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Archive for the ‘drought’ Category

Black Eyed Susan DSC_3563Water restrictions may be a way of life for some time, yet, this does not mean our landscapes must evolve into gravel and cactus. It is time to take a new look at how we prepare and maintain our landscapes making them more resilient and more WaterSmart, especially during our hot summer months. (more…)

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“There are two ways to face the rainless weeks. One is to water, and the other is merely not to.” Elizabeth Lawrence, a Southern gardener.

Perhaps this is a bit too simplified, but we do have to face the fact that in a world of overburdened water supplies and weather extremes, conserving water in the landscape whenever and however we can has never been more critical. During July, August, and September, Texans’ increase their water use by as much as 58%, with half of what is used to irrigate landscapes being wasted due to over-watering or runoff. The projection for the Houston area is that the population will double by the year 2030, but our water supplies are finite leading us to realize that even though we may get all the rain we need, more people means water shortages–frog-strangling deluges or not.  (more…)

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Planted wetlands help protect Brays Bayou

Planted wetlands help protect Brays Bayou

Over-watering causes runoff.

Over-watering causes runoff.

Armand Bayou leads to Galveston Bay

Armand Bayou leads to Galveston Bay

What is your watershed address? If you do not have an answer then it probably means you are not sure how or even if you are connected to Galveston Bay. Actually, everyone lives in a watershed whether or not a body of water is in view. Simply put, a watershed is the land from which water drains on its way to the nearest bayou, river, lake or bay. Your watershed address bears the name of that accepting water body. For example, I live in the White Oak Bayou Watershed. Water from my yard makes its way into the stormdrain and flows, unfiltered, to White Oak Bayou and ultimately empties into Galveston Bay.
Galveston Bay is a complex mixture of salt and fresh water and is teaming with life. On the land, it is surrounded by prairies and marshes which form rich estuaries, or nurseries, for marine species like crabs, shrimp and oysters. The entire area supports a vibrant, diverse wildlife population. Galveston Bay also ends up being a repository for pollutants found in urban runoff. Stormwater, or rainwater, flows from surfaces that cannot absorb water—impervious surfaces like roofs, streets and parking lots—and from our own landscapes carrying with it substances like motor oil, litter, fertilizers, pesticides and pet waste that all end up in the bay. One way we can make a difference in the health of our watershed and of Galveston Bay is to use landscaping practices that are bay-friendly—working with, not against nature. (more…)

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Welcoming rains gave Houston some reprieve from the drought. However, already we seem to be back to hot, dry conditions. In addition, a fact we cannot ignore is that the population of the Houston area is predicted to double within twenty years, making water restrictions a real possibility even with our more normal 54 inch average annual rainfall.  Whatever the case, the drought gave us an opportunity to rethink the way we view landscapes. This year, as you continue to plant or as you prepare for your fall garden, think about how you can make your yard “watersmart”. The watersmart landscape is a resilient, sustainable landscape in which beauty and function coexist in an eco-friendly environment. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you take a fresh look at your landscape.

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