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Adding Value To your Living and Working Experience



It has been a trying season for garden owners. Parched lawns, drooping shrubs and dead filler plants  are the awful sight that you around town.

The rains have delayed and resulted in drought conditions. Gardeners are now forced to choose what to save and what to sacrifice in the garden.

 With limited water, gardens are relegated to the rear in terms of water needs. The result is that in a few weeks the scorching heat will leave our gardens fried dry. And come the rainy season- in April - homeowners will be out on the prowl to replace died out plants.

Yet this need not be the case. You can avoid the gardening sorrows associated with drought if you drought-proof your garden.  By using the techniques outlined below, you can wriggle through drought with your garden still thriving.

Use Indigenous Plants

The easiest way to drought-proof your garden is at the planting stage. Here choose plants that are indigenous to the locality. Indigenous plants are those plants that occur naturally in your local area and have adapted   to the local environmental conditions. As a result they carry themselves through the seasons with less tending-after all they have survived it all; the changing seasons, the severest of droughts and the human impact.  An added advantage of indigenous plants is that they provide food sources and habitats for local fauna; insects, birds and rodents. Though some plants may not be originally indigenous to your area, they nevertheless may have come from areas around the globe with similar environmental conditions as your area.  Such will easily blend in and exert less demand on resources including water.


Plant zoning

Plants differ in their water requirements. Some plants require less water than others. Group plants with similar water needs together. This zoning will ensure that watering is done separately and that no plant receives more than it really needs. An impatiens or Iresine herbastii  lumped together with day lilies or succulents may upon showing signs of water stress trigger a wholesale hosing of a border which may not be necessary.

Plant location and Mulching

Position plants in the garden according to their requirements. Plants that require shade will need frequent watering when grown in full sun thereby using more water than they would otherwise need.

Again note that plants that are healthy and vibrant require less water than sickly ones. You can nourish your garden by incorporating lots compost in the soil. Compost not only feeds the soil with nutrients but also helps in water retention.

Apply mulch to your beds to help reduce water evaporation. Mulch also helps control weeds which use up water meant for your plants. As it decomposes, it breaks down into organic matter that attracts micro organisms, which burrow it into the soil-improving, the soil structure.

Plant drought tolerant

These are plants which by nature are adapted to dry conditions. These drought tolerant plants have certain adaptations that help cushion them against water loss. Such adaptations range from reduces leaf size like lavenders, aromatic oils in rosemary and thyme and grey leaves in for wild olives. Then there are the traditional water savers in garden. Plants like Agapanthus, bouganivilleas, bromeliads, succulents, agaves and cactuses thrive with bare watering. By planting these types of plants you will be assured of less water demand upfront.

All around Nairobi, Bougainvilleas are thriving unpertubed by the drought conditions.

Trenched Beds

When growing vegetables, it is advisable to use trenched beds. Here trenches are dug and under laid with organic matter. The trench is then topped up with soil. This bed system is self contained as little water and nutrients leach out and trenches allow for water harvesting.

Harvest water

While we hope to cope with the drought, harvesting your water during the rains could make your  situation more bearable. If only many households could harness and harvest this water channeling it into tanks, pans  and ponds , many of our gardens wouldn’t be in such a sorry state during this dry spell –and the water bill wouldn’t be such  an irritating expense after all.

Responsible watering

Finally practice responsible watering. A lot of the watering is done casually- alight sprinkling to arouse plants. This shallow watering has most of the water evaporating. Watering should be sustained so that the roots are deep drenched. It is better to water less often but deeply than to routinely water shallowly. Deep watering encourages deeper root development which in turn helps the plant scour for water and nutrients underneath.

If you water shallowly, the roots will come up to the surface to look for water. During drought, these exposed roots will



Traditional clay pots loose moisture through the porous surfaces. One way to keep them moist is to do double planting. Install the plant in a plastic pot, then place in inside a clay pot. There will be less evaporation.

If you apply these approaches   your garden will survive the dry season unscathed.




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