TOPwater-saving tips for your garden 6

2016-05-25 06:00
Plant a variety of endemic and hardy indigenous plants suitable to your climate as a lasting backbone taking up most of the available space.

Plant a variety of endemic and hardy indigenous plants suitable to your climate as a lasting backbone taking up most of the available space.

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IT is time to become a water-saving warrior with a flourishing garden full of happy plants.

Hydro zone

• Group plants together according to their water requirements into one-drop, two-drop, three-drop and no-drop zones — the latter including surfaces such as permeable paving and gravel, and plants that can survive on rainwater once established.

• Plant a variety of endemic and hardy indigenous plants suitable to your climate as a lasting backbone taking up most of the available space. Plant those that need more water in smaller beds or containers.

• In large gardens, plant huge swathes of drought-hardy ground covers and spreading succulents like crassulas, cotelydons, vygies, gazanias, arctotis and osteospermums. Include groupings of grasses and restios like Elegia tectorum.

• If you are partial to bright colour, plant annuals in pots and in the foreground of shrub beds. You can simply water them with a bucket instead of opening the sprinkler.

• Create more interest with hard landscaping elements like pathways, water elements, focal points and lots of pots to take up ground space.

How to spot a water-wise plant

Plants that are not water guzzlers normally have certain characteristics in common. Look for the following: small needle-like foliage, grey foliage colour, hairy leaves, fleshy leaves, a waxy leaf surface, leaves that close up in dry spells and leaves with a lighter shade underneath as in droughts they will flip them upwards, reflecting the heat of the sun away.

Hot tip Even plant camels will need regular watering at a young stage to become established, before being able to withstand periods of drought well.

If you have planted a young tree or shrub, create a basin around the stem and see that this basin is filled up when watering with a hosepipe or bucket.

more tip

• Rethink your lawn area — reduce lawn surfaces, reduce the watering sessions for your lawn and mow regularly.

• Care for the soil — add copious amounts of organic material, which will change the soil structure into a cultivatable loam full of good soil organisms with better drainage and water-holding capacity.

• Mulch — mulches like bark nuggets, pine needles, peach pips and other organic material placed over the soil keeps plant roots cool and moist between watering.

how you should water

• Irrigate in the early morning or late afternoon.

• Never water in windy conditions.

• Water less often, but deeper and for longer periods.

• Use soaker hoses to water at ground level rather than overhead sprinklers.

• Install a proper irrigation system controlled electronically, or fit a timing device to all taps to switch your hosepipe off in case you forget to do it.
- Wendy Moulton.

• Visit The Witness Garden Show from September 23 to September 25 at the Royal Showgrounds for more ideas on how to save water or visit


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