Secrets to a drought-tolerant garden

2016-11-23 06:01
 Lavender has the ability to survive in hot and dry conditions.

Lavender has the ability to survive in hot and dry conditions.

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WATER is a scarce resource, but our gardens don’t have to die due to water restrictions.

Don’t let water restrictions be the end of your garden. Here’s a list of plants and tips to help you start a drought-tolerant garden.

• Add mulch

Water saving is just one of the benefits of mulch, a thick cover of non-living or organic material spread over garden beds which helps keep water in the root zone. It also helps to reduce exposure to wind, hold and build the soil, stabilise soil temperature, protect roots from cold weather temperatures and prevent the growth of weeds.

The most popular mulches include bio-degradables like grass clippings, sawdust, bark chips, well-rotted manure and garden compost. Non-living options include crushed stones, rocks, gravel and pebbles.

The best time to mulch

Mulch can be applied around new plantings or to established beds and specimen plants.

Mulch is best applied from mid- to late spring, when the soil is moist and warm. It is best to avoid applying mulches in winter and early spring as the soil is too cold, and in summer, when it will be dry.

• Plant grey-silver plants

Grey-silver plants have the ability to reflect the sun’s rays away, thereby keeping them cooler and reducing water loss.

These grey beauties help reduce a garden’s water requirements while adding interesting contrast.

Coastal rosemary provides great colour contrast with grey foliage and white or blue flowers from September to May.

Lavender has the ability to survive in hot and dry conditions and is ideal for flower pots, grouped in borders or grown in clipped box hedges.

Lamb’s ear is an easy to care for ground cover that grows in full sun or semi-shade. Flowers in summer with pink to purple coloured spike-like flowers.

Silver arctotis is a vigorous, tough and sprawling ground cover that is ideal for transitioning to water-wise as they survive in sunny dry areas of the garden.

• Prepare the soil

Composting returns nutrients “taken” from the soil back into the ground. It is a valuable component to soil preparation and will improve the soil’s capacity to hold and retain moisture.

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