Sunday, 17 February 2008

THE ORNAMENTAL HOT, DRY GARDEN










Everyone wants to be able to have a BBQ out the back in a nice garden setting but how do we do it with our hot, dry summers and the water restrictions? These photos are taken at my place in the harshest part of the block and I specifically chose these plants (after months of research, nearly 3 years ago now) to cope with: baking summer sun, made worse by being surrounded with concrete walls and stone paving, the full brunt of hot north winds, the rough soil, sloping ground, once a week water by porous hose under the thin mulch, lots of winter shade and the fact that it is next to the pool and we want it to look good all the time! Now I know what has done well I will fill in the gaps with more of these plants this autumn/winter. Having a large tub with suitable aquatic plants lifts the whole area. Click on the photos to enlarge and read labels.

These lantana (below) get only the water I give them once a week and they are in a narrow bed, next to this north-facing concrete retaining wall. They are winners to be alive at all and have grown from tiny seedlings to this size in 6 months. I chose the lantana after seeing it growing, neglected but happy, outside an office block. It is no wonder that it has become a dreadful weed in Qld.
One area further down the bank I have been trying to regenerate with plants local to my area, mostly. Some of these have been fabulously successful and some have failed dismally, for various reasons, including chook attack. The best have been various small acacias, correas (shade), kennedia, helichrysums,Peppermint grass (grey native for semi-shade), hardenbergia and dianella. Other natives that have received no water at all this summer and still look fresh and lovely are hakea salicifolia, hakea laurina, acaia iteaphylla, various grevilleas. Some of them are in this collage below.



Here is a short list of the best of the non-natives that have thrived this summer with little water (excluding those listed at the top of this post):
Tuecrium marum (Cat thyme - small, pretty bush)
Bignonia rosea (pink tecoma - a twining climber)
Gazania - yellow (attacked ferociously by the chooks)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle - a twining climber)
Euryops virginatus (Medium shrub, soft foliage, yellow flowers)
Euryops tenuissimus (medium shrub, yellow daisy flowers)
Buddleja salvifolia (lilac flowers, survived near death experience )
Buddleja davidii (black knight butterfly bush)
Plumbago auriculata (Cape plumbago - fast, scrambling shrub, blue flowers for months)
Convolvulus cneorum (low silver bush, white flowers for months)
Convolvulus sabatius 'Moroccan beauty' (creeper - hangs over walls)
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (herbaceous succulent)
Perovskia altriplicifolia (Russian sage)
Kniphofia -various (red hot poker)
Swainsona formosa (Sturt desert pea - stunning )
Citrus hystrix (Kaffir lime - great pot plant - so tough)
Succulents - most
Geraniums - some, especially a large red one
Agapanthus
Cotoneaster horizontalis (red berries are adored by the chooks)
Leukodendron 'safari sunset'
Clivias (so long as they are in full shade)
Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' (also for the full shade)
Fuschias - (small-leafed red ones are very tough in the shade)
Almost anything self-sown especially about a dozen peach trees
Survived but not really thrived
Salvias - survived but haven't done as well as other things
Lavenders - look pretty scrappy but will come good as soon as it rains
Obviously there is a lot of other stuff that isn't worth mentioning.

2 comments:

kate said...

Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by the blog! I love reading garden sites, and I also try to save a lot of seeds and have a large garden (veggies, as well as ornamental).
Will stop by again (all our vacations are ocean or mountain as well).

Chook said...

Thanks Kate - this is a great list!