Living with Drought

By: Julie Day

Because of chronic drought conditions, my community has been under mandatory water restrictions for well over a year – something that is new to this part of the country. The current restrictions allow for some limited watering, but under a strict schedule. What this means is that we have now gone through a complete seasonal cycle without a return to our previous uninhibited (and often wasteful) use of water.

Gardeners who used to take water for granted are now learning to watch the weather in order to time key plantings with predicted rainfall. We’re now seeing water-wise plants, rain barrels, and water-saving irrigation systems showcased in stores. For some communities in arid climates, this is nothing, but for us it’s a big change that’s happened almost overnight.

I don’t welcome climate change or drought to any community, but I do find it interesting to contemplate how reality can force us to make changes that otherwise we’d dismiss as “good ideas, for somebody else or some other time.”

That goes for me, too, by the way. I’ve always believed in living in harmony with nature, but I never thought twice about pulling out the garden hose. Now I’m looking more closely at my own garden microclimate and always asking, “If I leave it up to nature, will this plant thrive?” It’s an eye-opening experience that I’m grateful for, despite the conditions that created it.

To find out how to plant your yard to reduce water usage, check out our articles on Landscaping with Drought-Tolerant Plants and Xeriscape for Drought-Tolerant Landscaping.

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