31 January 2012

Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens by Lauren & Scott Ogden

With the weather changes we all experienced last growing season, gardeners and plant lovers are wondering which way to go. Wait and see? Or assume this year will be better, back to normal or terrific. I'm holding back somewhat.

One of the gardening chores that never goes away is watering. What about planting more and more water-wise plants to have the same amount of beauty with a lower water bill and less work? And, if you're living in an area with water restrictions, water wise gardening will make a big difference.

Released in Aug, 2011, "Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens", was recommended to me by Russell Studebaker, long-time garden writer for the Tulsa World.

The 200 plants covered in the book include trees, shrubs, perennials, ground covers, grasses and sedges, bulbs and their relatives, vines, annuals, biennials, succulents, cacti, palms and fiber plants.

Each plant has its own page with photo, growing preferences, attributes and best zones. In addition, the Ogdens say which other low-water plants will be good neighbors.

Example of one page:
Prairie Skullcap, Scutellaria resinosa
grows 8-inches tall and up to a foot wide
Native of the Great Plains, gray-green leaves, small purple flowers.
Short lived but will self-sow.
Combine with cacti, yucca, agave and others.
Related perennials: Suctellaria wrightii, Violet Cloud for zones 6-9 and Suctellaria suffrutescens for zones 7-9 is longer lived, has rose red or cream flowers and is good for roof gardens.

This is a handy volume to have on your desk when making your seed order this winter. I know I am going to have it in hand and use it to help make my final decisions with the catalogs in front of me.

Water is a resource; so are your time and energy. Conserve them all at the same time by selecting ornamental plants for their ability to use less resources!

Drought tolerant selections are covered for all the U.S.D.A. horticultural zones. "Waterwise Plants" is a 240 page paperback; $25 from Timber Press and $17 at online vendors.

Lawn Reform Coalition has a site that will help you find ways to get rid of watering, fertilizing and mowing your "lawn", reducing water usage and work even more. More sustainable ideas. Some of the same plants from "Waterwise" are featured suggestions.

1 comment:

Jean Raizel Gonzales said...

"One of the gardening chores that never goes away is watering."

Hi, Lauren and Scott. I just want to share an idea with you: my grandmother also loves filling her garden with flowers of different colors. Since she thinks she's 'too old' to do this chore, my siblings and I called our family friend who is a plumber from Rockingham to install sprinklers in her garden. With the help of an electrician, we were able to put a control inside her house so she can set the water flow for EVER SPRINKLER. It was a successful project. I hope that helped too.

(The link leads to the company that our plumber friend works for, if you want to check it out.)