If you’ve seen any of the area lakes lately, it shouldn’t be a big surprise Rockwall County is now in Stage 3 Water Conservation effective Nov. 1, 2011. PLEASE CONSERVE WATER!!!! Here are the guidelines:

* Stage 3 in effect until March 31, 2011
* Limit landscape watering with sprinklers and irrigation systems to once every two weeks
* Eliminate watering between 10 am – 6 pm
* Foundations, new landscaping, new plantings (first year) of shrubs and trees may be watered for up to two hours by hand held hose, soaker hose, or a dedicated zone using drip irrigation.
* Wait until the current drought has passed before establishing new landscaping. No hydro-seeding, hydro-mulching or sprigging allowed.
* Do not drain or refill swimming pools except to replace normal water loss.
* Halt non-essential city government water use including street cleaning, vehicle washing, operation of ornamental fountains, etc.
* Accelerate public education efforts on ways to reduce water usage by 10%.

WATER SCHEDULE

Address:
Odd numbers water 11/1, 11/15, 11/29, 12/13, 12/27, 1/10, 1/24, 2/7, 2/21, 3/6, 3/20
Even numbers water 11/3, 11/17, 12/1, 12/15, 12/29, 1/12, 1/26, 2/9, 2/23, 3/8, 3/22

As hard as it is to imagine temperatures will start dropping soon as fall has oficially arrived. It’s a great time to replace or add plants, add some winter color with some pansies and other cold loving plants and flowers, and get those flower beds cleaned up. If your home is on the market it is especially important to have great curb appeal. The Patient Gardener can help you with all of that!

Fall is such a great time for arts festivals, State Fair, haunted houses, sausage on a stick, corn dogs, pumpkins, giving thanks, enjoying family, and just having fun without the heat of summer! While I am not a fan of cold weather I will admit this was a brutal summer. Many thanks to our employees who endured long, very hot days in order to keep up with our customer’s needs.

Have you driven over the lake on Hwy 66 lately? It’s an awful sight. You can see the old bridge from 30 or so years ago and practically walk across the lake it is so low. Please remember we are still under Stage 2 water restrictions (posted in an earlier blog). I actually saw someone washing off their entire driveway the other day. It was all I could do not to stop and say “Hey idiot, don’t you know we are in severe drought?” He probably doesn’t care anyway. He is definitely the type you want Code Enforcement to drive by when he is doing something really stupid. OK, enough!!!

Thanks for visiting The Patient Gardener website and blog. Check back often for updates!

Gosh, last week it almost, and I do mean almost, felt like fall outside. Now we are back in the 100′s for a few days. I’m not sure if you’ve driven over the lake on Hwy. 66 in the past few days but it is an awful site. The lake is so low you and literally walk across it. Please remember to conserve water and only water on your designated days and times (outlined in a previous blog).

Well, on another note, The Patient Gardener is anxiously awaiting opening day at The State Fair of Texas!! Fletcher’s Corny Dogs for breakfast…YUMM! This year Fried Salsa, Fried Upside Down Pineapple Cake, Fried Bubble Gum (I think I will pass on that one!) There is just something about that booming voice coming from Big Tex “Welcome to The State Fair of Texas” that brings back memories from being a kid and going to the fair with my dad.

Back to the garden…The Patient Gardener wants to remind everyone that spring is a great time for planting. It’s also a great time to clean up those flower beds and plant bulbs for beautiful flowers next spring.

It’s hard to believe cooler weather is not far after suffering through such an extreme summer. The Patient Gardener will be taking a 3 day weekend for Labor Day. We hope many of you will also enjoy an extra day off.

For many people this extreme heat has resulted in plants, trees, shrubs, and grass dying. While replacing plants is never fun, it is sometimes necessary to maintain the landscape of your home or office. Fall is a great time for planting. With cooler temperatures, new plantings do not suffer heat stress and have an opportunity to establish before very cold temperatures arrive.

Thanks for visiting The Patient Gardener website and blog. Check back frequently for updates!

Happy Labor Day.

This is the most fantastic time of year to watch those feisty, playful and competitive little cuties dance around backyard feeders. While hummingbird feeders do require regular maintenance, it is a thrilling site for anyone at any age. These fascinating little creatures are the tiniest bird in the world weighing only up to 20 grams.

The Patient Gardener uses and recommends the inexpensive plastic feeders you can find most anywhere.  We recently saw some glass ones at the TNLA Show called “Best 1″ hummingbird feeder. It’s supposed to be wasp proof (even those poor boogers are starving for a drink). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to buy one there but will update you once I’ve tried it. Here’s some easy tips on making your own nectar and maintaining your feeders:

MAKING THE NECTAR: Nectar should be made at a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. It will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks so make mix 4 cups of water and 1 cup sugar. I used to boil the water but saw a friend using filtered water so now that’s what I do. The hummingbirds seem to like it just the same. It’s important to follow this formula as it most closely represents the nectar they find in nature. 

MAINTAINING THE FEEDER: The more direct sun your feeder gets the more often it will need cleaning. Using a simple vinegar and warm/hot water solution is best. Sometimes a bit of mold will form and may require a bottle brush for cleaning. I tried using uncooked rice and shaking it around with water but in my opinion, rice should be reserved for cooking. Hummingbirds will not drink spoiled solution.

For tons of great information about hummingbirds, go to www.worldofhummingbirds.com

Clearly it’s a challenge to keep things alive much less looking good in this heat….the same could apply to me some days!

The Patient Gardener recommends deep watering of your grass. If you have a sprinkler system make sure it is going off on your designated days and set it to go off at night or early morning when it is most beneficial. Grass needs an inch of water per week so set your zones for a single or double pass. Trees, shrubs and flowers will most likely require additional watering. For deep watering of trees and shrubs we recommend either no sprinkler with the water flow on low-medium placed away from the trunk or a fixed sprinkler on very low.

Here’s some great information about sprinklers from The Home Depot:

Fixed, or stationary, sprinklers feature several different designs including rings and “salt shakers.” They cast water in a single pattern over a fixed area. Oscillating sprinklers have a long tube with numerous openings and move back and forth, emitting a fan-shaped waterfall. Impact sprinklers, sometimes called impulse sprinklers, rotate in a circle and squirt out a single jet of water, making a distinctive clicking sound as they do. Rotating sprinklers feature two or more arms and spin to disperse water in a complete circle. Sprinkler hoses lie along the ground and squirt water from tiny holes to cover a long, rectangular area. Traveling sprinklers often look like little tractors and move through your yard in a preset pattern, dragging the hose behind them. Finally, in-ground sprinkler systems are installed into the lawn and pop up at a designated time, usually cycling their way through the yard to provide complete coverage. The chart below summarizes some of the benefits of each type:

Sprinkler Type Benefits Ideal Usage
Fixed Fast and precise watering Water hard-to-reach areas Economical Multiple types Small areas Gardens Landscaping
Impact Wind-resistant Adjustable pattern Less likely to clog Lower water pressure and flow rate Large areas Front lawns Backyards
In-Ground Automatic operation Timers Complete coverage Can be programmed by zones Front, back and sides of house Landscaping Gardens
Oscillating Gentle watering Even coverage Rectangular or square pattern Medium- and large-sized areas Front and backyards Newly seeded areas
Rotating May feature adjustable jets and bases Even distribution Work quickly Medium-sized areas Gardens Front, back and sides of house
Sprinkler Hose Low flow rate Localized watering Long strips of lawn Gardens Landscaping
Traveling Cover a wide area Save time Multiple patterns available Look for automatic shutoff valve Oddly shaped yards Front, back and sides of house Hilly, uneven areas