If Landscapes Could Talk: An Interview With the Garden

What would your landscape say about this fierce drought that’s taken hold of the city? One of our conservation consultants decided to do a little digging to find out.

Extreme heat and dry conditions are sticking around for now and the foreseeable future. And many plants are struggling as a result. So I thought this would be the ideal time to conduct a field report and interview a couple of species to collect their concerns.

The location: a garden in the Texas Hill Country, an area well known for thin soil and where plant life is quite wearisome.

David: Please, tell me your name and share your situation.
Interviewee: Stenotaphrum secundatum, but most people know me as St. Augustine. These crazy hot temperatures, coupled with a lack of soil have caused my vitality to diminish. I’m planted in full sun and under my feet I’ve nowhere to stand except hot rock that is burning my roots. My caretakers try to help me out with extra irrigation, but there’s no soil beneath me to hold the water. I don’t belong here and I’m so exhausted and can’t possibly reach my potential in these conditions. I long to be in the pockets of the city with deep soils and some shade relief.
David: I’m sorry you’re suffering. I know SAWS has WaterSaver Landscape Coupons, where 200 square feet of turf can be replaced with plants that thrive in your site conditions. I’ll see what I can do about relocating you.
(Crunch, crunch, crunch — David walks across the lawn to his next subject.) 
David: Hello, what do you call yourself?
Interviewee: My name is Pelargonium, but everyone calls me geranium. I produce beautiful flowers of many colors, but I’m not a perennial plant in San Antonio. I actually prefer to grow in a container since I’ll deteriorate if I’m planted in the ground in thin soil. I wish my caretakers also knew that even though I’m planted in full sun and produce beautiful flowers, I will not continue flowering all summer. My flowers are seasonal, so even with extra water I won’t flower again right away.

Geranium also pointed out to me that the garden next door is an eternal color festival. There are many species of plants, primarily native, and they seem to be happy year-round. I decided to visit.

As I walked to the garden next door, I was guided by countless butterflies. In this garden, the plants were enjoying incredible energy, many flowers and healthy branches. I noticed their roots were covered nicely with a blanket of cozy mulch and what surprised me the most is that this garden didn’t have an in-ground irrigation system. I hovered there in shock for several minutes.

How can two gardens just feet away from each other look drastically different and have such different water needs? The answer is quite simple really. In the thriving garden, Texas native plants were selected.

Because the plants are native to the area and soil conditions, soaring temperatures and lack of irrigation don’t negatively impact them. There are also good gardening principles in practice like compost to enrich and build the soil and mulch to help the plants retain moisture and keep their roots cool. Additionally, sun plants were planted in the sun and shade plants in the shade. All of the plants needs were met.

You can learn all about plants and landscaping that pleases our plant friends! Just visit There you’ll find many ideas for working with the landscape you’ve got — and how SAWS WaterSaver Landscape Coupons can help you plant a happy garden that thrives while saving water.

Picture of David Abrego
David Abrego
David Abrego is a conservation consultant for SAWS. David, a native of Panama, likes to spend his time surrounded by plants and fruit trees. So if you can’t find him at home, he’s probably working in a greenhouse. David is also an arborist and an irrigation technician.
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