President's Message, October 2011
Surviving the Drought...
Little did I know that my message in our May 2011 issue – Water-wise Gardening: Making Better Choices – was foreshadowing the grim headlines ahead of us this summer. A story in The Statesman (Insight & Books, Sunday, August 28th) "Dry Season…the effects of the worst one-year drought on record in Texas…" said it all, with photos of parched farmland and dried-up lakes. And the bad news just kept coming – cattle sold off, crops dying, Stage 2 watering restrictions, raging wildfires – and barely a drop of rainfall.
As avid gardeners, the news that this dreadful drought could continue for several years is pretty depressing. It's time to face the facts, folks! Here's some action steps you can take right now…
- Invest in the new Travis County Master Gardeners Association book, Creating a Drought-Resistant Garden in Central Texas. This book provides valuable information for creating Water-Conserving Gardens – planning, designing, planting, feeding, managing pests and disease, choosing compost and mulch for water conservation, and practicing responsible irrigation methods.
- Choose native and adapted landscape plants. If you don't already have a copy of the Grow Green plant guide, then pick up one before you start planting your fall garden. This guide is available at Zilker Botanical Garden's gift shop and at local nurseries—and it's free!
- Take the time to read Bob Beyer's article, Plant Drought Survival. It's filled with helpful ways to ensure your plants survive—the tips on watering during restrictions are especially valuable!
- Choose plants that are Proven Winners for your garden. Bob's article defines a "proven winner" as a plant that can survive and thrive in your own garden. The article is filled with some great plant suggestions for Austin gardens.
Gardeners are a resilient breed. Our gardens teach us to be better human beings—more humble, more willing to admit to our mistakes, and always adaptable. On a recent visit to Zilker Botanical Garden, I took some pictures of plants in the front parking lot that have not only survived but thrived during this dry and record-breaking heat. Consider adding these plants to your own garden—and pick up the Native and Adapted Landscape Plants Guide for details about these hardy perennials. Now, let's all do some serious rain dances!!