BEFORE / AFTER: IRRIGATION-FREE

In the fall of 2011, after having secured funding from the Longfellow Community Council and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organziation, we began the site clearance portion of the project. Pathway excavation, planting, mulch placement, and the installation of the solitary bee high-rises (birch snags) we completed in May and June of 2012. Summer of 2013 signaled the landscape's first growing season 100% irrigation-free. Incidentally, it not only survived but flourished. For full project description, click here.

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The photo shows the project site in late summer of 2011, before the site-clearance work began. The existing turf is removed, and the soil beneath is tilled. Straw is laid down as a cover, to prevent a muddy mess come spring
Spring 2012, straw removed, project site weeded. It is important to weed a site as much as possible before doing any planting, especially if turf has been removed, as a huge seedbank of weeds lies underneath the turf just waiting for sunlight and water. Excavation of landscape pathways begins. 203 plants were planted in the Irrigaiton-Free Landscape.
Limestone mulch applied. These plants prefer dry rocky conditions and poor soil, so we chose an inorganic mulch. An interpretive sign was placed at the edge of the landscape so that passers-by could learn about landscapes, drought, water conservation, and how the Irrigation-Free Landscape works. Late August, 2012, mid-drought. 80% of the plants in this photo had not received supplemental water since June 2.
Late spring 2013, the start of the landscape's first growing season 100% irrigation-free. The fresh greens of early summer, in June 2013. This photo shows the landscape mid-drought in August of 2013. The plants have not received any supplemental water, yet they are growing and thriving in spite of drought.

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