Right as Rain with Betty Lambright (podcast)

Oct 12th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Rain Garden

Rain garden at Middle School in Junction, Texas. Photo by Billy Kniffen.

Someone once described Texas weather to me as a state of constant drought broken up by occasional periods of flash flooding.

Neither condition is ideal for us or our landscapes. Modifying our water usage inside and outside the house is something we can all do to adapt to these extremes while we conserve and extend the resource.

Outdoors, we can start by slowly replacing non-native plants with low-water natives and finding ways to keep what rain we receive where it will do the most good. But that doesn’t mean we have to forego food producing crops.

To create a balance, we need expert guidance. And my expert is Betty Lambright.

Betty Lambright is a friend whose specialty is developing landscapes and gardens that take advantage of available rainfall, by collecting it and keeping it in the soil. Her consulting business is As Right as Rain.

Last year Betty helped me to develop a landscape plan that uses native plants to attract, feed and shelter wildlife, including pollinators. Among the natives, I asked Betty to include fruit and nut trees and berry bushes for my use.

Separate from the landscaping, I continue to cultivate a vegetable and herb garden, as that requires frequent watering to thrive.

Betty’s first recommendation (which I have yet to accomplish) was to put gutters on my 1500 square foot house so I can direct the rainwater where it will do the most good. She said 900 gallons of water can be collected from my roof for every inch of rain that falls. And in an area that receives 32 to 34-inches of the wet stuff annually, that can add up. Betty says, when captured, that water can keep a landscape healthy and free of a need for supplemental water.

When Betty Lambright talks about capturing rainwater in this instance, she’s talking about following the natural contours of the land and creating berms and rain gardens to move water and allow it to collect where it can soak into my black land prairie clay soil.

Sadly for me and all her Texas friends, Betty moved to Colorado this year. She moved to a town that gets less than half the rainfall we receive in Central Texas, which means she can really put her skills to the test.

Before she left, though, we installed native flowering shrubs and perennial plants and a fig tree. I have since added more plants to attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. I cannot explain the sheer joy I feel when pulling into my driveway to see this maturing flowering landscape swarmed by butterflies.

No telling the rewards we can receive when we take steps to care for Mother Earth.

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