Do you find yourself daydreaming about creating your own garden oasis at home, but wonder how to achieve it while being water-wise?
Up and down the West Coast we have been experiencing drought, so now more than ever we need to be responsible with our water use. Having a garden that doesn’t rely on an abundance of water doesn’t mean we can’t still have an abundance of beauty that is a delight to our senses as well as that of our local wildlife.
After all, a garden is more fun when it is a flutter with butterflies, birds and bees! I think it’s possible to have a pretty yard that saves water and provides habitat for wildlife as well being an a oasis for you and your and friends.
Here are some helpful tips!
The first thing you will want to do is amend you soil. To make sure you have nice healthy soil you want to add a few inches of organic compost to your beds. Dig it into your existing soil using a shovel so your plants will be healthy and happy.
Find your local nurseries and get acquainted with the Succulent and Cactus sections! They are SO easy to grow. They are low maintenance, drought tolerant, fire resistant and beautiful. Some larger succulents such as agave also are very good at stabilizing hillsides due to their deep strong root systems
Plant as many Native trees, shrubs and flowers as you can. These plants, being from your area will do well and once established. Natives are also very good for giving habitat back to wildlife crowded out by development. Stay away from pesticides and chemicals for your health and the health of the pollinators who visit your flowers.
Ask for help finding natives at your local nursery. My favorite plant source happens to be a nursery in the Bay Area called Annie’s Annuals who have an amazing selection of natives and drought tolerant plants plus they ship!
Remember to plant native milkweeds for our Monarch butterflies who need our help.
Keep new plants regularly watered through their first year. Your plants need that year of extra attention in order to establish their roots.
Also remember to provide a water source. The drought is especially challenging for wildlife so keeping a birdbath filled with water will really go a long way to help them out.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you lose a plant here and there, you can always try another plant who might be better suited for your garden. After all, we learn from our mistakes. You can do it! Fall is the best time to plant and remember to include the kids in your life!
This article originally appeared in West Coast Magazine.