Gardening with less water and more imagination

My nopals are growing out of the tiny garden I made for them.

Hey, can you tell I got a hair cut?  Short hair takes less water.

Another order from the governor to conserve water – well, where you been Jerry? We’ve been cutting back on our water usage here since 1991.  I’ve been killing lawn for a couple of years now, rocking flower beds, planting cactus instead of flowers, and just trying to hold on to my big trees. 

Frankly, it’s bad to get in a rut, get too comfortable doing the same things all the time. I enjoy gardening, and using less water has made me use my imagination.

I planted these pink valerian along the fence and over the years they've moved up this crack in the patio slab.

I planted these pink valerian along the fence and over the years they’ve moved up this crack in the patio slab. I never water them, they survive on rain water. 

I found out, a lot of the plants I already had are very happy in Northern California, made to grow with less water. They are thriving in this weather.

Echinacea do better in a pot - their roots are apparently delicious.

Echinacea do better in a pot – their roots are apparently delicious.

For years I toted one little echinacea in a pot, every time I’d try to set it in the ground the gophers would come after it. I finally decided to stick with pots, got a much bigger one, and wow, look out, echinacea explosion! The flowers on this pot got so tall last year I had to stake them with bamboo. This year I moved it to a spot next to the patio where it gets less intense sun – and you guessed it – I only have to water it a couple of times a week instead of having it on the drip system. 

I’ve put out pots in various locations around the yard, see who does well.

I nuzzled a few of these smaller pots of echinacea into my cactus /succulent garden. I think the contrast of pink flowers on rocks is going to be lovely.

I nuzzled a few of these smaller pots of echinacea into my cactus /succulent garden. I think the contrast of pink flowers on rocks is going to be lovely.  The cactus shade them during midday, so they only need water a couple of times a week.

My nopals have loved this weather, they are growing nodules all over.  

Here's the mother plant. There's Biscuit enjoying a refreshing drink out of her swimming pool. Don't tell Jerry Brown what a bunch of hosers we are!

I’m expanding my cactus garden this year, putting some little succulents in my strawberry pots.  There’s Biscuit enjoying a refreshing drink out of her swimming pool. Remember your dogs this summer. They cool off through their mouth and their feet, keep plenty of water around your yard and change it often.

I took all the strawberries out of my strawberry pots - they require constant watering. But, this little fellow and a few other stragglers have grown in around the base of plants that get water, and they will probably put off a few tiny berries to be eaten by bugs. I don't mind.

I took all the strawberries out of my strawberry pots – they require constant watering. But, this little fellow and a few other stragglers have grown in around the base of plants that get water, and they will probably put off a few tiny berries to be eaten by bugs. I don’t mind.

Here's my helper - he reminds me, "let's play before it gets too hot..."

Here’s my helper – he reminds me, “let’s play before it gets too hot…”

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2 thoughts on “Gardening with less water and more imagination

    • Thanks for coming over, I like to show off these big cactus. I had one plant my mother gave me in a pot for years, it was like a mummy, just barely stayed alive as I toted it from house to house. When I finally set it in the ground, it turned into a little family.

      It’s called Nopal, and the baby nodules are called “nopalitos”. It sure looks like prickly pear, but as long as I’ve had it, I’ve never seen the little red fruits that prickly pear get. There are nasty, needle-like spines on the mature lobes. Like the prickly pear, the young leaves are thornless and edible. Our local grocery store sells them in the produce department. I’ve heard you can grill them and throw them on a salad. I’ve also heard you can pickle them.

      This “e-how” article seems to say they are the same plant.

      http://www.ehow.com/info_12304163_difference-between-cactus-pear-nopale-cactus-fruit.html

      I do know, everywhere Mexicans live, you find them – there’s even one on the Mexican flag!

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