Sunday, May 24, 2009

Taking care of creation

I can't believe how nice our garden looks after this week of rain. Well I can, actually, because Rebekah and I have been preaching low impact natural "let nature take its course" landscaping for the past decade or so.

But the recovery really has been spectacular; a transformation from dry, brown, brittle and dead - to lush, green, verdant and full of promise.

Funny thing when we moved into this house. The golf course behind our garden (the 7th green comes up to our yard) had some poorly adjusted sprinkler heads. Consequently, they watered a pie-shaped section of our garden - around 2,000 square feet or s0 - several times a week.

The grass there was so nice. Strong, bright green, thick. The upshot was I wanted to water the whole yard, get it all looking that nice. Reason prevailed, however, and - while we did install a sprinkler system - we simply couldn't conscience putting thousands of gallons of good drinking water all over our yard, especially once the strain on the local water supply started to become an issue.

So we have designed our yard to work with the ambient environment. Interestingly, around five years ago, the golf course reworked their irrigation system. We lost our free soaking and - within a few months, that section of the garden looked miserable. The grass there had been well trained to receive water on a regular basis, and developed shallow roots accordingly.

The rest of our garden looks great. It maintains deep, penetrating roots, it's used to periodic deprivation, and it doesn't rely on artificial supplies of H2O.

The lesson here is that, given water restrictions, yards like ours will always handle the stress much better than those used to pampering. There's absolutely no justification for waste, for over-watering, for taxing the water supply to extremity just to maintain a lush lawn.

I really enjoy living in this part of Florida. But it's important to remember that this is Florida, not New England! Florida has certain native plantings that were designed to thrive here - and it's arrogance and foolishness to try make our gardens something artificial. Give it up, people.

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