About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Will California's Problem Some Day Become our Problem, too?

Native Gaillardia and Rosemary -
 Two extremely drought tolerant plants
Last week I was talking on the telephone with a friend from California. One of the things we talked about was the drought problem and their new water restrictions which allow them to water two days each week for a maximum of 5 minutes each time. (Yikes! 5 minutes of water twice a week!) She then said, "needless to say, we are tearing out our yard and replacing it with desertscape." Sounds like a smart move on their part.

Even though our sub-tropical climate receives more rainfall than California, there most likely will come a day when we are no longer able to water our yards either. With continuing population growth, poor water management by authorities and less rainfall than in the past, we are already restricted to a maximum of 2 days a week or less in most parts of Florida. Many counties also have restrictions against fertilizing turf grass in the summer months.

When that day comes will your yard be self-sustaining? Or will we, like Californians today, be tearing out our lawns and replacing it with drought resistant plants and groundcover? That's a good question and one that we all should start to ponder. Even if that day never comes - - who wants to spend their hard -earned money on a large water bill every month?

Instead of having to make a big conversion someday, we can begin to make small changes today by enlarging flower beds to reduce turf area and replacing plants that die with native or drought tolerant plants. Another, easy move to make now is to plant a tree or two to provide a bit more shade. A partly shaded garden or lawn will require less water than one in full sunlight all day, especially in summer,

Don't know where to start? Check out the following resources by the University of Florida extension and others for plenty of ideas for drought tolerant plants best suited for our central Florida area:

Ten Plants that Beat the Heat

Top 5 Drought Resistant Trees

Top 5 Drought Resistant Perennials

Native Plants for your Area

10 Drought Tolerant Native Plants for the South

Plant Real Florida

So, next time you go to the nursery - think ahead - and begin the transition of your yard to one that can sustain itself on the normal rainfall we receive. Your wallet will thank you, and you'll be amazed at how easy your garden will be to take care of.

Leave a comment and share the solutions you have incorporated into your yard to reduce water usage.


daisy g said...

You're so right. Gardening with the Florida-friendly principals just makes so much sense. Water is such a precious resource, we need to be mindful of how we use it. Our garden is nearly self-sufficient because we have used those principals. Makes life so much simpler to "go with the flow".
Enjoy your weekend!

Dave Welty said...

As a person moving from Southern California to Ocala, I would like to comment. You are correct that the biggest problem causing Florida's water shortage is poor water management. The same holds true in California. There has not been a major water project in California for 30 years. Studies have shown that there is plenty of water in the state if projects are created to move it where it needs to go. Also there is no evidence that historic rainfall has decreased in either state. California and Florida have experienced welt dry cycles for centuries. Your state has had record rainfall this summer, and California should expect record rainfall this winter due to El Niño. Voters need to hold the states accountable for providing proper water infrastructure for our growing populations, not for changing the way we garden because of inaction at the state level.

Susan said...

Dave - I totally agree with you!