Gardening is a teacher – a kind of life coach – before we knew they existed.
If you listen to the pace of nature you will learn.
Not just about gardening but about life.
It will teach you to be more observant of details.
To appreciate small miracles and big surprises.
But most of all it will teach you patience.
There is a saying about perennials.
The first year they sleep.
The second they creep.
And the third they leap.
There is really very little you can do to move them along.
So we must simply learn to be patient.
In time you will realize that the years have gone by and your garden is full if not overflowing with growth that you have nurtured.
There are however things that you can do to help the process along.
Take the time in the beginning to prepare the soil well.
We’ve talked about this before.
Add compost, chopped leaves, manure and a little peat moss to make sure that you create a place where plants truly can grow.
I continue to add these things to keep the soil rich but the beginning of life of a garden is when you can really do the best job of building a good home.
Next comes your chosen method of watering.
Now, I know this is not nearly as much fun as buying and planting but it is important for many reasons.
All of us should be continually aware of our water consumption – no matter how high the water table and how easy it is to get your own well.
Water is in short supply on this planet.
Using it wisely is simply the only responsible choice.
That is the moral reason why I love drip irrigation systems.
But the truth is it’s really great for the plants as well.
Not to mention how easy it is to use.
You may have noticed black hoses in some of my previous pictures.
That is my wonderful drip system.
It runs throughout my garden and makes it unbelievably simple to water then entire garden.
I simply lift the handle on two faucets and walk away.
Here’s how it works.
The black hoses are ½” tubing with emitters inside the hose.
You can order them with 9”, 12” or 18” spacing.
Your other choice is ½ gallon per hour or 1 GPH.
As I recall mine have 12” spacing with 1GPH.
The entire system comes from a company called Dripworks.
Unfortunately, it is not sold at retail in this part of the country, but can be ordered online at www.dripworks.com.
The kindly people there will even help you design your system and figure out how much emitter tubing you need and additional fittings, etc.
After laying more feet of this than I care to admit, John completed the project.
A four-way splitter was attached to the faucet.
Then he put female fittings at the end of each section of emitter tubing.
The ends were then capped.
There you have it.
A big backyard perennial garden watered deeply – completely by turning on two faucets.
What geniuses these people are.
And the best part.
The water goes into the ground – not evaporated into the air.
Or on the leaves of the plants where it would only encourage nasty fungal diseases.
Everyone wins – you gotta love that!
But remember – this is a slow drip.
You want it to water over a period of time.
Overnight in the case of my large beds.
So you have to be patient.
Just barely turn it on – a slow drip that waters deeply drawing the roots deeper into the ground where they will more readily survive the drama of today’s unpredictable weather.
Remember the week in early February where we went from -4 to 80 degrees!
Deeply rooted plants will take that kind of torture and the extreme heat that is sure to come this summer.
The other important thing to remember about drip irrigation is you don’t water as often.
In an average year I only water my big perennial bed about once a week during the growing season.
After all the water is going where it is needed so you don’t have stand there and spritz it a little every day.
Patience…a quality that comes naturally to some and is a lifetime struggle for others.
With gardens it’s worth – shall we say – “cultivating” this quality!!!
So…this week stroll through nature.
Take it all in, patiently.