“Watering”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


“The watering of a garden requires as much judgement as the seasoning of a soup.”  Helena Rutherford Ely


We need rain.  I mean we really need rain.  It has been so hot and dry that I have had to water the garden daily.  Just yesterday, I started putting the sprinklers out for about two hours in each section so that the water will soak in deeply.  I am only watering the garden beds and not the lawn right.  Things are not really growing, just surviving right now.  When I planted the daylilies my sister gave me, the ground was very dry about eight inches down.  That is when I decided that things were desperate and long, slow watering was needed.



Look at my poor wilted mint, and it was watered just the day before.  It is getting hard to keep up with watering the containers, new plantings and cuttings, and those plants like the hydrangeas that need watering every day.


Watering is probably the one garden maintenance routine that takes up the most time in the summer. Around here there seems to be either too much or too little rain falling on the gardens.  In the last six weeks, we have had only about 2 inches of rain, so why is the grass in the back yard suffering from the fungal disease brown patch? 


I find that just about daily monitoring of the gardens is needed right now.  Plants that have been recently planted need watering almost daily with our 90 degree plus weather.  When it gets that hot, the plants just soak up the moisture in the soil so fast.  We are told to water deeply and thoroughly and to let the soil dry out a bit before watering again.  It’s that watering deeply that I have problems with.


Even though I have amended the soil in garden beds, they seem to dry out so fast.  I use mulch, too, to help conserve moisture.  Some plants are doing fine with less frequent watering – lantanas, for example.  The shrubs, except for the newly planted ones and the hydrangeas, seem to be doing okay also.  The ones that seem to need watering daily are the smaller perennials and some annuals.  Persian shield, impatiens, hibiscus – all need daily watering. 


Then, we are warned not to overwater which can be as bad or worse than underwatering.  This is because water logged roots can’t get the oxygen they need, and this causes the roots to die.


Since I already use soaker hoses and mulch to conserve water, I have decided to add more amendments this fall to the garden beds and reconsider some plant placements.  I think I need to do a better job of placing plants with similar water needs next to one another.  I think the reason some of my yellow lantanas are not blooming as well as they should is because they are getting too much water because of the daylilies that are near them.  Lately I have been trying to water the lantanas less.


Just like seasoning a soup, watering our gardens can be a delicate art.







  1. Brenda Kula said,

    July 7, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I hear ya. I’m having to water recently planted stuff sometimes twice per day. I tend to overwater. And I too need to group things better. When it’s hot I just plop stuff where there’s a space in the right sun/shade requirement. I need to heed your advice and map the garden out better.

  2. Jan said,

    July 7, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Yes, Brenda, I think this fall I may be moving things. I have done the same as you – put plants where there is sun and not worry too much about the watering requirements of nearby plants.

  3. deb said,

    July 7, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    I hear you. I busted out the sprinkler last week. As I type this at 10:15 pm, they are runnning.

  4. Jan said,

    July 8, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Hi, Deb. I will be getting some timers to put on the outside faucets so that I won’t have to go out late at night to turn off the sprinklers. Also, they will allow me to water and leave, knowing that the sprinklers won’t be running in the same area too long. I had them years ago, and they really were time and water savers.

  5. Randy said,

    July 8, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Jan, I can’t tell you how many things I’ve killed over watering them. I’t so hard to judge if plants are suffering from the heat or not getting enough water. I’ve just recently read that wiliting is not necessarily a bad thing even though it doesn’t look very good. The article said even though the plant looks bad it forces the roots to grow faster and deeper in search of water, which in the long run is a good thing.

    Thanks for the compliments on the new bed, I thought it turned out well. We are going to have to dig up the Peegees and move them out another foot or so from the house. I didn’t realize when we planted them that they actually made a tree.

    I actually thought about you yesterday, Phillip mentioned that you had agapanthus. T

  6. Randy said,

    July 8, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Sorry, I hit enter by accident and it autoposted. What I was about to say was they had the ‘Summer Gold’ variegated agapanthus that we bought marked down, so I got to thinking you may want one if you don’t already have it. I went back to the store yesterday and bought you one and a couple more for some folks I thought may want to have one when they see the post. If it’s not something you’re interested in that’s perfectly okay. I’m sure I can pass it along to someone else. 🙂 Just let me know. Also if you want to delete this long post since it’s broken into two pieces that’s fine too. 🙂

  7. Jan said,

    July 8, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Randy, like I said, watering is an art. It is a good thing you realized now that the Peegees have to be moved rather than later when they are full grown. Too many people make that mistake.

  8. Jan said,

    July 8, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Thanks, Randy. I would love to have that agapanthus. It was sweet of you to think of me. Let me know how you want to arrange things.

  9. Randy said,

    July 8, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Jan just email me your address and it will be on it’s way. I’m going to wait until Monday to send it out so we don’t chance it sitting in the heat somewhere over the weekend.

    Thanks, Randy, I’ll send you the info.

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