Saturday, January 14, 2012

Soaker Hoses in the Park

Last summer's heat and drought took a real toll on many gardens in Oklahoma.  My roses at home did fine because I could easily water them on a regular basis.  The roses in the Prague Rose Garden at the park had a harder time.  Angie (my wife and best volunteer) and I walk in the park several time a week on the half mile trail, so we often would take a hose and sprinkler to water the roses as we walked.  We would stop and move the sprinkler every couple of laps.  This kept most of the roses alive; although, we did lose a few of them.  Instead of remembering to take the hose to the park, then carrying it there, moving it around while we walk, and taking it back home, I decided that we could do better this coming year if I were to put in soaker hoses to take advantage of the three water spigots that are conveniently located in the garden.  So I picked up a soaker hose from the hardware store and 5 gallon bucket of gardening tools and started installing the soaker hoses this weekend.  Once they are all installed we will be able to water the garden much more simply and effectively while we are on our walks. 
The soaker hose goes down easily by digging a trench a few inches of deep in the mulch for the hose to lay in.  You can find soaker hoses at Harbor Freight and here are some coupons for Harbor Freight.  Eventually, the hose should settle in right at the surface of the garden.  I only got one of the two small sections put in, and I can tell that it is going to take a lot more hose than I expected but this is a good start. 
Something to remember if you decide to work in a public garden - learn to let go.  Below is the growth of Abraham Darby that was broken off at ground level.  This happened when people were decorating the park for Christmas and someone stepped on the small band sized rose I planted there only a few months earlier.  When laying the hose in the garden, I had to dig up what was left of the rose to find out where to route the hose.  It looks like it will survive just fine but this could easily be very frustrating.  Instead of being upset, I am going to adopt my friend Delbert's philosophy. 

Years ago, Delbert was serving an inner city church that had an empty lot next to it.  He decided to plant a vegetable garden in the empty lot and planted a tall row of sunflowers on the back row.  Since poverty and hunger were issues in the community why shouldn't this land be used to grow food.  The garden grew up beautifully with the sunflowers standing as a beautiful symbol of hope in a despairing neighborhood.  People would tell Delbert, "You know they will steal everything in the garden."  Delbert would say, "No they won't."  "Oh yes they will," his detractor would answer.  Delbert would respond, "No, I won't let them."  Sure of their position they would point out, "You live miles away and when you are gone they will come in and steal the vegetables, watermelon, and anything else that grows in it." Delbert persisted saying, "It is impossible for them to steal anything from the garden.  I'm growing it for them so it is already theirs."  Delbert always helped me to be less tied to the things in my life and more connected to the people.
As you can see, one section down and miles of hose to go.  Next week I will finish the other small section at the other end of the garden and sometime latter I will tackle the much bigger center section.


  1. Hi Rev. I have gotten away from soaker hoses because of the length of time to water and watering weeds in between the roses. I am using a spout system (commercial grade) that I can place where I want. The spouts are available from Witherspoon Roses (website) cheap.Just drill holes in commercial grade hose and insert spouts. I can deep soak 60 roses in an hour.

    Just a thought for your many beautiful roses.

    Perhaps this could be of use to you as well.

  2. Again, I just want to applaud you that you are doing this for your community! That Abraham Darby lost some feathers is sad, but I hope he will survive it. As you said in a public garden you probably have to live with things like this and can be happy if there is no major vandalism down to your rose beds. Can't wait to see how this garden will look in spring with the new watering system in place. I am sure it will make a difference. Good luck!

  3. Hi Grouchy, Glad to see you are still kicking around the internet. I got a little worried about you as you were not posting much. I like your suggestion for the sprouts. If I go to an watering system at home I will certainly look into that. I finished soakers in the second smaller bed in the park and started the larger middle section this morning. Crazy weather we are having - 70 degrees today and expecting 18 for the low Wednesday morning.

    Thanks Christina for your encouragement. I think Abraham Darby will be fine and I think that soaker hoses will help a great deal. Best gardening wishes.