No desert--not yet at least. My woods garden is still pretty lush thanks to a little help from the gardener

I just spent an afternoon on the couch, nursing a summer cold and watching all 4 hours of Lawrence of Arabia.  Here’s what I learned:

  1. Yes, it is really, really dry in North Carolina right now—but this is nothing.  My little oasis of woods is still green and alive.  And not being a big fan of the desert, I plan to keep it that way. 
  2. Life takes water.  Don’t know why Mother Nature makes us gardeners work so hard sometimes—but I spend a lot of time watering.   I try to do it efficiently, and I prioritize.  The biggest investments come first—shrubs, perennials, then annuals.  And as much as I hate seeing dead plants, this time of year, I’m willing to let most of the annuals go.  Pull them out and compost.
  3.  Pace yourself.  It’s good advice in the desert and a drought.  Don’t get overwhelmed by all the wilted plants.    Water what you want to keep in one section of the garden.  Save the rest for tomorrow.  You’re really not going to finish until it rains, so slow, steady progress is best.
  4.  Water is precious.  I could drag the sprinkler out,  but when it’s this dry, I like to send every drop to thirsty roots.  I use my milk jugs and a slow hose at the base of plants.  Be sure to water deeply—you’ll have to water less often.  I let the hose run for a few minutes while I do something else: 
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Write emails, letter, or a blog post (like I’m doing now)
  • Make garden notes for next year.  At the top of my list, repair the drip irrigation system our puppy pulled up and chewed.
  • Clean up the beds.  This is a great time to weed pests like monkey grass and small saplings.  Their roots come right out of the dry ground.  Also, cut back spent and broken plants, pull up dead things, pick up sticks.

    Dry weather is great for weeding. Normally tough roots are easy to get out.

  • Rearrange the garden furniture and wipe it down.  You’ll be sitting outside again soon.

    Clean up the outdoor entertaining spots for fall--

  • Play with your critters.  It’s hard to resist our blue-eyed girl.

    It's never too dry for Tralee. She hates rainy days because she has to stay inside--

  • Relax.  The garden is a wonderful place to start and end your day—even in drought.  Enjoy your watering.  It’s just another part of tending a garden.