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Dreaming of Summer? Start Planning a Water-Wise Garden Now!


This past summer was long and dry and your garden and lawn may have suffered. Early spring is the perfect time to take stock of which plants did well, and which didn’t and to make choices that will prepare the garden for next summer.  Here are some tips for how to use your early spring downtime to create a more resilient and beautiful garden:

Research water-wise plants.
Many native plants and adapted plants are well suited to our Willamette Valley climate.  An adapted plant is one that is originally from a comparable climate or is adapted to tolerate similar conditions. They can handle the long dry summers and eight to nine months of “liquid sunshine.” By choosing plants that are right for the conditions in your yard, you can cut down on watering and maintenance costs. Check out these great guides to Water-Efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley and Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards.  

Make a planting plan. 
Does your yard have full sun, shade or a combination? Is your soil type similar throughout your space or do you have a mix?  By grouping plants with similar drainage, sunlight and water needs you’ll have happier plants and save water. If you want some inspiration or help making a plan, check out these upcoming free naturescaping workshops through East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation DistrictPortland Nursery and Livingscape also offer lots of free gardening educational opportunities.  

Schedule a weekend to mulch.
Mulching your garden is one of the best ways to retain soil moisture to create a resilient and lush garden. Mulching is often easier to do in the spring before perennials have come up. Look at your calendar now and make a plan to mulch. Did you know that some places can even blow the mulch into your garden? This can be expensive, but it is an easy, no mess way to get the mulch in the garden.  Learn more about the benefits of mulch in this OSU Extension article.


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