Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A New Family Member

I've long considered Dotty Woodson to be somewhat of a rock star. She is - after all and officially - Dr. Dotty Woodson, and has appeared on numerous locally- and nationally-televised gardening shows to share her expertise and great advice. She serves as Dallas' Extension Program Specialist for Water Resources and lectures frequently around the metroplex.

In mid-September, the City of Allen sponsored a water catchment and rainbarrel-building course that I enthusiastically attended, knowing it would be both fun and a good way to get more Master Gardener hours. I also knew that, for $50, it was an economical way to add to the two existing rainbarrels I already have around my house, which cost nearly $100 each several years ago. Plus, you know...I'd get to meet Dr. Dotty.

After speaking for 30 minutes or so on the interesting and sometimes scary facts surrounding local water usage and conservation, Dotty got to work. I watched with combined horror and fascination as she drilled holes, applied caulk and pretty much built my barrel for me from start to finish. (I felt compelled to tell her I was a Collin County Master Gardener, which didn't seem to raise my acclaim any, but that's ok. It's like introducing Bon Jovi to Beethoven, you know?)

Anyway, with Dotty's "help," my barrel turned out beautifully and, with recent rains, it appears to be functioning perfectly as well. These barrels start out as ugly, dirty bright blue food containers and then find a new life as water catchment systems. Dotty advised decorating them by lightly sanding, priming and painting to better fit into your landscape.

The best part about the new barrel is that the City of Plano will recognize my water conservation efforts by offering a $25 credit to my next water bill...so that means the total cost was only a couple of hours and $25. But I got to do something worthwhile and meet a legend in the meantime.

Here's Dotty doing what she does best: educating.

Catch Dotty's next water conservation and rainbarrel workshop this Thursday at the AgriLife Extension Center at Coit and Campbell. More info


Michael - Plano Prairie Garden said...

I have an unfinished blue rain barrel in my garage. Really, all it needs is paint and I want to add some sort of overflow to divert excess water into my underground drains. Does your rain barrel have a way of handling excess water? They fill quickly.

Tamara said...

Hey there Bluestem! Nope, this particular barrel doesn't have an overflow diverter like my other, more expensive ones do. I'm looking to buy a simple downspout diverter which senses when water backs up into it, so that it switches over to the regular downspout.