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Water Wise Gardening - The Basics
Even with water restrictions in place, it is still possible to
create an attractive garden without using copious amounts of
Soil preparation and mulch are essential in a water efficient
garden. A good mulch has many advantages, including; - adding
valuable nutrients and humus to the soil as it breaks down, -
keeping the soil temperature uniform, - reducing surface
evaporation by 70-80 per cent, - allowing for deep and
infrequent watering, - encouraging earthworm activity, which
creates channels for the passage of water and roots, and -
eliminating stress in shallow rooted plants and suppressing
Compost and horse, sheep and cow manures are excellent for
improving soil quality. Pea straw, lucerne, compost, leaf litter
and chopped bark all make superb mulches.
The method used to deliver water to plants is very important in
getting the most benefit out of the water used. Conventional
sprinklers deliver large amounts of water to large areas and can
be extremely wasteful if not positioned thoughtfully. Inline
drippers, weeping hoses and drip tubes are designed for placing
under mulch. These are low pressure watering systems which, over
a period of several hours, deliver water directly to the plant's
roots. Inline drippers are also suitable for lawns.
Grouping plants with similar water requirements will assist in
preventing over and under watering. Computerised watering
systems allow for the delivery of a set amount of water at
specified times, to various sections of the garden. Tap timers
are a useful and cheap alternative. Using phosphate and
petrochemical free, biodegradable laundry powders allows you to
safely reuse the laundry water on the garden.
There are 100s of waterwise plants. You can select from
Australian natives or exotic plants that come from areas of the
world with Mediterranean climate conditions (these are areas
that experience hot, dry summers with the majority of rain
falling in winter). Plant labels often state how much water a
plant needs. If you are not sure, look for plant characteristics
such as thick leathery, hairy, wax-coated, succulent, silvery
grey or fine needle-like leaves. Other sources of information
for suitable plant material are old neglected gardens, holiday
homes and streetscapes.
Top Summer Performers Ceratostigma plumbaginoides,Correa alba,
Escallonia varieties, Hardenbergia violacea, Hibiscus
(evergreen) & H. syriacus (deciduous), Lagerstroemia indica
hybrids, Lomandra longifolia, Plectranthus argentatus, Santolina
varieties, Westringia fruticosa & varieties.
With a bit of planning and some basic knowledge you too can have
a water wise garden.
Lyn Phillips www.thewaterwisegarden.com
About the author:
Lyn Phillips has a keen interest in the environment and water
conservation. Her business The WaterWise Garden, aims to educate
gardeners about growing water wise plants and promote the
benefits of organic gardening and organic pest control.
She has an extensive network of resources to grow and experience
first hand the suitability of the water wise plants that she
Lyn sells her Water Wise Gardening Software worldwide via the
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