Don’t forget to water your oasis

The third week of August is when water worries really start to flood the list of gardening chores. The secret to a well-watered landscape is to group thirsty plants together and learn to hand-water the most thirsty plants so they get just the right amount to drink.

A good rule of green thumb is to keep the heavy drinkers close to the house – so hang fuchsia baskets and position container gardens near the patio or porch where you can add water daily. Think about how you can recycle water from cooking and drinking into a watering can under your sink. Then you’ll have recycled, room temperature water ready to pour on your thirsty plants.

Do not recycle cooking water if salt has been added. Do not use water still warm from cooking.

You can recycle the water from rinsing or cooking vegetables especially if the water has turned green from the cooking process – just think of all the nutrients floating in that colored water.

Do you cook hard-boiled eggs? The leftover water from boiling eggs is also good to recycle because calcium from the eggshells leaches into the water. I like to save egg water to use on my tomato plants and African violets. A lack of calcium in the soil can cause blossom end rot on tomatoes and a lack of blooms on violets.

One more tip when it comes to watering your outdoor plants; If a hose has been sitting in the hot, summer sun the first gallon or so of water that emerges can be very hot. Aim the hose into a watering can to save this hot water for later use. Then, when the water from the hose is cool to the touch you can aim it onto your thirsty plants without scorching the roots and leaves.

August is also vacation month for many people but a new book out by local author Jessi Bloom reminds all of us that you don’t need to leave home to enjoy recharging with a vacation-state-of- mind. Her latest book is titled “Creating Sanctuary: Plant-Based Medicine, Sacred Garden Spaces, Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being.”

The author is an award-winning ecological landscape designer and natural living expert and the goal of this new book is to discover the places, plants and practices that can soothe and restore you … right in your own back yard.

The designs featured include how to create outdoor meditative spaces and offer inspiration from eight different garden havens. It also focuses on 50 different sacred plants and also how to make herbal remedies and teas at home. To keep the good feelings of summer vacation growing there is also a 14-day plan to bring you closer to nature.

You don’t need to understand mystic religions or sit for hours against a tree to experience the soothing sanctuary of a garden, but you do need to take a moment and bask in the gift of a garden instead of just noticing what needs to be weeded, watered and worried about. This book will encourage anyone to slow down and benefit from the healing renovation of your own personal oasis.

The 233-page, soft-covered book, published by Timber Press, is full of beautifully photographed gardens, plants, sanctuaries and plant recipes. You’ll learn about “forest bathing” (no disrobing in the woods required), botanical alchemy, caring for your own personal ecosystem and the mind/soul connection for finding clarity and comfort. Or maybe you’ll just learn that it is good for the soul to just sit on your patio and do nothing but just sit on your patio.

Highline Botanical Garden ice cream social and plant sale

Marianne Binetti will give a talk on “Great Garden Ideas from Around the World,” on Sunday, at 12 p.m. Aug. 18. Attendance is free. The garden is located at 13735 24th Ave S., Sea Tac. Visit for more info or call 206-391-4003.

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