read a few short and long term tips for reducing water usage. It’s easy to water, and especially easy for experienced gardeners (ourselves very much included) to fall into old habits. Below are a few short and long term water-saving ideas. We welcome your ideas in the comments!

Buell watered his Austin, Texas garden once a month.  Photo from 2001

Buell watered his Austin, Texas garden once a month. Photo from 2001

  1. Short-term: Don’t water every wilty plant! Especially in the first hot days of the year, some plants wilt in the warm afternoons, but bounce right back when the temperatures drop.  Check the soil around dry looking plants for moisture – not just at the top, but feel around a couple inches below the surface.
  2. Short-term: Water at night or in the very early morning when humidity is high and evaporation rates are low.
  3. Short-term: Don’t “set it and forget it.” Irrigation systems can be a great part of reducing water usage, but it’s very easy to set a schedule and not think about it again. Turn the cycle down or off in cooler periods and up in warmer periods, rather than setting it to water as often as “might” be needed.
  4. Long-term: Mulch at least once a year. Mulch feeds the plants as it breaks down, looks great, insulates roots and reduces evaporation from the soil. We love the Garden Compost from Lane Forest Products.
  5. Long-term: Plant for your desired watering schedule. One or two thirsty plants can mean that a whole bed of hardier plants get more water than they need. Buell reduced his Austin, Texas garden to a once-a-month (yes, month) watering schedule by letting his watering schedule guide his plantings, rather than the other way around.

There are lots more tips and ideas out there, but these are a few easy ideas that we revisit every summer.

Stay cool!

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7 Responses to “water saving advice”

  1. […] checked in for a little while, take a moment to check out the cool dry-stack stone wall we built, some tips for lowering water use in your garden, a couple photos of our project at the coast and three of our favorite perennials. If there’s […]

  2. Pam/Digging Says:

    I’ve admired your Oregon garden in several magazine spreads and have known about your inspirational design website for a while. But I just found your blog and am working my way through it, enjoying your beautiful garden pictures. I garden in Austin, your former hometown, and would love to see more images of Buell’s Austin garden. Have you posted any other pics of it–or do you plan to?

    • mosaicgardens Says:

      Thanks for your kind words! Austin is a terrific town, and a fun place to garden. We don’t have many photos of Buell’s garden, but you may see one or two more over time. As you may know, we used to work with Gardens – their website and nursery are likely to offer a little inspiration. James and Gary, the original owners of Gardens, now have their own design firm, David/Peese Design. Their website includes several photos of their fabulous garden. Keep an eye on the Garden Conservancy schedule for Austin – James and Gary open their garden every now and then for tours.

      Enjoy Austin – have some Tacos al Pastor for us, o.k.?
      r&b

  3. Pam/Digging Says:

    I will indeed!

    Yes, I know James and Gary’s garden, having toured it several times, including on a private group tour for the 1st Garden Bloggers Spring Fling. It’s absolutely wonderful, and they are generous about showing it.

    I look forward to seeing more of your current garden in future posts.

  4. […] re-posted the photo that inspired this question request above (originally in this post).  We only have a couple of good photos of Buell’s garden, unfortunately, but they do show […]

  5. […] wrote about using less water in another post, which we hope you’ll read, but the concept is simple.  Most of us water more often than most […]

  6. […] to work towards a lower water garden.  Drought tolerant plants tolerate heat better than their hydrophilic counterparts, and you […]


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