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Northeast Regional Reports

Water-Wise Tips for Northeastern Gardeners

Use these simple strategies to help your plants survive dry weather

A soaker hose from the rain barrel on my deck allows me to grow a lush patch of butterbur (Petasites japonicus, Zones 5–9), which thrives (and spreads) in consistently moist soil.

Long-range forecasts for summer 2019 have been all over the place. Some predicted “normal” weather for most of the Northeast and rainier than usual weather for southern New England. Others said the entire Northeast should expect a hotter, drier summer. Whatever the season has in store—and whatever “normal” means anymore—when it comes to adequate precipitation, it’s important to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

Get to know your garden’s patterns of sun, wind, and shade, as well as the quirks of its soil texture and water-holding capacity. And then plant accordingly. The goal is to include perennials that, once established, will not need any supplemental water under “normal” weather conditions. You get bonus points if your plants survive long heat waves and periods of drought. Be willing to test their limits—and yours. A plant or two here or there may be worth coddling (I’m thinking…

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