What a Difference Some Rain Makes

by Donna Lewis

I thought most of my pollinator garden was done for.  I could not afford to continue watering every day just to keep the plants alive.  And yes, most of the plants are Texas natives.  Still, the 100-plus degree temperatures were too much stress for the plants to bear.  

I also put out sprinklers every evening around 6:00 pm for the tons of birds that came to cool off.  It was so nice to see them bathing and just having a happy get together with their friends. But a very high electric bill was putting a dent in our budget. The plant watering would have to be limited, but the birds would still get their sprinkler party in the evening.

The watering caused our electricity to go up because the pump on our well is electric. I wish I had an old windmill to do the job, but they need maintenance also. In my younger days I could have climbed up on an old wooden windmill. If I were to fall off now, it would be bad. While I used to bounce, now I break.

Anyway, after about three inches of much needed rain last week, so much stuff popped up again that I thought was gone.  YAY!  Now for a few days all I have to do is clean and fill the bird baths. 

We still need to keep thinking about and observing what plants did make it through the extreme weather, because this heat with no water may become the norm. What and how we garden must change.   Just keep looking and learning.

Hooray for milkweed!

And remember, who are you gardening for?

Donna’s Garden Starting in January and Going All the Way to December of 2021

by Donna Lewis

I was asked to show the progress of my pollinator garden as the year goes on and to say a few things about what I do as it goes forward.

Bonus dog!

As you can imagine, I can only mention a few things, because gardening is an ongoing project every day. Each year the garden is different. Sometimes Mother Nature supplies plenty of water and wind born native plant seeds. But sometimes she decides to hold on to her precious water. You must be observant.

Sleepy vines

Just the water alone can determine what plants will be successful.

Right now the garden is asleep, as it should be. The leaves protect many things beside the plants. They are the blanket that keeps things warm. There are butterfly chrysalis that stay there until Spring tells them it’s time to wake up. So, removing the leaf litter too soon can steal from the garden the very animals you are hoping to see. Timing is everything!

Leaf litter is on duty.

Is there a rigid rule that I use to know when it’s time to clean up the garden?

NO!!!   If I knew that I would be famous.

Keeping the good kind of litter in its place.

I usually start now to just tidy up a few things. Nothing major. We all know that the last freeze has not happened, and we don’t know when it will.

Last year’s stems.

I had to pick up the mess the storm left just a week ago. Many limbs and bushes were broken. I cleaned all that up and removed it.

We’ll see what comes back in this circle!

In January, as in all months, you want to keep the water sources for your birds clean. My bird feeders are not inside the garden, but just outside it. That keeps the seed debris, rats, and feral cats from living in the garden.

Lots of water options

Soon as it warms up, I will begin to see what vines, bushes, and plants are reborn. Some gave their life for the garden last year, and I will have to reseed or replant them again.      The real miracle of gardening is about to start again.

A great place for birds to hang out.

Is it a lot of physical work? Yes it is. But, to me nothing you love to do is really work. My goal as always is not just to have a retreat to renew myself, but to help the wild things that share the planet with us.

I always try to learn what they need, and that’s what I put in the garden.

So, we’ll watch the garden blossom together.

Rest on a bench while Donna’s garden rests!