Even if you haven’t watered your landscape in the past 100 days, or watered very little, get outside and give your plants a good soak. (Getty Images)

It’s dry out there, so water your yard — please!

After 100 days of no precipitation, your garden badly needs a drink. So grab a hose and get to work — it’s well worth the slightly higher water bills.

I will be the first to admit that this extended warm and dry period (100 days with only a half-inch of rain) brings with it mixed blessings.

On the one hand, all this sunshine keeps things growing and puts me in the mood to spend time in my garden, where my perennials are in their full glory and the yard continues to be full of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The early morning hours are truly magical when the sun is still low in the sky, the air is brisk and there is a glistening of dew on everything.

There is still so much going on with the fall-blooming Asters just reaching their peak, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ modulating from what looked early on like green heads of broccoli to domes of rusty pink flowers. There are drifts of blue-flowering Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ contrasting with tall red spires of Lobelia cardinalis ‘Victoria,’ wispy spikes of purple Verbena bonariensis, mounds of red, gold and rust-colored Heleniums, ornamental grasses of various colors, clouds of white and pink Guara, assorted roses, and so on and so forth.

I think you get the idea. My garden is still rich in colors and textures because I have been able to control the moisture, rather than having Mother Nature beat things down like it can often do in September.

But of course, there are downsides — the water bill, and the tedium of constantly having to water everything.

Now, I have never been shy when it comes to watering my landscape. If I am going to go to all the trouble of planting a rich palette of plant material, then I sure as heck am going to water it. I actually find it therapeutic, and it gives me a chance to connect with each little plant as I work through my various gardens, making notes to myself about who looks thirsty and who I can skip for another day or two.

In a perfect world, I would have grouped all my moisture lovers together, separate from the drought-tolerant ones, and then watered accordingly. But nothing is perfect, so I do the best I can. It seems to all work out.

As for the water bill, in the height of the season I pay just a little over $2 a day, whereas the rest of the year it runs around 50 cents a day. Now I ask you, what can you buy for $2 a day that will give you the kind of pleasure and enjoyment that a garden can. NOTHING!!! It’s a bargain, to say the least, and while we should never waste water, we shouldn’t feel guilty about using it. Thankfully, at least this year, there is no shortage of it.

One hundred days is a long time to go without any significant precipitation. You only have to look around at our native cedars and big leaf maples to see that they are struggling, and are already starting to turn fall colors and shed their leaves. My neighbor’s vine maples are turning brown as well, and a golden honey locust tree just down the street is about 50% defoliated already.

All of this could have been prevented with a little bit of water applied once or twice over these last 100 days. Even in our native landscape, plants can suffer and die from lack of water. We all have the means to prevent this from happening, and it won’t break the bank. On the other hand, replacing dead landscape material might.

Please, water your yard — it’s not too late. Even if you haven’t watered your landscape in the past 100 days, or watered very little, get outside and give your plants a good soak — they will certainly appreciate it!

Steve Smith represents Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, and can be reached at sunnysidenursery@msn.com.

Free classes

Sunnyside Nursery’s next free classes will be “Fall Interest & Winter Bloomers,” at 10 a.m. Oct. 8, and “Spring-Blooming Bulbs” at 11 a.m. Oct. 9. For more information, go to www.sunnysidenursery.net/classes.

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