This post is dedicated to Catherine Hope, Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop leader and fellow work-shoppers Bill, Heather, Meg, Molly and Catherine
It has spread its tentacles throughout my entire garden, front and back. And yet, it is barely seen. Fat black hoses feed into smaller green tubes underground. The only hints of the considerable network below are tiny towers that, here and there, thrust up out of the soil. Each little tower is topped by a small swirling, spraying or dripping jewel called an emitter.
For most of the day, the system sits quiet. But at certain set times it bursts into life. Water is flung into the evening air in tiny droplets that are like sparkling gems. The lowering sun touches the swirls and sprays with rainbow colors and lights up the evening calm. And while the system is largely buried beneath the earth, it is not static, not immoveable. Its towers can be shifted and the jewel-like emitters may be aimed with precision toward any thirsty shrub or flower. New xeric plantings can receive more water when first put into the ground and less later on when well established.
Oh, what a system! Now at last I have a way to give each flower, tomato plant and luffa gourd exactly what it needs. I smile as I watch the play of light on the misting moisture gilding the spring leaves. I envision an August evening, imagining tiny yellow peppers stuffed with mushrooms. I see eggplants roasting on the grill and tomatoes dressed with fresh green basil on a white plate.
While I have had my drip irrigation system less than a month, it has already given me a new deeper sense of contentment when I look out over my yard. I have wanted one of these for years, most particularly since we started interplanting vegetables with our xeric flowering plants. Would I ever give it up? Could I ever pull up its tiny towers or rip its hoses from the ground? Never!
Now that it is mine, I cannot imagine being separated from it. This drip system is a part of our plan for modifying our home so that we might “age in place” here until the end of our lives. I recall the words of a new friend: “The only way I’m leaving my house is in a body bag.” When the guys from the Neptune Society zip that bag closed over my face, as I saw them do with my father, my drip irrigation system will remain, still merrily flinging rainbow mist over the leaves and buds of the summer garden.