|Look how green & no watering!|
Yes? Good. Keep reading.
After you've figured out what your goals for gardening are, your next step on the road we call drought recovery is to assess your garden.
I know you've been hiding inside during the hot days, occasionally sticking your nose out the door to see if it still hot. Then you go out at dusk and water what you can before sighing heavily, turning off the water, and heading back inside, happy that another day of this miserably hot summer is over.
No more. No more hiding. No more ignoring. No more "head in the sand it isn't really all that dry" attitude. And absolutely no whining. There is no whining in drought recovery. Though, there are enough letters in "recovery" for cry, so if you need to cry a little bit over how dry it is, that's acceptable.
Now tears dried, chin up. It's time to face the garden, to figure out what's doing well, other than weeds, and what may need some attention. It's also time to step back a bit and see if the garden is overall what you want it to be.
But before you leave your computer and go running out into your garden to start assessing the situation, there are just a few more instructions.
First, take some paper and a pencil with you to take some notes. It's hot out there, and you may be rushed and come down with a case of memory-wiping drought delirium, so write down your assessment. You want to have notes to refer to later.
Next, and this is very important, do not write your notes and assessments as a bunch of "to-do" items. For example, when you see all the weeds that sprouted in your personal plopper's field while you weren't looking, don't write "need to weed plopper's field". Instead write "plopper's field is weedy".
And don't write, "need to find a tree to replace the fallen red bud tree in Woodland Follies". Nope, that's a task. That's something you have to do. Instead write "tree fell in Woodland Follies and now it is a sunny garden with no shade." That's an assessment of current state and how you want to make your list. After all, when you have finished your assessment, you may decide that Woodland Follies is better as a sunny garden. Don't commit yourself to anything just yet.
Later, once you've completed the assessment, you can look at the list you've made and turn some of the observations into tasks. But don't do that right away. Trust me, you'll be overwhelmed in the first few minutes with all that you need to do and all you want to do if you write everything down as a task. They'll be time later to be overwhelmed. But doing worry about being overwhelmed yet. There will also be ways to keep from being overwhelmed as we follow along on the Gardener's Guide to Drought Recovery.
Ready? Set? Go out into your garden to "assess the situation", but don't make a "to do" list. Report back when you are ready for what comes next.