Urban Garden Denver Blog


Spring & Springs

Yesterday was the first day of spring – and I spent a little time in my garden, cleaning out leaves, trimming back perennials and enjoying the bulbs that are blooming now.

Tete-a-tete minature daffodils

Tete-a-tete minature daffodils

But I also wondered about water while I was in the garden. Spring is our snowiest season here in Denver, and the spring snows are helpful in moistening the soil and causing the grasses to turn green and the flowers and shrubs to emerge from dormancy with healthy growth. But my garden is somewhat dry. The snow that was forecast for last Tuesday did come, but barely. The little bit of snow hardly compensated for the drying winds. Snow is forecast again for Saturday. Will is come and water the soil, or will it just blow through? As I was in the garden celebrating the first day of spring, I wondered if I should turn on my water and give the garden a drink.

World Water Day is tomorrow, just 2 days after the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere). Water is always on my mind in my Colorado garden, because we live in a semi-arid environment, and because I feel responsible for conserving water. The truth is, I could water my garden much more than I do. I have never even consumed water up to the first tier pricing level that the water department instituted to encourage conservation. And if I did decide to water more, we could accommodate that expense in our budget. But being able to water more is different from being free to water more. Because I am compelled to conserve. Compelled out of responsibility for stewarding a scarce resource. And also compelled out of respect for my sisters and brothers around the world who don’t have unlimited access to tap water, who are dependent on walking great distances to carry precious water to their homes every day.

Sometimes it is hard to stay committed to conserving water. I wonder how my small stand for water conservation can make a dent in the shortage of water in our region. Does my compulsion to conserve make any difference to anyone? Why shouldn’t I treat the Denver Water pipes that come to my home like springs of water, bringing unlimited access to water to my home and garden?

Deep down, I can’t shake my view of water as a sacred resource. I can’t stop caring about conservation. And the actions of each individual, when taken together in total, can make a difference. If I conserve, and you conserve, and my friends conserve, and your friends conserve, then together we can reduce water use. And when we turn on our hoses or taps, perhaps we can pause and consider our fellow humans who don’t have such luxurious access to water.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use less water in your landscape, I have several blog posts on conserving water. And if you are interested in some facts about World Water Day, view the infographic that I scripted on this topic.

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