Grandma’s front yard flower garden was mostly populated by plants that are no longer commonly planted or cultivated. All of them were tough as nails or they didn’t survive in a dry-land flower garden.
On each side of the path to her front door, next to the yard fence gate, Lilac bushes, closer to the front door was Rose of Sharon bushes.
Climbing on her yard fence was several vine type roses and Trumpet(hummingbird vines) vines. The ones often seen growing in old cemeteries. As long as I can remember, she had 3 concord grape vines on each side of her yard supported on 2 wire trellises grandpa put up for her.
The grapes got more attention and water than anything else because they produced fresh table grapes and were made into jelly and jam.
Two sides of her porch were covered with Morning Glory vines for morning flowers and afternoon shade. Hint: Don’t let these things go to seed. They can become a real problem if not kept under controlled.
Along the drip line of the house roof was 4 O’clock bushes. She always had a few patches (beds) of assorted Hollyhocks, Zinnias and Sun flowers to brighten and add color to her front yard. Gras(s) was a four lettered word and was not tolerated in her yard. But in those days no one in the country had lawn grass. That was a city thing.
She had a yard broom made from a 1 inch cotton wood sapling with either broom weed or broom corn lashed to it that she used to ‘sweep’ her yard every Friday morning. Just in case she had weekend visitors. I was afraid of her yard broom, it looked like a witches broom to me as a young boy.
Once a week or so she would sprinkle a little water on her flower beds from a bright blue painted water can. Grin, the nearest water was taken out of a livestock water tank behind the house that was filled from the windmill pump. Overflow from this livestock tank is also where she got water for her garden. The same windmill also provided house water from a wooden tank that sat next to the windmill.
Water conservation was not a fad talked about by tree huggers sipping Starbucks $10.00 a cup specialty coffee. All the while sprinkling thousands of gallons of water on their lush green grass lawns. It was a way of life, a way of life that was required to survive on a dry-land farm.
I have spent most of my adult life living on dry-land farms and have for the past 50 years or so I have planted and grown many of the same flowering plants that I knew growing up in the country. Flowering plants that require little or no care or tap water to survive and thrive.
Something to think about this summer, the next time you set your lawn sprinkler or see your automatic lawn watering sprinklers watering your lawn during a rain storm.
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