This story begins with Lori Haynes. She said, “In 2009, I returned to the United States and settled in a town called Dripping Springs, just west of Austin, Texas. I was anxious to get home to Texas and put down roots after living throughout the US and abroad for twenty-four years as a Marine Corps Spouse. I was certainly excited to begin gardening. However, I soon learned that gardening in Central Texas could be a real challenge. I wondered more than once why this place was named Dripping Springs. I didn’t see any springs but I did know of local wells running dry. Because of that, my husband and I made a conscious decision to draw no water from the ground, but to use rainwater from our roof, exclusively, as our water source-we wanted to do our part to conserve the Hill Country water supply.”
Lori’s decision to use rainwater showed up more than ever when she put in her garden. Her determination to conserve water eventually caused her to research the most efficient watering system known, OLLAS. OLLAS have been around for thousands of years, so Lori designed one that was more user-friendly. The wide neck and other changes to the traditional olla never compromised functionality. She shared her thoughts with many gardeners, and before she knew it, Dripping Springs OLLAS was born. This design of Lori’s has proven to the winner in thousands of gardens.
Lori launched her business in the Spring of 2012, which is about the time I received an olla in the mail from her. What a nice surprise to find something new with which to garden! I’d been gardening for about 40 years at that point, so a new item for the garden really made me want to get my hands dirty! And as Lori put it, “Very soon after, a dear friend I had met in Japan, and another Marine Corps spouse, Mary Kathryn Dunston, asked if she could show OLLAS to some of her local nurseries in Virginia. Mary Kathryn had always been an excellent gardener and her enthusiasm for OLLAS made her the perfect partner. She and I shared the same desires to see healing in our culture and environment. What better than helping people grow healthy food while conserving our precious water. Together we have taken Dripping Springs OLLAS from the East Coast to the West and continue to educate people about the many advantages of the OLLA.”
Our story continues in that Lori has had to step out of the business. Life changes and we are called to change with it. I have stepped further into the business to try to fill her shoes, and as I muddle through, I am humbly introduced to many many people who have the same vision as we; Help people grow healthy food and conserve our precious water. Our mission continues!
– Mary Kathryn Dunston