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From the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Iris douglasiana
Iris douglasiana
Photo by: David Kruse

Drought Resources:

Caring for Your Plants During Drought
Includes general maintenance instructions along with tips for watering and the use of grey water.

Drought and Landscape PlantsDrought and Landscape Plants
(PDF 213k)
A technical research report on the effects of the drought on plants with preventative and remedial treatments.

from Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories, by Bruce R. Fraedrich, Ph. D., Plant Pathologist

Aloe arborescens
Aloe arborescens
Photo by: David Kruse

Banksia collina
Banksia collina
Photo by: David Kruse

Many of you will remember the droughts of the past during which we all saved shower water and, ahem, flushed less often. It seems those days have returned to California. Those of us with a passion for gardening may be increasingly concerned about our gardens and water usage. We have been talking with Bartlett Tree Experts, the company who so professionally carried out our recent tree management program, about the drought. They have supplied a technical research report on the subject for our readership. While this report was written with Eastern US conditions in mind, all the principles apply in California. We will be following this developing dry period throughout the next few months and provide you with updates and advice from experts like Bartlett that you can trust.

There are definitely short and long term solutions to managing drought. Short term solutions like more mulching and less frequent but deeper watering should be employed. Longer term we must all rethink how we can arrange our gardens and inject water-sparing plants, including natives, into our design palette. I would love to hear your suggestions and testimonials about what works to protect your plant collection from an unusually dry season. So please let us know by emailing us at

Meanwhile, the Botanical Garden continues to use a large amount of recycled water to keep the collections thriving. We'll let you know what other strategies are working best for the Garden as we proceed through the dry period.

I wish you all a wonderful summer.

In friendship,


Michael McKechnie
Executive Director, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society


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