Native Garden Respite

by Lorraine on January 25, 2009

My life has been a bit stressful lately with trying to keep up with the many things that I do and the best place to unwind is in the garden.  We’ve had a bit or rain the last few days and the garden looks so happy about that!  I know, I know an anthropomorphic statement.

I sat outside for a bit, relaxing and seeing what’s sprouting…lot’s of seedlings from last year’s wildflowers and enjoying the blue, green and gray colors of the foliage.   A number of plants have started to bloom due to the previous warm weather and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, as we could still get some frost.  And all those seedlings are going to be a problem because they will smother the garden if I allow them to grow.

I’m gradually pulling them out as I see them, but it’s like trying to hold back invading Mongols.  Letting them grow isn’t an option and I have to remove them before they get too large and difficult to pull out.

I will be posting more current comments about the garden and also my adventures with the Forest Service, soon, as I’m lagging in posting regularly but always determined to do it. 

The Sespe Wilderness is beautiful and I’ve been doing my volunteer trail work with them every month for three years.   This coming Sat. is where I’ll be and very happily so!   Nothing like hiking boots, good friends, streams, wildlife and hard work.

But today, I’m going to post something from last Summer, actually June about my experience (Or lack of) with irrigation.

What I know about irrigation.   Not much!  I’m running four lines of  drip system and have since found out that this is no longer the recommended method for watering.  NOW I FIND OUT!   Oh well….too late to switch it all out.

Apparently mini sprinklers are now the preferred method of irrigation for native plant gardens.   Bart O”Brien discussed this briefly at the Salvia class that I attended earlier this year and he said that the Santa Ana Botanical Gardens are using them instead of the drip lines.

He feels that it’s better because with using drips, you can’t be sure if the plant(s) are getting enough water until it’s possibly, too late.   In other words, the plant(s) is dead.

For me, irrigation is a big irritant.  It seems that every time that I turn on one of the lines, there’s some sort of blow out with one of the emitters.  Today was no exception!  I don’t dare leave the house when one of the lines is running, due to the fear that if  an  emitter decides to misbehave while I’m gone, I will find a mini version of Old Faithful spewing water all over the garden and sidewalk upon my return.

I will be taking a class on irrigation that is scheduled at the Theo. Payne Foundation and hopefully I will learn enough as a novice to know what to do and what system is best to use.  I’m confused on this topic and I’m sure that there is no one single answer.

Like life, everything is complicated, isn’t it?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jackie 02.02.09 at 8:01 pm

You can defeat the weeds, with persistence. I’ve been working for about 5 years – on large areas – and have seen much improvement. The more thorough, the better, of course. It’s good to pace yourself and focus on one area at a time and thoroughly weed. I forget my own advice of course!

I’ve had issues with mini-spray and drip too – not sure what the answer is there! But maybe not quite so frequently as you – I hope as you address the bad lines things settle down. I wonder if you have had any lines chewed through by gophers etc? That’s happened to me only once, so far.

I really relate to your thoughts about finding solace in the garden. If I can stop weeding for a minute to let it all just sink in – I also feel great peacefulness just wandering around mine. My garden also gets happy in the rain. I can feel the relief as the rain soaks in to the ground. Maybe that’s the opposite of anthropomorphic – terrapomorphic??

2 Troy 02.05.09 at 10:43 pm

Loved reading your prelude, thanks for sharing. Irrigation is still not an exact science and everyone has their own preferences. Unfortunatley it can be expensive to set up which means you want to get it right the first time. Getting to know your plants, your soil and how they interact is more important than a wizz bang irrigation system. Once you work out the plant-soil relationships during the seasons you can make adjustments to the watering easy enough. It would be great to see how your yard looks throughout the year.

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