We’re entering winter and our green thumbs are itching to find a project, especially as the garden catalogs start filling the mailbox. What a great time to spend some time looking at your existing gardens and finding the weak spots! Do you have an area with little or no water so you’ve ignored it for too long? How about spending some of this long winter planning a drought tolerant garden?
Just because you’re designing for low water requirements doesn’t mean you can’t mix up the colors and textures just like you do with your other flower beds. Also, be sure to factor in various bloom times and plant height to provide interest and beauty across the growing season.
As with any garden, well-drained soil is a key to a successful garden so, if you’re stuck with compacted soil, dig compost into the bed before planing so the roots can grow deep. Though you may need to water it weekly to get it going (maybe the whole first year), plants with well-established roots will be better able to withstand drought.
Plants to consider that will provide height, texture, and color variety:
- Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) ‘Wichita Blue’ – evergreen tree that requires full sun, grows 10-12 feet tall, and provides a lovely silvery blue background
- Sedum (Sedum) ‘Maestro’ – with purple-tinted foliage and pink blooms, this perennial attracts butterflies and grows 24-30 inches tall but rarely needs staking
- Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) ‘Orange Rocket’ – an interesting shrub with new growth that is bright orange and very light yellow blooms in the spring
- Catmint (Nepeta) ‘Little Trudy’ – there are so many things to recommend this: lavender/purple blooms from early summer to fall, silvery green foliage, attracts butterflies but deer-resistant, and the foliage is fragrant when crushed. At only 10-12 inches tall, keep these clumps near the front of your garden
Don’t let lack of water deter you from having color and butterflies to enjoy all summer!