Gardening with Laurie: Plant drought-tolerant plants
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By Laurie Garretson
Anybody who has been outdoors within the past couple of months will agree that it is hot and dry, with no relief in sight.
Because of these harsh conditions, extreme high temperatures and the severe drought, the city of Victoria has initiated Stage Two of the Drought Contingency Plan.
What this level of the plan means for us is that we can water our landscapes with a hose-end sprinkler or an automatic irrigation system from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 8 p.m. to midnight.
We can water at anytime with a hand-held garden hose that has a shut-off nozzle attached, with either a watering can or bucket that holds no more than 5 gallons of water, or use a drip irrigation system.
As recently as 10 years ago, most of us never thought about having to ration our water usage. But times have changed, and the conditions of our planet have changed. We can no longer take the water on our planet for granted. It is reported that outside water usage here in the United States accounts for 35 percent of all the water usage. As gardeners, we can certainly do our part to help conserve our water.
One way we can start conserving water, especially during the harsh summer months, is to plant more drought-tolerant plants. This plan could mean incorporating many more native plants.
Native, water-thrifty, adapted vines are versatile plants that gardeners could easily incorporate into any landscape. Vines not only provide landscape with color, but can be grown for windbreaks and sunscreens. They also help to soften the look of any bare wall or fence lines. Other good advantages of most vines are that they are resistant to pests and are not prone to diseases.
There are several vines that I'd highly recommend planting. One drought-tolerant vine that really gets your attention every spring is the Lady Banks rose. This thornless beauty has miniature yellow or white blooms that literally cover its limbs and are slightly fragrant.
If you are interested in having hummingbirds in your yard, find a location to plant a Trumpet Creeper.
The Carolina Jessamine vine is a hardy, evergreen native that will bloom fragrant, yellow flowers in the spring. It also grows well and blooms in shady areas, unlike many other vines.
Wisteria vines offers beauty, size and vigor. This fast-growing vine can easily reach 30 feet or more. Spring is when you'll have grape-like clusters of very fragrant, purple flowers. After flowering, you'll notice that it then puts on foliage. This vine becomes very heavy as it matures and needs a sturdy structure to grow on.
Any of these vines will become very drought tolerant once established, and will easily become one of your favorite plants found in your landscape.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.