Despite the recent rain, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a drier and warmer summer in Western North Carolina, with an especially dry September and October on the horizon. But don’t let your flowers and veggies wither in the sun when water runs low. The Men’s Garden Club of Asheville will host a program on water-wise landscaping, featuring Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener James C. Wade, on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
With drought in WNC’s not-too-distant memory, Wade reminds us that rainfall is variable and often inadequate. He asserts that “carelessness will create waste” and that the cost of delivering water is increasing. Saving water saves money and helps our environment, reducing runoff from local properties into our streams and lakes. Water-wise landscaping techniques maximize natural rainfall and improve irrigation.
Since Wade has spent much of his life in areas with limited water resources, he has some advice for keeping moisture in WNC’s often troublesome soil. He stresses that advanced planning is essential, so start thinking about water now. As you might imagine, native plants stand up to heat and dry weather better than exotic blooms. Since our soil is relatively soft from this winter’s warm temperatures, now’s a good time to improve your soil to prevent evaporation. Also, try to group plants according to water needs so that when you do water, you only need to focus on a few targeted areas.
A good first step for someone who is just beginning to explore water efficiency is to reduce turf and lawns and much as possible, as they often require additional water to keep green. Try a victory garden in the front yard or create an area just for drought-tolerant native plants. A rain garden is also a fun way to increase the water level on your property.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. A full explanation of water-wise landscaping, and advice for experienced and novice gardeners alike, will be offered on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at First Baptist Church of Asheville, 5 Oak St. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, begins at 12:40 p.m. For info, call: 329-8577.
Future Men’s Garden Club of Asheville meetings, which are held on the first Tuesday of the month, will feature a variety of topics this season:
March: Growing herbs with Fairman Jayne of Sandy Mush Nursery
April: Vegetable gardening with club member Alan Wood
June: Creating a Native Woodland Garden with Lisa Wagner, Education Director SC Botanical Gardens
July:Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont with Tim Spira of Clemson University.
Aug: Club picnic
Sept.: Jerry Merrill, co-owner Breezy Acres Nursery
Oct: Ornamental Grasses with Amanda Stone, Coop Ext.
Nov: Tour of Van Wingerden Greenhouse with co-owner Bert Kemkes.
Dec: Club awards luncheon