Like a lot of people who garden where there's an abundance of rainfall, I took water for granted. I'm not exactly sure when I really began to notice the change in our weather, perhaps, it was the summer when our pop up showers disappeared or when the fall rains didn't happen. This pattern continued and summer gardening became a chore of dragging hoses around to save the spring planted flowers and shrubs. Our summers have always been hot and dry, but, this was different, weeks would pass by with no rain. It was time to take seriously the intense rain events followed by drought that climatologists were predicting for much of the Southeastern USA. Extreme weather was going to be the new normal.
Water management had become an even bigger deal in my garden than it had been before. I no longer wanted to drag hoses around, pay huge water bills, or continue to contribute to the storm water run off issues. It was time to step up the water-saving solutions.
|Copyright © 2016 by Pam Penick from The Water-Saving Garden
|Autumn natives shine
The smartest thing that I've done at Clay and Limestone was to honor my garden's sense of place and plant what I knew would not only survive, but thrive here. I garden in the Central Basin of Middle Tennessee, in a dry Oak-Hickory forest community with areas of extremely shallow soil and exposed limestone. The shallow, nearly neutral clay soil is hard as concrete during our dry summers and wet and sticky during our rainy winters. Plants have to be rugged to survive in my garden. Planting native wildflowers and shrubs made sense, after all, they had evolved and adapted to our wet winters and dry summers.
|container grown Agastache ruprestis
I still get seduced by a pretty flower face but, I've learned to plant those xeric beauties in containers filled with sharp draining soil. I'll continue to lust after Virginia Bluebells, but, plant Shooting Star instead. I learned the hard way that it's much smarter and easier to embrace the unique characteristics of a garden garden rather than fight them. It meant accepting that my garden would not be as lush or as floriferous as I want it to be. Instead, I have marvelous spring lovelies, golden summer flowers and the best purple and blue autumns.
|Pinxterbloom azalea along the dry creek bed
Which brings me to Pam Penick's new book, The Water-Saving Garden.
I think you'll enjoy Pam's book as much as I have. I've been a fan of her writing for almost a decade and this book is as inspiring as every tour I've taken on her blog Digging. If you're a regular reader you've come to expect good photos and this book does not disappoint. They support the chapter topics, while illustrating the point that gardens can be gorgeous and water-saving.
Here's more information to tempt you.
- Part 1 is a tour of seven beautiful water saving gardens. I loved them all and was quite taken with the Gravel Garden at Chanticleer in Pennsylvania. They get plenty of rain, but anyone who gardens on a slope or hill knows how dry they can get. Examples like this spoke to me and will to any of you who might be wondering if this book is for you.
- Part 2 is practical information about tried and true water saving techniques. If you wondered what to do in your garden to manage rain water, this section is the place to start. I learned a lot, for instance, I didn't know that my small walls have been serving as check dams to stop the flow of water or that making a curb cut in them would help move water off the driveway and into that garden bed that actually needed the moisture.
- Part 3 is all about plants. What to consider planting; when to plant; where to plant; how to plant; native plants; and, container plants. It's chock full of extremely helpful information. If you're a native plant enthusiast like me, you'll enjoy the section on designing with natives.
- Part 4 will speak to those of you who garden in dryer climates and "want to evoke the illusion of watery abundance". I garden in a wet climate and this chapter still spoke to me. Dry creeks, mosaic patterns, mirrors that mimic ponds~all beautiful.
- Part 5 is a list of 101 water saving plants for your garden. There were plenty of plants on the list that I include in the dryer, sunnier parts of my garden, but, this is plant heaven for those of you gardening in dry climates.
|Copyright © 2016 by Pam Penick from The Water-Saving Garden
Now it's party time!
You're all invited. Seven fantastic bloggers from across the US are participating in this Book Party and Giveaway, each of us is offering a different prize. Follow the links to each blog and leave a comment on their for a chance to win a fabulous prize.
The giveaway will run Feb. 29-March 7. The deadline for entering the drawing at Clay and Limestone is 10PM, Sunday evening, March 6, 2016. I will choose a winner using a random number generator. The winner will be announced Monday, March 7, 2016 on this blog.
One entry per person per giveaway.
You must provide a valid email address when you comment.
Winner must reside in continental U.S. for shipping purposes.
Winner must contact me to provide his/her address within 5 days to claim the giveaway; otherwise a new winner will be chosen.
WE HAVE A WINNER: EVAN WAS CHOSEN IN A RANDOM DRAWING. CONGRATULATIONS AND HAPPY GARDENING.
I'm giving away a black Epoch Rain Barrel. I have this barrel in my own garden.
Epoch Solutions rain barrels are repurposed or “upcycled” high quality food-grade drums that were destined for a landfill.
55 gallon capacity
Brass and stainless fittings
High density upcycled plastic
Leave a comment below, including your email address to get in the drawing.
Here are the links to the other prizes!
Danger Garden: Loree Bohl is giving away a Circle Pot from Potted
Digging, Pam is giving away a $100 gift certificate from High Country Gardens.
Gossip in the Garden: Rebecca Sweet is giving away a Live Succulent Planter from Boxhill
North Coast Gardening: Genevieve Schmidt is giving away 3 bags of 1/8-in. pumice (to 3 winners!) from General Pumice Products
Red Dirt Ramblings : Dee Nash is giving away a 65-Gallon Rainwater Urn from Gardener’s Supply Company
Rock Oak Deer : Shirley Fox is giving away a 50-Gallon Rain Barrel and Chesapeake Stand from the Rain Barrel Depot
Good luck and thanks for stopping by to party and celebrate Pam Penick's new book.
I moderate comments after 5 days, so if you don't see your comment immediately it's only because I haven't published it.
Photos reprinted with permission from The Water-Saving Garden, by Pam Penick, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Pam Penick.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.