Although we’ve had a bit of rain in recent days our region has had some record breaking dry times over the past 18 months. This prompts me to write about hardy plants that will handle dry spots in our gardens. The first thing many of us think of when we look for dry, hardy plants are succulents such as agaves, aloes and echeverias.
These are increasingly popular as structural plants in pots and in dry, sunny garden beds. Flowering perennials that can also handle these tough growing conditions include seaside daisy (erigeron), Jerusalem sage, kangaroo paw, gazania, rosemary and native rosemary (westringia).
There are quite a few strappy or grassy plants that are popular with landscapers and gardeners for dry locations in the garden and which require little maintenance. Agapanthus is definitely one of these, but other options include dianella, liriopes, cordylines and lomandras. There are many different cultivars of most of these-some of which have eye catching foliage colour. Flowering shrubs that can handle tough, dry conditions across our region include Viburnum, buddleia, flowering quince (chaenomeles) and oleander. We shouldn’t forget our flowering Australian native shrubs either, including many types of Bottlebrush (Callistemons), grevillias, tea trees (Leptospermums) and hopbush (Dodonea).
I’ve written before about the hardiness of these native shrubs and their great attraction for protecting and feeding lovely birds such as finches and wrens in our gardens.
Finally, a couple of trees well suited to dry spots in our gardens in this region-kurrajongs and olive trees. Apart from choosing the right plants that are drought hardy for dry garden areas, don’t forget to mulch around those plants which reduces moisture loss from the soil, reduces wide fluctuations in soil temperature which improves plant root development and contributes nutrients for worms and other soil organisms that support our garden plants.
By Ian Rogan
Millthorpe Garden Nursery