Where My Garden Grows

Hi! My name is Anna. My husband and I live in in Wichita Falls, a city of approximately 100,000 people located in Wichita County of North Texas, which is situated along the Red River border with Oklahoma. We live in an area that experienced an intense and considerable drought from 2011 until mid-2015. The combined water level of the three lakes from which all of our consumable water comes stood at 21.5% on May 6, 2015. Outside watering was forbidden and other water restrictions were quite stringent. Because of this many folks began taking far-reaching measures when it comes to gardening and landscaping around their yards. Many are moving away from grass and are turning to drought-resistant species of plants, rock gardens, pea gravel expanses and various types of mulch in an effort to transform all or portions of their property into areas that can withstand both extreme shortages of precipitation and intense heat. I’m one of those people. I hope to use this blog to talk about garden and landscape modification prompted by drought as well as to highlight the basic nature of the everyday garden.

As of May 2015 our drought has broken. We received exactly 17 inches of rainfall during May, filling our lakes to capacity and causing immense flooding in many locations. As of June 16, 2015 our rainfall for the year — 28.69 inches — has far surpassed the annual rainfall totals for each of the past four years. It is more than double our total rainfall of 2011 and is within just a few tenths of an inch of reaching our average annual rainfall with more than six months left in the year!

What exactly is the weather like where my garden grows? Well, here are some quick historical facts about Wichita Falls weather, as well as some more recent data:

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone: Zone 7b

AHS Plant Heat Zone: Zone 9

Record High Temperature: 117°F (June 28, 1980)

Record Low Temperature: -12°F (January 4, 1947)

Average First 90°F Temperature: April 9

Average First 100°F Temperature: June 9

Most 100°F Days in a Calendar Year: 100 (2011)

Most Consecutive Days With Temperatures At or Above 100°F: 52 (2011)

Fewest 100°F Days in a Calendar Year: 1 (1950)

Average Annual Rainfall: 28.9 inches

Rainfall During the Last 5 Years: (In Inches)

12.97 (2011) — 19.81 (2012) — 21.33 (2013) — 23.77 (2014) — 28.69 (thru June 16, 2015)

Please click here for hot weather temperature facts for Wichita Falls, Texas, provided by the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Norman, Oklahoma.

As evidenced by the above information, gardening in North Texas can be a grueling task. Temperature extremes, from one season to the next or even from one day to the next, can be taxing on even the most ardent plant lover. What survives and thrives during one summer may not even make an appearance the next summer. Flower seeds planted in the early spring will oft times make their way through the topsoil, only to wilt before they have a chance at life. The last several years have been exceptionally difficult. Though we have found our way through recent drought we must still garden with fortitude and resilience, using native plants and conserving our precious water resources! Conservation never ends.

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Along with playing with plants and gardening I enjoy reading, cross-stitch, baking and Bible study.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Thank you for visiting my blog and please come again!

Happy Gardening!

18 thoughts on “Where My Garden Grows

  1. Love your Blog in every respect (design, content, and organization). Great Job! You indeed have an extraordinarily tough environment and climate in Wichita Falls for gardening, but when the gardening gets tough, the tough gardeners get going!

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    • Thanks so much for your kind words! I enjoy posting about my garden — which I believe means more than just plants, but also includes the insects, birds and other animals that make their homes in the garden. Without them the space would be a bit boring! We do have quite a tough environment for gardening, but in my opinion that only makes it more challenging. The climate offers some rare opportunities when you’re attempting to find plants that will survive when, as you mentioned, the going gets tough. Actually, I think most areas of Texas have some type of challenge when it comes to gardening. Thanks again for your comment. I appreciate it!

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  2. Hi, what a challenging environment for making and maintaining a garden. I’m already stressed when the summer is pretty dry and I have to run around with the watering can…but 4 years of drought, oh boy. Do you know the book “Plant driven design” by Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden? It’s one of my favourite books and they garden in Colorado and Texas. Bet you’d find lots to inspire you. Looking forward to reading more about you. Best wishes

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    • Thanks for your comment and book recommendation, Annette. I checked on the book at Amazon and it looks very interesting. Perhaps I’ll hint to my husband to get it for me for Christmas?! I also noticed another book by the Ogdens titled “Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens: 200 Drought-Tolerant Choices for All Climates”. This one looks like it might be even more up my alley. The past two years all of my outdoor plants, bushes, trees, etc. survived on what little rain we received, along with rainwater we harvested in five 32-gallon barrels. It’s been an interesting experience, but also a soul-building experience! Thanks again for your comment and recommendation. I very much appreciate it.

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      • Once you start to look into it you’re surprised how many plants cope with these conditions. I’m also very impressed by Steve Martino’s gardens. That other book you mention sounds great as well…and they do know what they talk about!

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  3. What a lovely blog! You do live in a tough place to garden, but all the more rewarding for what you can contribute to the flora and fauna of your region. Thanks for posting on my site–I’ve also copied the “Take Care of Texas” widget–a great advertisement to place on a blog–I hadn’t seen it.

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    • Thank you so much! This is a tough place to garden but I enjoy it. I’ve added your gardening meme widget to my blog. I enjoy viewing the various memes that I’ve run across. I’m aiming to start posting on your Wildlife Wednesday beginning in January and plan to pick one other, probably the Tree Following meme, as I’ve been watching it for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, thanks for adding it! If you’re interested in wildlife gardening (and it looks like you are…) it’s a fun way to learn about what you have around and what others see in their gardens. I really like the Tree Following–I’m so glad I joined in.

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  4. You need to educate us all for I believe this is the future. Our spring this year was 80 degrees last weekend! That is nuts:-( I do feel we all need to do what you are doing. I have taken up more of my lawn but I am not the “norm” on my block. I look forward to reading about what you do for you can educate us all:-)

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    • I’m continually trying to turn our yard into something other than grass (not that there’s much left!). I think my husband thinks I’m crazy sometimes with the things I do, but he’s also glad there’s less lawn to mow. Last week I planted some small shrubs (very small!) in the front yard, along with a couple small splotches of daylilies. I plan to shovel around them and put in some mulch soon, and expand from there. I’m glad we have such a small yard! Doesn’t look like much now, but should look better next year!

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  5. I’m going to really enjoy following your blog. So far in my gardening career I haven’t been very good at ‘bending with the wind’ (and I’ve been lucky – there hasn’t been much need). I think so much is changing for all of us (climate, pests, diseases) that we are going to have to be more flexible in future.

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