Friday, August 24, 2012
This summer, as if you needed a reminder, has been a harsh one.
While we've experienced a little relief lately, it might be a little too late for some plants suffering from the extreme heat.
But for one place in town, their business revolves around keeping the gardens green.
"It's just a struggle to keep things alive, a lot of brown, and, I don't know, it's a lot of work in the heat to keep stuff alive," said Botanica visitor Erin Hutton.
"We've just been watering deep and like twice a week, and just hoping they'll hang on a little bit," said Botanica visitor Carolyn Brannon.
But enter Botanica, and it's almost like stepping into another world.
"It's refreshing, just refreshing, and the birds, and the butterflies are out, the bees, it's just a great place," Brannon said.
However, keeping up with Mother Nature, hasn't been easy.
"The extreme heat and the length of no water has just caused extra hours of watering and extra hours of worrying about our poor baby plants, we just want them to all look great all the time," said Botanica Horticulturist Janet Gordon.
While all that watering has created an oasis of sorts, it doesn't come without a cost.
"The water bills have been way worse than normal, and so that's one of those things, we always try to conserve as much as possible because we know that's important, but we've got to keep the plants alive because replacing them would be more expensive than the water bill," Gordon said.
Water's not the only extra expense that comes along with the heat.
Botanica also has to hire additional workers, keep up with maintenance on the irrigation systems, and replace any plants that haven't fared so well in the heat.
They're all costs, that add up.
"It is an expense that we didn't budget for, we budget for our basic costs," Gordon said.
But all the effort, hasn't gone unnoticed by visitors.
"I commented to a friend last week that I'm impressed with how green and lush everything looks in the heat of August," Hutton said.
While Botanica has been able to keep up with the extreme temps so far, their funds are decreasing.
They say that 88 percent of their operating budget is funded by donors.
So now, they're asking for some help.
If you would like to make a donation to Botanica, contact Kathy Osler at 316-264-0448 ext. 107.