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Landscapers Challenge Texomans to Garden to the Drought, Not Around It

Home and Garden Show vendors give tips to have a garden while we deal with very little rain fall.
Local landscaping experts it's time that people in our area realize they can have a garden despite the drought; it just may not be with the traditional plants.

Mesquite, Texas Sage, Bluebonnets, Cutleaf Daisies and Prairie Verbena are a few of the many plants, flowers and trees native to north Texas and vendors at this years home and garden show say they are the plants people need to be focusing on because they are drought tolerant.

Paul Dowlearn, owner of Wichita Valley Nursery and Landscape, says, "All of these plants that live in nature have taken every drought, every hot spell, cold spell, climate soils and god didn't over look Texas we've got some real pretty stuff."

Once you plant native plants and trees, there is an easy way to protect them: laying down mulch will help keep in moisture but you have to make sure you use the right amount.

David Graff, an agriculture extension agent, says, "That's really the number one and by far the most important thing we can do is put down three to four inches of mulch, in this situation more is not better."

To get the moisture your plants need, Graff and Dowlearn suggest when it does rain, collect water in tanks or barrels to help stretch your supply.

Graff says you don't need to collect as much as you may think.

"A thousand square feet will give you about 600 hundred gallons with a one inch rain," he says.

Another easy way to keep a green garden in dry conditions is through compost and the City of Wichita Falls has a program that will do most of the work.

Michael Harris, a Wichita Falls Organic Composite Facility representative, says, "We pick up every Wednesday, those things that you can put in that green cart are actually paper magazines, cardboard, anything that was once alive."

Once collected, they turn it into compost, which they call black gold because it supplies a variety of nutrients and microorganisms to the soil.

Dowlearn says he hopes if people take away one thing from this year's Home and garden show it's that the habits they learn now, being water conservation and creating a drought tolerant landscape, will continue to be used for generations to come.

"It goes way past gardening," he says. "In fact in the 21st century, the main buzz words gonna be sustainability because we want to have things left for our children our grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren."

Because this is not Texoma's first drought and it's likely not its last.

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