Our winter and early spring weather forecasts were full of warnings about snowpack in the mountains, which is what we rely on for water in the summer. We had less rain than a normal winter, which meant less snow up in the mountains. And when the weather turned warm early in spring, it meant that the snowpack that was in the mountains started melting early. 2019 is currently shaping up to be one of Washington's worst droughts since they started keeping records. You can read about it here.
I have a lot of garden to keep watered. I dislike summer weather, so there is no way in hell that I'm going to spend a day outside watering it all by hand. In fact, that would BE hell, especially since I have asthma and our last few summers have been smoky from wildfires. And although the system I have implemented this year seems to be working, I still hate it, because it's ugly and obtrusive and full of trip hazards.
The Front Garden
|Here's my front faucet|
|My front faucet has this minor monstrosity attached to it -- a timer with four connections that lets me water once a week for an hour|
Hose No. 1
Hose No. 1, the first one on the left, goes into the front foundation bed and connects to...
|The flexible fabric hose that connects it snakes through the other end of the bed, circles around this pot...|
|...crosses the gravel path....|
|...into another bed....|
|...where it connects to this second sprinkler.|
|Another flexible fabric hose then connects that sprinkler....|
|...across this path....|
And that's the end of the line for Hose No. 1.
Hose No. 2
The second hose connection on the timer that's connected to my front faucet feeds two sprinklers in the new meadow bed that I planted up this spring.
|The second hose goes across the gravel (actually the third hose goes across the gravel too, to a different bed, we'll get to that)...|
|...where the excess gets messily coiled up here...|
|...and then continues into the bed...|
|...where it connects to this sprinkler....|
|...which is daisy-chained to this sprinkler.|
And that's the end of the line for Hose. No. 2. Those two sprinklers give pretty good coverage for the entire meadow bed, which is about 50 feet long by ten feet wide.
Ugh, that bed already needs a good weeding.
Hose No. 3
|Hose No. 3 runs along the side of the new meadow bed, heading all the way to the street|
|...along this little path that cuts through the hell strip bed to the street...|
|...where the excess is curled up...|
|...and disappears into this bed...|
|...to connect to this sprinkler....|
|...which is daisy-chained via a flexible fabric hose....|
|...to a second sprinkler|
And that's the end of Hose no. 3.
There are a couple of beds in the front that get no water.
|At the moment this bed in the front garden has not been watered yet this summer. If I feel ambitious in a few weeks maybe I'll give it a hand watering.|
|This little herb bed also gets no summer water|
The fourth hose that's connected to the timer is for hand watering, which I use to water the potted plants on the front porch or in the greenhouse.
And that's just the front garden. Are you still with me? Bored to tears? It's pretty tedious, believe me, I know. I dread the deadly tedious chore of setting this crap up every year.
I have a lot of new plants in the front garden this year, which means they need watering once a week. But my goal is to eventually be able to water it once every three weeks.
The Back Garden
I have a similar battery-operated timer connected to the faucet in the back. The beds in the back garden have been established longer than the ones in the front, and are set up to be watered every two weeks for an hour.
|Three hoses snake across the patio in every direction|
Hose No. 1
|The one on the left...|
|...goes down the right hand side of the path...|
|...where the excess gets coiled up...|
|...and then it's connected to this single sprinkler, which waters the Ruby Red Death Bed. (Please do me the favor of ignoring the weeds in the gravel -- yes, there's gravel there)|
Hose No. 2
|The second hose travels across the front of the Ruby Red Death Bed, where in spots it is actually pegged into the ground with earth staples...|
|...into this bed...|
|...around this big rock...|
|...to this sprinkler...|
|which is daisy-chained via another hose, whose excess is coiled around this rock..|
|...snaked through the bed...|
|...to that sprinkler|
And that's where the second connection ends.
Hose No. 3
|The third hose on the far right snakes through the pots at the foot of the back stairs...|
|...along the side of the porch...|
|...around the patio...|
|...where it disappears into this bed...|
|...and comes out here...|
|...with a few extra coils...|
|where it's connected to three sprinklers that are daisy-chained with flexible fabric hoses -- One...|
There are three beds in the back garden that have been getting little to no water at all so far this summer.
|I stood and hand watered this bed once|
|This bed, which runs in front of the stream, as well as the one that runs in back of the stream, have not been watered at all|
|I really should rescue this poor Brunnera|
|My Catalpa is not particularly happy either|
|And this bed, beside the shed near the compost bins, has not had summer water for the last two summers. No water at all. Somehow the plants have survived. They don't always look happy at the end of the summer, but they live.|
I despise it. But I can't help feeling like I'm missing something. I've visited some gorgeous, lush NPA gardens recently, with no sign anywhere of how they water. Am I dense? Is there some obvious better solution that I just haven't figured out? What's the magic secret?