Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved
REQUIEM FOR A LAWNMOWER by Sally and Andy Wasowski is a book about using less water. They are our guests this morning and we are happy to welcome them.
The first chapter of their book is Stop Fighting Mother Nature. It deal with practical suggestions about using native plants to beautify our landscapes and make less work for us in our gardening pursuits.
Chapter thirteen is the namesake chapter. REQUIEM FOR A LAWNMOWER introduces one of Sally’s axioms. “The more boring the front yard, the greater the need for upkeep and maintenance.
One of the best perennial flowers is the desert four o’clock (Mirabilis multiflora). With its lavender blooms, spreading growth habit and minimal maintenance needs, it is an outstanding performer in any low water garden.
Most of the penstemons of the world are native to the western United states and Utah has some of the world’s most diverse groups of these plants. Penstemon strictus or Rocky Mountain penstemon is one of the easiest to grow and is an outstanding performer.
Another favorite is the bronze onethera. It is highly drought tolerant and grows almost like a groundcover and has beautiful flowers.
Favorite shrubs include rubber rabbit brush. Some people consider it a weed, but for a zero water use landscape, it is exceptional. There are several color form that are now available. He also likes the Rhus aromatica var. trilobata or aromatic sumac. It grows well and turns mahogany red in the fall.
Fallugia paradoxa or Apache plume is one shrub choice as it has an attractive flower and even more interesting seed head. I also like the Chamaebatiaria millefolium or fernbush because it grows well and need little care.
Great Basin Wild Rye is an outstanding grass species. Indian Rice grass as another favorite because it makes such a nice mounded growth and it is pretty all winter.
Two trees complete the choices. They are the Bigtooth maple with its outstanding fall color and the Sensation boxelder that has a nice different fall color, grows quickly and is drought tolerant.
Growing natives is more than just choosing plants. These plants also need the right growing conditions. Always place them in areas with good year-around drainage. Water-logged soils, even in winter starve roots of oxygen and cause them to die.
Although they are drought tolerant, plants need water until they are established. Deep watering every 7-10 days during the first year helps establish a healthy drought resistant root system. Shallow watering keeps plants alive but make them drought susceptible.
In REQUIEM FOR A LAWNMOWER Sally and Andy Wasowski give practical advice as well as how-to garden and save water. It is published by Taylor Trade Publishing.