Monday, August 10, 2015

Water in our Country Landscping

With all the talk about water during our current drought, I thought about how important water is when you live in the country and your only source of water is your well.

We have always been concerned about how much water we use. We have been lucky with our well. It is not particularly deep and gives us an average of 12 gallons a minute production. Many residences in the are have only 3-5 gallons/minutes production. One of the first things we did was purchase a 5,000 gallon holding tank. The tank has a float which signals the well pump to send more water when the tank gets to a predetermined level. We have two pressure tanks at the holding tank to send water to the house. At the time we built Lucinda's we were not required to have a holding tank: we just thought it was a good idea for our water supply. Now, all new construction must have holding tanks. All the wineries are required to have multiple holding tanks;  the size of the winery determines how many tanks.

The majestic oak tree across the drive from the house is our visual focal point, but the real thing to look at is the open area in front of the tree,and its natural look.  The horseshoe pit is in the right middle of the photo
We have minimal landscaping at Lucinda's. We are a country inn and should look that way. The surrounding natural vegetation should be the focus of the landscaping. Those of you who have visited the Inn have probably noticed the large open area in front of the majestic oak tree. At one time we thought about making a terraced lawn in that area for croquet and badminton. But the amount of water needed to maintain a lush green lawn of that size made us decide not to have the lawn, natural is a great look. Instead we have a horseshoe pit and a pentanque court  which do not require water.

Planning landscaping in the country is challenging. In addition to water issues, we have our native population who eat everything that is nice and green. Our deer have not read the list of "deer resistant" plants. And if you think the deer are bad, they are nothing compared to the time one of our neighbor's cows escaped and decided to check out our property. I had not realized how large the mouth of a cow is. A cow can devour several day lilies in a single chomp. Over time we have found the plants that work best on our property. In general, our deer don't bother the day lilies other than the occasional nibble. The pyracantha is holding its own and slowly growing. Our butterfly bushes attract hummingbirds and butterflies. In the spring and summer we do have baskets of "color". Most of it is out of reach of the critters. All our planted vegetation is on a drip system.

Trellis with the hanging pots at the Tower Entrance

You may have noticed that the winery tasting rooms in Fair Play also have minimal formal landscaping. Any need for water is focused on the crop -- grapes. Except for irrigating the vines in the early years, grapes in the area are dry farmed. They get moisture they need during the winter and do not need to be watered as much in the summer. In fact, they like to get stressed a little. Most of the soil in Fair Play is decomposed granite and very loamy; great for drainage but not for holding moisture and therefore watering the deep roots.

We are always concerned about our water situation, but particularly this year. Our rainfall was about 2/3 of an average year, but we are dependent on the water table. Let's hope for more rain this year. Let's hope the El Nino, the weather people have talked about, happens.

'Til Next Time....