‘Weather’ you like it or not, do less during drought: Morton Grove garden expert
NAME: Dena Anastos
BEST KNOWN AS: Morton Grove Garden Club, past president
GARDENING TIP: During drought, do less
Updated: July 22, 2012 7:48PM
Again and again Dena Anastos heard the same complaint followed by the same burning question at the Morton Grove Public Library’s “Ask the Garden Expert” event in early-June.
Everything — flowers, plants, grass — is dying. What’s a gardener to do?
Anastos, the immediate past president of the Morton Grove Garden Club, offered some uncharacteristic advice: “We’ve got to let some things go.”
As an active Chicago Botanic Garden volunteer who possesses more knowledge than the garden-variety gardener, telling others to “do less, not more” doesn’t come naturally to Anastos.
But the weather explains it all.
The temperature’s flip-flopping between hot and cold in spring threw off the growing season, Anastos said.
Crops aren’t as bountiful as they typically are this time of year. Cherries and peaches, the first fruits of summer, are smaller in size.
And now a relentless heat wave is taking its toll. The proof is in the brown arborvitaes thirsting for water found all around the village, Anastos said.
“The weather is completely irrational,” she said.
To keep greenery green, Anastos recommends tending to gardens as one normally would, but paying extra attention to trees, shrubs and flowers.
Watering daily, both early in the day and late in the afternoon, keeps plants hydrated.
Grass, on the other hand, bounces back after a good rain better than other plants so it’s OK to skimp on the sprinkling if water costs are a concern, Anastos said.
She also said to let lawns grow taller than usual in 90-degree temps to avoid drying out.
With the dog days already here and no immediate rain in sight, Anastos said to celebrate the season for what it is.
“There’s not much we can do except to sit it out,” she said. “Enjoy the summer.”