In the beginning there were blessed, soaking rains. Then came the curse of the tangled hose. The Romans built aqueducts to move water around. I, on the other hand, drag two or three sections of “virtually kink proof” 50’ hoses in the summer heat, chanting the March of the Winkies O-Ee-yah! Eoh-ah from the “Wizard of Oz.”

We are bestowed, in Central Kentucky, with an abundance of 43” of rain per year, but there are stretches where we go thirsty. A couple of days of rain in late July and early August, and an accompanying brief cool down, were a tease for what a pleasant summer on the coast of Maine might be like. Kentucky, though, is ruled by heat and humidity.

There’s a reason they call these the dog days of summer. Georgia horticulturist Bobby Saul said, “It gets so dry even the large-mouth bass have ticks.”

I am not going to play god with an automatic irrigation system. I won’t entrust a coffee pot to a timer, so I’m not going to rely on a fickle control panel to turn on sprinklers at 7:30 on Tuesday morning come rain or shine. My primulas, crested iris and hardy geraniums deserve better.

What’s a gardener to do?

You need only a few simple accessories for manual watering. I’m here to make your chores a teensy-weensy bit easier.

My simple accessories: oscillating and rotary sprinklers, a watering wand and a beloved and beat-up 2-gallon Haws watering can.

Don’t coil your hose like a snake or hang it on the side of the house and call it wall art. Tidiness becomes a tantrum of snags and swearing when you unwind the mess. When you’re finished watering, bend your hose to your will—in the shape of a figure 8— but don’t expect mercy on your water bill.

The North Mercer County Water Department is a good community partner, but I knew what was coming when I saw their number pop up on my iPhone in late July. “Mr. Bush, you used a lot of water this month.” They’re setting me up for bad news and a big bill.

“Yes ma’am, I’ve been watering the garden and little trees a lot.”

The kind lady asks, “How does your garden look?”

I sugar coat my answer, “It looks great.” It doesn’t, really. The truth is: The rabbits ate my cabbage seedlings, and the flower border looks tousled and tired, but I don’t want the water department to think it’s their fault.

It’s August.