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Published by jack elliot



The wind in the willows sang softly to me
Follow my voice wherever it leads
From mountains, through valleys, to deep rolling seas
Born on the wings of a breeze

~ Ralph McTell, The Wind in the Willows

As gardeners, we work our sites to make them accommodate our needs or we adapt to the site’s natural conditions. When soil is poor, rocky, chalky or sandy, we amend it or build up berms. In dry, arid locations, we add irrigation systems or xeriscape. In windy sites, we plant windbreaks or select plants that not only tolerate thee conditions but also beautifully sway and dance in the breeze.

High winds not only damage plants with weak root systems or branches, but they cause plants to dry out quickly. Planting large plants as windbreaks is a common solution to windy gardens. Large evergreens with needle-like foliage can soften high winds. Broadleaf evergreens, needle-leafed evergreen, as well as deciduous shrubs can be planted as a straight shielding hedge or staggered to break the intensity of the wind. However, not all yards have the space for these large plants. In city lots, for instance, wind can be intensified as it bounces off buildings, walls and fences.

In some cases, gardeners must simply grow plants that can tolerate windy conditions. These plants sway and bend, not snap and break. They also tolerate dry conditions and do not have high water needs. The effect of wind can actually add more interest to certain plants; for example, the beauty of grass blades and plumes swaying in the breeze or the soothing sound of quaking aspen leaves rattling against each other in the wind

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