Good Gardens With Less Water - Australia

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Good Gardens With Less Water - Australia

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  • 1. GOOD GARDENS WITH LESS WATER

2. GOOD GARDENS WITH LESS WATERK EVIN H AN D RE CK CSIRO PUBLISHING GARDENING GUIDES 3. Netherwood Horticultural Consultants Pty Ltd 2008All rights reserved. Except under the conditions described in the Australian Copyright Act 1968 and subsequentamendments, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in anyform or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, duplicating or otherwise, without theprior permission of the copyright owner. Contact CSIRO PUBLISHING for all permission requests.National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry Handreck, Kevin, 1938 Good gardens with less water/author, Kevin Handreck. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Publishing, 2008. 9780643094703 (pbk.) CSIRO Publishing gardening guides Includes index. Bibliography. Landscape gardening Water conservation Australia. Drought-tolerant plants. 635.0994Published byCSIRO PUBLISHING150 Oxford Street (PO Box 1139)Collingwood VIC 3066AustraliaTelephone: +61 3 9662 7666Local call:1300 788 000 (Australia only)Fax: +61 3 9662 7555Email: [email protected] site:www.publish.csiro.auFront cover (clockwise, from top right):Leucospermum gerrardii; image by iStockphoto; Stylidium elongatum; terracing on a steep slope;Italian capsicums; image by iStockphoto; image by iStockphotoBack cover (clockwise, from top right):Drainage pipe; Dryandra formosa; Yates Tuscan planter; a potted agave; cherry tomatoesSet in 10.5/14 Adobe ITC New BaskervilleCover and text design by James KellyTypeset by Desktop Concepts Pty Ltd, MelbournePrinted in Singapore by ImagoAll illustrations in this book are by the author unless otherwise acknowledged.Note: For simplicity, some trade names are used in the text of this book or can be seen on illustrations.No endorsement of these products is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products that are notmentioned or illustrated. 4. CONTENTSPreface viiAcknowledgementsix 1Causes of water shortages1 2Plants and water 5 3Know your soil 29 4Organic matter and soils 39 5Your soil is a reservoir 45 6Water quality55 7Delivering water to your plants67 8Garden watering systems85 9Mulches: the facts 9510New gardens and new gardens from old 10511Dealing with too much water11312Lawns11713Water for plants in pots 13114Testing potting mixes147Appendix 1 Sources of extra information150Index153 v 5. Grevillea Superb is a showy cross between G. banksii and G. bipinnatifida that is best suited to warm temperateareas. 6. PREFACEDuring the last 10 years or so, gardening in muchas the global warming to which we allof Australia has become more difficult. Watercontribute bites harder. If we want to have therestrictions have progressively become moremany benefits that gardens provide, we need tosevere as drought has intensified its grip on all of make the most of the water that is available toour largest cities and their hinterlands. Theseus. That means using ALL the water that isrestrictions have progressed from mild (watering provided free to us via rain, and recycling toallowed every second day or three times athe garden as much as possible of the waterweek), through once-a-week watering viathat we use in our homes.drippers to, in increasingly large areas, bucket I want to show you how it is possible to have aonly, and in others, a total ban on the application lovely garden even when water restrictions areof municipal water direct to the garden. severe. The knowledge contained in this book,Gardeners might argue that these restrictionssupplemented where appropriate withare unfair, as they do not always address waterinformation freely available on the websitesuse by industry and within the home. But listed, will, I am sure, enable you to do this. Ibefore you get too agitated, spare a thought for will show you that with a little thought andirrigation farmers, some of whom have had to some effort, it is possible to have a beautifulwatch their lifes work die because their watergarden almost anywhere in Australia even withallocation has been slashed. the most severe restrictions on the use of water from municipal supplies.Water shortages are likely to get worse in allparts of Australia except the far northern tropics There are several sets of characters in this book. The central character is water. It is essential to all life. Waters from different sources are not all created equal though; they come with different amounts of dissolved salts and sometimes other contaminants. One part of this book will show you how to assess water from different sources and how to use this information when you use these kinds of waters in your garden. The characters of the second set are almost beyond counting. They are the many thousands of plants that you can choose from to produce the visible part of your garden. They will notAlmost every edition of every Australian newspaper thank you if you have put them in anhas at least one article about water.environment they do not like. Life will bevii 7. easiest for you as their carer, and for them, if source of carbon dioxide, without which thereyou have chosen only plants that like your are no plants. The second provides the energysoil and climate, and that manage with the that is essential for plants to use carbonamount and quality of water that you can dioxide, take up water and grow.provide to them. There is of course another character you, thePlants get most of their water from thegardener. It is you who will enjoy the gardenmedium in which they are growing. This that you have created out of water, plants andgrowing medium will generally be a soil, soil. It is you who may well have a longer andsometimes natural, sometimes a blend more satisfying life because of your efforts. It isproduced by a soil supplier. It could also be ayou who will know that your garden is soakingpotting mix. To allow your plants to get the up some of the extra carbon dioxide that is themost out of the water you or rain provide to major cause of the water shortages we arethem, it is desirable that you understandexperiencing in Australia. You know that you aresomething of the interaction between water providing oxygen for yourself and others throughand growing media. The third set of characters the plants of your garden.of this book is therefore soils and othergrowing media. Their ability to hold and Enjoy your garden.supply water is fundamental to having a good KEVIN HANDRECKgarden, even with less water. Managing Director, Netherwood HorticulturalA couple of invisible characters support the Consultants Pty Ltd, Adelaide,others. These are air and light. The first is theand former CSIRO Soil ScientistIf only we had this much water in southern Australia! Victoria Falls, ZimbabweZambia border.viii GOOD GARDENS WITH LESS WATER 8. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis book was initiated by my publisher TedQueensland; Jon Lamb, Jon LambHamilton of CSIRO Publishing. I thank himCommunications; Simon Leake, Sydneyfor persisting against my initial reluctance and Environmental and Soil Laboratory; Lesleyfor his expert guidance. Retirement for both Lopez, Burkes Backyard Magazine; Timpublisher and author is no barrier toMaguire, Toro Australia; Basant Maheshwari,accomplishment. This book could not have CRC for Irrigation Futures; Don Marriott,been produced without the help I receivedAdvanced Irrigation Consultants; Johnfrom many individuals and organisations. I amMcDonald, Nursery & Garden Industryparticularly indebted to the following.Queensland; Mitre 10, Malvern, South Australia; Tom Morley, DPI Victoria; JohnRob Bickford, CSIRO; Kate Blood, DepartmentNeylan, AGCSA; Jann OConnor, Irrigationof Primary Industries, Victoria; Keith Bodman, Australia; Bob Patterson, Lanfax Laboratories;Rio Tinto; Chris Brady, Bureau of MetereologyChris Pfeffer, DNRW, Brisbane; Tony Robinson,(BoM), Adelaide; John Brennan, Water Sydney Water; Therese Scales, TikalaraCorporation, Western Australia; Don Bromley, Designs; Chris Smith, Weathermatic Australia;The Container Connection; Bruce Brooks,Diana Snape; Richard Stirzaker, CSIRO; NathanBoM, Adelaide; Bunnings, Mile End, South Syme, Jeffries; Greg Thomas, McCrackensAustralia; Jolyon Burnett, CEO IrrigationWater Services; Tony Thomson, Department ofAustralia; Butlers Irrigation, Adelaide; Bob Water, Land, and Biodiversity ConservationCampbell, Sage Horticulture; Colin Campbell; (DWLBC), South Australia; Thelma andIan Chivers, Native Seeds Pty Ltd; Geoff Malcolm Vandepeer; Gerard White,Connellan; Geoff Cresswell, CresswellPayneham Plant Wholesalers; Troy Whitmarsh,Horticultural Services; Ken Cuming,Reece Irrigation.Moisturematic Controls; Bianca Dimont, My special thanks go to my wife Eleanor, whoDepartment of Natural Resources and Water critically reviewed the several drafts, and(DNRW), Brisbane; Tim Durham, Eynesbury; insisted that I write clearly and logically. NoSid Dyer, A2Z Planter Technology; Rodger weasel words, marketing-talk or sloppinessElliot; Kathy Errey, Payneham Plant were permitted.Wholesalers; John Gransbury, Hydroplan; CliffHignett, Soil Water Solutions; Des Horton, CityWest Water; David Huett, New South Wales KEVIN HANDRECKAgriculture; Daryl Joyce, University ofAdelaide, September 2007 ix 9. A major cause: people and their machines. (Photo: Ted Hamilton) 10. C AU S E S O F WAT ERS H O R TAG E SThere are three major causes for the currentrainfall across southern Australia, butrestrictions on water use in our gardens. increased rainfall in the tropics and in partsof central Australia (see the references listedThe main cause is reduced rainfall, which inin Appendix 1 for detailed information).turn is due to the increasing concentrations ofScientists have shown that when rainfallthe greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, nitrousdecreases by 10%, there is 3050% decreaseoxide and methane in the atmosphere. Thein runoff into streams and reservoirs. Thecarbon dioxide and nitrous oxi