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Gardening for Drought- Drought resistant plants and how to plant them

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The heatwave is a wake-up call. It invites another look not only at drought resistant plants, but equally important how we design and plant our gardens. Designs incoporating scree gardens, gravel mulched borders, and "no water gardens" will, I think, eclipse the previous trend of "no dig gardens".
Scree garden in RHS harlow carr NGS garden in rutland


Even if we do not have another drought next year it is clear that water conservation is key. Mulch is critical to water conservation and illustrated are practical ways to mulch.
All new plants need to be watered, usually for around 6 weeks, but minimal/no watering after that is achieved by combining (1) drought-resistant plants with (2) organically rich soil with (3) mulch. There are more ideas on suitable plants on Beth Chatto's website where she created the gold standard dry garden.
Some ideas for next year.
There are a number of practical steps which help to manage dry conditions and conserve water.
  1. Mulch is key and it is best applied when the soil is wet, (after winter and early spring rain) as you are seeking to preserve the water already in the soil and any that falls later. Mulching in dry conditions is not as effective. Organic mulches are leaf mould, wood chip, or bark, and I often use Strulch. There is a wide range of inorganic mulches using decorative gravel and pebbles. 
  2. Autumn is the traditional time for planting new shrubs and if you are planning to do so, remember that new shrubs need a lot of water. The commonest cause of shrub failure is lack of water. It’s the roots that need the water best tip is to sink a plastic bottle ( with the bottom cut off,) alongside the shrub, so you water straight to the roots.
  3. Make the best use of free water- install one or more water butts to maximize rainwater.
  4. more tips ………How to Water your Garden and Save Water



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