A new season is beginning in the orchard and we’re busy making plans to develop a butterfly garden with the elementary school students. Because of the possibility of a very dry summer, we plan to select flowers that are drought tolerant and indigenous to our area. They’ll not only attract the butterflies and bees, but will be more successful if the summer becomes very hot. Mulching the garden will help conserve moisture and keep weed growth down.
Water conservation has always been an important consideration in the orchard. Our trees have been planted in bottomless tubs which create a collar around each tree. When we water, the collar is filled so each tree is allocated a specific amount of moisture. Each tree is also well-mulched to conserve as much moisture as possible between waterings. As a rule, we don’t blanket water the grass in the park. We ask Mother Nature to help us with that!
We have a strict schedule of volunteers who water on the days and hours designated to us by the Town Council. It is sometimes tempting for others to water to help out when they see some plants wilting, but we would ask you to refrain from doing so. It may not be our day to water, and it can throw off the schedule because the volunteers don’t know what has been watered and what hasn’t. However, we are always happy to welcome new members to our committee and add them to the volunteer roster! Failing that, we’d encourage you to do a little rain dance for us.
This summer will bring about some changes in our watering needs. The trees are beginning to mature and become established. They’ll require less watering as they root more deeply and find their own moisture. As we continue to keep conservation in the forefront, we plan to begin installing our trickle watering system. Thanks to a number of generous donations, we will be able to make a start at this in the coming season. It will reduce our water use even further.
To help support this season’s activities and improvements to the orchard, we are raffling off a lovely birdhouse and feeder generously made and donated by Dan Belbeck. Tickets are $2 each and are available from any committee member. The draw will be made during the Show and Shine on June 16th. The birdhouse and feeder would make a great addition to any yard. You can view them at the Burning Hills Café.