The Event and Water Restrictions
Our 10 sets of Garden Owners are selected from Bathurst Garden Club Members who are well used to the vagaries of the climate. Monthly meetings spend a lot of time talking about adapting to the current conditions and trying to preempt how to change our gardens to suit as this particular drought progresses. Natives, Mediterranean plants, paths instead of grass, grey water use, plastic containers installed next to new plantings so hand-watering can be done to establish their root systems and some of the techniques used to be waterwise. Water is collected also in buckets in our baths, sinks and showers whilst waiting for hot water to run through and is perfect to submerge pots for deep watering once a week and hand watering.
We are fortunate that this year’s gardens were chosen in November 2018 as we headed into Level 3 water restrictions which imposed an hour of watering every second day including lawns and gardens. When the Level 4/5 Water Restrictions come in on the 14th October 2019 the three gardens that have utilised current Water Exemptions will no longer have exemption. Fortunately this is just in time for the Spring Spectacular and we are lucky that the 40mm of rain we received a couple of weeks ago actually landed in water tanks as well as gave the gardens a good soaking. Some Gardens are rural and have bores or watertanks, one of our town gardens also have bore water and the rest have existed on Level 3 restrictions like the rest of the population except for local commercial irrigators. Garden owners have lost plants due to the drought so have replaced them with purchased plants and, in most cases, are replacing them with hardier plants such as natives or Mediterranean plants.
You will notice paths and entertainment areas are replacing lawns, grey water has been utilised in many areas, water tanks are installed in many of the gardens which has helped drought proof the gardens so far although naturally they are getting low now and rain is definitely required.
Bishop’s Court Estate Garden Owner, Christine Le Fevre, has installed many Olla’s around their garden which is an ancient system of water preservation involving terracotta pots. Christine is very knowledgeable and has been very pro-active in tackling the drought and water restrictions. She replaced their lawn with gravel and created a beautiful courtyard under the shady trees. https://wateruseitwisely.com/olla-irrigation/
As a collective group, gardeners are very proactive and the first to find ways to monitor their water use and make it go further to keep their gardens going. Gardens also are not just about plants, they are about the people who create them, they help with people’s general well-being and mental health, and to display their creativity and love for their homes. So rocks, pebbles, statues, entertainment areas, pergolas, bird houses, bee hives, chook sheds are also a part of gardens as much as the plants are.