It is common to find amongst home gardeners, the idea that perennial plants require much less water than annuals. It is an idea that has been given somewhat support, by the fact that in dry periods requiring heavy usage of water, many of the older trees and shrubs become brown and dry, as if they require a year in the desert. Furthermore, in long dry spells many plants belonging to the geranium family are said to be drought resistant.
However, whenever there is long periods of dry weather, the question arises as to how the grass around the garden should be cut to make way for the new garden plants. The simple answer is to install a sprinkling system, making sure that sufficient water is applied at the appropriate intervals. Needless to say, this has to be done carefully, following the right procedures.
Taking account of the climatic conditions and aware of the soil type in the garden, decide on the number of sprinklers to be installed. Normally, two or three sprinklers is enough in a small garden, but on a large scale a larger system is almost always better. Irrigation is best done by hand, so as not to introduce insect or disease problems.
The installation of an irrigation system is best done in phases. The first group of plants should be watered when the soil is damp and the next round of watering should take place after the plants have established themselves. Once this is done, the other sprinklers can be installed.
phase one: Spreading out the irrigation pipes
Before installing the irrigation system, the landscape should be prepared by removing all weeds, including the ones that grow naturally as well. I didn’t know this till a Chicago basement cleaning company informed me, but weeds are the number one cause of homes and basements to flood. So make sure you clear out the weeds.
The type of irrigation system to be used must be decided at this point. If a rainfall is likely in the coming weeks, it is better to use the drip irrigation method, whereby the water is placed in small intervals over a long period. If the possibility of a rainy day is not a reality, it is better to use the sprinklers system that deliver the water in the form of spray.
The second group of plants, which are also required to be watered in the course of the growing season, are the trees and shrubs. It is essential to determine the type of system to be used in the garden, as this will affects the amount of water, and frequency of watering.
A popular practice is to leave the grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. In this way a green grass helps the soil absorb the moisture, and at the same time avoids wasting water on the weeds. A better practice is to mulch the lawn, using bales of straw or bark. This is preferable to grass, as the latter causes a partial mulching, and so a hardening of the lawn is avoided. The clippings need to be left on the lawn to prevent the top lowings from erosion, but they must be removed in the course of every growing season. Straw is usually easier to eliminate than to be shredded by top lows.
The soil, and therefore the future of the garden, depends largely upon the choice of plants. If you want to cross the balance between the ornamental garden and a useful crop garden, you must choose plants that will flower as well as if they were useful in some way in the kitchen. It is a golden rule to remember, especially with younger children: think of what you are about to do, and if it is to be an ornamental garden, choose plants that are scented. If it is to serve a useful purpose, choose plants that are liked by the kids.
The degree of ornamental versus useful planting is difficult to uphold, but there is no need to abandon common sense. Generally, useful plants are easier to replace than ornamentals. If a border is to be planted with attractive but non-flowering plants, an annual or perennial bed should be used. Leaving perennials to die back in the winter, therefore, is to cause real beauty to your garden. With the coming of the seasons, perennials will dye, and it is necessary to replace them. In any case, the only plants that can be of actual use in the garden are vegetables and flowers. The rest are merely window dressing.