“When most of America is singing ‘June is bustin’ out all over,” we’re in our woolies and slickers and loving it. Summer doesn’t arrive here until mid-July and we have the greenery to prove it.

Those are the words I’d use to defend our climate when friends in other parts of the country would make cracks about rainy Seattle. How suddenly times can change.

Google’s weather forecast for the coming month is warmer than normal temperatures, with dry, sunny days.

It’s plain scary, and I fret this is the new normal. Adding to the anxiety is the reality that, with reduced precipitation, there are more people in the Pacific Northwest using water.

OK, gardeners: start learning the tricks of water wisdom now. Grow your knowledge as you reduce your consumption. An ounce of conservation can stave off a pound of suffering.

Surely you’ve already mastered some of the basics: shorter showers, fewer flushes, no running faucet as you prepare for or clean up after meals. Simple stuff.

Reduce the amount of lawn in your garden starting now and as the years progress. Let what grass you have assume what I call “The Tuscan Look” — brown in the hot months. The rich, green color will come back in November.

Water beds weekly and well, getting up early to irrigate.

The water you apply will soak  into the ground, where plants can use it before the sun gets hot and you watch steam rising from the soil. You won’t be witnessing evaporation. Thorough, deep soaking is preferable to a daily spritz. You can also water in the evening, but that risks the development of mildew as moisture clings to plants through the dark, cool nights. Early morning is best.

There are many commercial mulches available with which to top beds. The “Chop and Drop” method is also good. As you groom and prune, cut up the clippings and spread them around under vulnerable plants. A 4-inch-deep layer is not excessive.

Or try this: soak the ground. Then cover beds with an overlapping patchwork of newspaper, 10 to 12 sheets thick. Soak the paper. Then cover the paper with a decorative layer of commercial mulch or gathered vegetable matter. The water-retention benefits of this system are amazing.

Newly planted trees require 15 gallons of water a week. Those green plastic bags you see attached to the trunks of seedlings, often called Tree Gators, work well. Fill them. Over a 5- to 9-hour period, the water will slowly leak out, saturating the ground around the thirsty roots. Trees should only need this kind of irrigation for the first two growing seasons. I once knew a frugal and inventive gardener who took empty 15-gallon plastic detergent buckets, drilled five tiny holes in the bottom of each one, set it beside his newly planted trees and filled them with water. It worked quite well: drip irrigation from a recycled reservoir.

If you like floriferous summer containers, water them well, once planted. Then give them a drink around the base of each plant daily. Years ago, covering a story on the hanging baskets of Victoria, British Columbia, the head gardener gave me a great tip:When you’re planting the baskets, make the camouflaging nest of moss, then put an aluminum pie plate in the bottom of each one, then the potting soil, then the plants. With that pie pan down there, it will keep the water from running out the bottom and the baskets will stay moist much longer.

Similarly, you can cut a generous circle of plastic from a lid you’d normally pitch. Put that over the drain hole of the pot before you add the soil. This forms an imperfect seal and dramatically slows the escape of the water. You’ll irrigate, with watering can or hose. The water will fill to the brim, temporarily flooding the pot. You’ll literally see air bubbles come up through that water as the soil soaks.

Think about drought-tolerant plants. There are so many lively, colored yuccas available now for beds and pots. The big Sedums are another good option. Talk to your nursery person. Thankfully, City People’s Garden Store will still be going strong this summer. They never fail to offer impeccable advice, practical as it is beautiful. Now is as good a time as any to say to those folks down there in the Valley that Madison Park is going to miss you. Thank you for years and years of joyful gardening wisdom and flair.

Methinks the days of creating your own backyard typhoon are over. How I loved going out there and soaking up, down and all around until the garden virtually dripped like a secret garden in New Orleans after a downpour. No more. Now hydro-stinginess is a necessity, but it should come at no cost to our enjoyment of gardening. It’s really a matter of how you take it in, what you do with it. It’s fair to say that gardening can be as much fun on the dry side as humor. All the same, pray for rain.