Gotta face facts folks… here in the west, we have some very dry days ahead. With rain and snow pack at 30-40% of normal, a drought is imminent. California hasn’t seen dry conditions like this since the drought of 1975. Greater demand and less available water means the summer 0f 2014 is shaping up to be even worse.
Thanks to xeriscaping, we don’t have to give up on the concept of having a beautiful yard during the looming drought conditions. A xeriscape, by definition, is landscape that uses minimal water and takes advantage of native, drought-tolerant flora. It’s a smart, sustainable solution for dry regions in the west and southwest where water is in short supply.
When you can incorporate native plants into your xeriscape plan, it’s icing on the cake. By choosing native plants over exotic ones, you are enabling the soil. It requires less fertilizer and there is less chance for microbial or pest outbreaks. Native flowers, plants and trees attract wildlife and pollinators that have grown to favor a specific species. Unfamiliar flowers and other sources of pollen will be neglected or ignored and ultimately fail.
A good xeriscape plan incorporates an integrated drought management solution. It includes careful plant selection, adjusting soil with water-retaining amendments, placement of retention barriers, strategic grading, and methods to reduce the impact of evaporation in your garden.
Plants for a xeriscape garden
Plants that do well in a xeriscape, or “dry garden,” are drought-tolerant, disease-resistant and hardy. They need to root well in rocky or dry, sandy soil that is devoid of enriched nutrients and perfect loamy conditions.
A favorite in the western garden is English lavender (Lavendula angustifolia). This versatile, low-maintenance plant is often grown as a hedge. Lavender tolerates a wide gamut of poor weather and soil conditions. Thriving in sandy soil and full, bright, hot sun, lavender also tolerates the cold and snow; it grows in wet soils with poor drainage and windy conditions. When left alone, lavender grows up to three feet high and blooms colorful, fragrant flowers.
As a backdrop plant in the xeriscape garden, consider the flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), an annual that makes the most of minimal water and scant nutrients. Large green leaves are complemented by purple, pink or white aromatic flowers.
Euryops, the yellow bush daisy, is right at home in the hot, arid, rocky gardens of the west and southwest. As an added bonus, it seems the Euryops is somehow resistant to pests and bugs.
How are you preparing for the drought? Are you changing your garden plans to include any drought-tolerant plants?
Editor’s Note- photos by: blueavina.com, telegraph.co.uk
This article is the 24th in a series of 26 consecutive articles, as part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the whole month of April. Tomorrow, I’ll post an article with a title that begins with the letter “Y”… So goes the rest of the alphabet, through the end of the month.