Feeling a little down about gardening this season

bedford8a(8a)February 25, 2014

Maybe you all can cheer me up. I just have to vent! I love to garden for hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators, but feel a little down this spring just when I should be anticipating the upcoming gardening season - it looks like it's going to be another very dry year here in North Texas and I'm wondering if I'll have any winged visitors to my gardens. On top of the dry weather, I doubt much wildlife will be left in my neighborhood since there is so much construction going on! I know North Texas's economy is booming, but whole fields are being plowed under to make strip malls and housing developments near me, and beautiful stands of trees have all been chopped down for the same reason. Between the imminent drought and the disappearance of their natural habitat, I really wonder if any creatures will be left to enjoy the garden I so carefully prepared for them. Watching the butterflies and bees gave me so much pleasure since I moved here five years ago and planted this garden, and I just feel so sad realizing it probably won't be the same again. Sigh. It just seems humans won't be happy until every square inch of the Earth is paved over so they can make a quick buck.

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PKponder TX(7b)

I know what you mean about the urban sprawl, I worry about that too. Your garden is that little oasis in the concrete, a way station for the hungry and tired :-)

The continuing drought is a huge concern. We are installing huge rainwater harvesting tanks this spring. I know the neighbors will be happy when we get those in place and privacy fenced :-) I found two of those squarish 250 gallon plastic with metal cage tanks for only $75 each. I hope we get them situated before we get some precipitation. Hubby will install regular hose faucets to connect soaker hoses with that will water the veggies and ferns out front. We've been having to water this winter, it is just bone dry.

(((Hugs))) I hope you find a reason to look forward to spring.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 8:37AM
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GreatPlains1(7OK)

Oh boy, a rant, I'm in the mood for one. My favorite prairie we always drive just got replaced with ugly sod strips of bermuda laid down like a ratty carpet late last fall and it was just painted a nice chemical green with the annual herbicide treatment. In the middle of course, there is now a building. I nearly threw up. No more Maximillian sunflowers by the thousands next fall not to mention everything else that was demolished for uninteresting civilized convention.

I keep adding drought hardy natives to my lawn-less "lawn", which is actually closer to a short grass prairie with gravel paths. Its become an obsession finding interesting new plants that can take it. I get lots of pollinators and my water use is practically nil. I am in the inner city and it doesn't stop flying visitors from visiting my garden among all the surrounding chem-sprayed bermuda and thirsty non-nectar hybrids up and down the street. Actually, too much wet is a bigger worry at times now. Last spring was perpetually wet for a month and I had some damage from that. The Russian sage was a mere shadow of itself, although it bounced back (sort of) by fall.

I did finally have to water Saturday because if those seeds I planted last fall are to have half a chance of germinating in that bone dry soil, I figured I better do something drastic.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:02PM
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DragonFlyTx

I lived in DeSoto for years, left it for 5 years and ended up coming back and it sucks. I grew up in it when it was a little country town. Two of the main streets being two lane road, land filled with horses. all that land and horses are gone now. all filled with pavement and houses. Even the people changed. All the people in my Generation moved outward to other small towns. Ironically every once in a while I see wild life here and there. One year I had two coyotes walk up to the back of my fence. I still have the same red fox that runs between my house and a neighbors house. I am pretty sure they follow the creek not too far from me. I see bees in my garden, I tend to plant flowers with my fruit and vegetables. It is my invitation for them to come to my garden. I do not see many butterflies. I use to have a horse while growing up in this town. Had it stabled on the other side of town. It was nice to take quiet rides and get lost in my own world. Sadly that stable is now a neighborhood. Ahh shuck it sucks!! I wished I had the money to afford to move.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:44PM
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sylviatexas1

Everybody's right, of course.

which means that it's all the more imporant to make & maintain, as pk says,
"that little oasis in the concrete, a way station for the hungry and tired".

When the wildlife has been reduced to a small percentage of the numbers that once flourished, it's likely that the habitat & food supply have been demolished.

That last pair of cardinals needs you to plant big thorny roses & to fill the bird feeder.

A little bit off the subject, or maybe not, is the idea of mentoring, of "spreading the gospel" of gardening to help rather than dominate nature.

Those of us who grew up when the world was a greener & less crowded place-when you could ride a horse to a friend's house, when cut grass smelled like grass, & when zillions of butterflies took flight with our every step through a pasture-have a lot to pass on to a new generation.

Sharing knowledge & skills as well as plants is a powerful way to increase our effectiveness as conservators of our beautiful world.

If we can show a friend the value of plants in the food chain, & that friend digs up the grass & plants for our birds & butterflies & pollinators,
if we can show our neighbor that poisons are bad & plants & bugs are good for her toddler, & that neighbor throws out her herbicides & plants vegetables & berries,
if we can show our brothers & sisters that lawns are high maintenance brats with expensive chemical dependencies & they till up a section & put in an herb garden, that's a step.

don't know if it's a big or a little step, but it's a step.

& every step counts a great deal when so much is being damaged & so much is being destroyed.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 9:18PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am down about the drought also.

We have a long 70' porch roof that its water is not collected yet . We are looking at adding another 1500 gallon metal tank (free with holes). I need to figure out how to plug the leaks. I think I am going to paint it with a membrane building latex paint. I can do that for about hundred dollars and a small pump to get the water it to the garden..
As it stands right now we are down to 1/8th of our water tanks for all of our water needs. so we are a little ripe and I have been watering my lettuce patch with grey water. My son takes showers at 3 am and I will wake to the noise and run outside to pore the dish pail that collects the grey water drain and empty it into some 5 gallon pail. I need to get him to shower at a more humane hour. LOL. It would be nice to have this more mechanized. Carrying to the garden is getting old.

I am hesitant to start any seeds this year and I don't think I am going do a vegetable garden after the lettuce bolts. I have some sugar peas, and kale planted. After they are done , I don't have the water to keep it going as the weather warms and ground get s thirsty.

The little drizzle we got today did not even break the .2" mark.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 11:43PM
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marti8a

DragonFlyTx, I have a neighbor who used to live in Desoto. She tells of riding her horse downtown when she was a girl.

Bedford, you'll probably find that you have more wildlife coming to your yard now that there is nearby construction. That is what happens to us every time a piece of land is sold and cleared.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:51PM
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