Gardening Magazine

Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden

By Kate_miller
Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden
It was a lovely, lazy weekend. The days are still beastly hot but the nights are darn right chilly. Growing up in the Midwest, we used to call that 'good sleeping weather.' Such a sweet treat, to open the windows wide and let a cool breeze blow in.
Wild Coneflowers speckle the August garden. They are considerably more waterwise than their hybridized cousins, but I'm always amazed they are still alive. :) They've got a tough job ~ to tell me what's cooking out there. {Literally}
Coneflowers wilt quicker than the Golden Marguerite and Catmint surrounding them. When I see my long-suffering Cones droop their heads, I know it's high time to flip on the sprinklers.
Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden
There's lots of great reasons to plant waterwise perennials but the most basic, for me, is simply saving money. Water costs in the desert southwest are horrendously high. My neighbor proudly announced his water bill averages $700/month to keep his Kentucky Blue Grass green and healthy. (Mine is under $100.) I just roll my eyes and think ~ once an Easterner always an Easterner. Kentucky Blue Grass doesn't grow out here. Not every well, anyway. Imagine all of the new, non-thirsty, perennials he could buy for that princely sum!
Some Like it Hot:
Mr. Giganto Russian Sage (photo above) is the biggest camel in my garden. He's old enough, now, that he relies solely on the sporadic rains we've had this summer. I call him 'Giganto' because that boulder, behind him, is about 8 feet wide. It generates a lot of heat so it's the perfect spot for a guy like this, who seems to thrive on abuse.
Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden
She might look dainty & fragile but don't be fooled by Cerise Queen Yarrow. This gal is one of the prettiest workhorses in my garden. Like the Russian Sage, she rarely gets a drink of water and doesn't seem to mind.
Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden
Pink Mallow (sometimes called Malva and I like to call her a miniature Hollyhock) is another easy grower in hot, dry places.
She's also a host plant for the Painted Lady Butterfly. They look a lot like Monarchs. Painted Ladies migrate through Utah so if you live around here, be sure and plant lots of this little pretty. Our fluttering friends will thank you.
Waterwise Goodies in the August Garden
And, last but not least...
Got on Facebook last night. This just made my day! Earlier this summer, I gifted my New Mexico friends with my favorite climbing vine. Heavenly Blue Morning Glories.
I tossed in some deep red, Scarlet O' Hara Morning Glories for good measure. Thought that might make a stunning combination.
Waterwise Goodies in the August GardenI guess it's always a crap shoot when you opt for cheap seeds because these allegedly red Morning Glories are as pink as they can be. It looks more like a baby's nurseries than a cowboy garden. But, who cares? They're gorgeous!
Here's hoping you all had a marvelous weekend. My new pledge is to not hate Mondays so much. That's like hating 1/7th of your life. But, I'll confess... so far it's not working so well. Time for another cup o' Joe.
Follow @Kate_HAGardens
TIP: Waterwise perennials don't start out that way. Water them consistently (every 2 days the first year and every 3 days the second year) until they become established. By the 3rd year, they're mature enough to send down a deep root system searching for water. THAT'S when they truly become 'waterwise.'

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