Tammy Clayton

The end of Februrary already? My how time does fly! The sun has already become more readily available than in the past few months. Perhaps more cold and clear, but those candle-hours are important to the sleeping natural world; it is their built in clock. You cannot lie to a plant, it knows what time it is. Far more intelligent than one gives them credit for.

As you plan what to add to your garden this winter, I am sure you are paying attention to the light and water requirements all good perennial vendors attatch to each entry in their catalog. This is very important to your success with each plant. But it is possible to mix more drought loving plants with those that require more moisture in the same planting with good results. The secret lies in the substructure of each given plant's area in the bed.

Drought lovers do like some water, they will reward you with a much more beauty with some weekly water...in a drought bed. But what if you want to put say - lavender and phlox in with lobelia and ligularia? Those water requirements can really hamper one's creativity! So some knowledge of drainage engineering will give you the ability to try mixing them in the same planting area. Lavender and Phlox like drier conditions. Not that the Phlox will die in a spot where daily overhead watering is recieved. It will survive and grow huge, and flower excessively, but be stricken with fungus that makes the lower leaves yellow, icky looking and then become half defoliated. Ground watering is it's preferred daily moisturizing treatement. One can place it in a corner the sprinkler doesn't hit and water that section by hand once or twice a week and it will reward you very nicely indeed. Since Phlox is rather tall, this avenue of placing it in the back corner works out well. It likes the moisture but not on its leaves. Roses fare better this way as well, especialy since one cannot control what the heavens will pour down. Less black spot and such other marring problems will occur, if ground water is used vs. overhead.

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