Drought Tolerant Garden Plants

My gardens haven't seen any rain for several weeks now.  The grass is brown and I even commented to my daughter that it sounds like crunchy snow.  Of course the reality couldn't be further from the truth - it's hot!  No snowball could survive in our back yard today with temperatures expected to rise into the triple digits.  Droughts do provide us with one really nice opportunity to examine our gardens for drought tolerant plants.  Here are a few of those plants that have done very well in my garden without any supplemental watering. In most cases natives perform better than exotic plants in the garden.  But there are exotics that can thrive in our weather conditions.  Unfortunately these exotics often become invasive because they can handle our native conditions so easily.  Take this butterfly bush for instance.  It's done fantastic without any care from me this year.  It's a…

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Drought Tolerant Plants and Photos Around the Gardens

I hope when you read this post that the rains are coming down in a delightful shower to water your garden, because they certainly aren't here! It's dry, extremely dry. Working in the ground is like cutting through a brick. Fortunately we've planted plants over the years that can tolerate these dry drought conditions. Autumn sage is one of those drought tolerant sages that is a reliable performer.  It hasn't stopped blooming yet this year which is different from most years.   Usually it blooms in the spring then stops during the summer then picks up blooming strong in the fall.  It can be easily propagated through cuttings and also through seed.  I just gathered seed for it the other day that I'll plant next spring. Even though this isn't the native beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) this Callicarpa dichotoma does quite well in our dry periods.  It's beauty is spectacular in…

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Dry, Dry, Dry

The dry season is well upon us. Here in Tennessee we haven't seen a drop of rain in two weeks and even that was only .12 inches (at least in our garden). I'm not sure how long the plants can hang on without a good dose of liquid from the sky. And despite my repeated waterings the plants are suffering. My poor 'Shasta' Viburnum has foliage that looks much more like a contorted filbert. In times like these it's good to have a foundation of plants set that are drought tolerant. Fortunately I have a few! Here's a short list of the plants in my garden that so far have not been stressed by a month of Tennessee drought conditions. Their performance may vary depending on the quality of the soil. My Drought Tolerant Shrubs and Trees Caryopteris 'Longwood Blue' Oak Leaf Hydrangea Caryopteris Crape Myrtle (smaller and younger ones…

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5 Ways to Help the Garden Survive Droughts

Drought tolerant Purple Coneflower It's June and already we're suffering drought conditions. The weather around us is more like late July and August than June with temperatures ten degrees higher than normal and no rain. We are dry as a bone. Last night I watched as a huge rain cloud dissipated into nothing before it made it to our garden on the weather radar. My garden is suffering but here are some ideas I'm trying to deal with the drought. Plant native plants - You've probably heard this one before but native plants are better adapted to the local area weather conditions and are better prepared for the extreme weather conditions that may emerge. Survival of the fittest! Observe what plants thrive during extreme drought conditions and plant more of these kinds of plants in your garden while resisting the urge to plant more of the drought sensitive plants. Prioritize…

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Making A Dry Creek Bed Drainage Canal for Downspouts

What to do with this sedum garden? That's a question we asked ourselves several times. It was at one time a sedum garden but for some reason most of the sedum died over last summer. They may have been too wet, too dry, or both! The gutter from the garage roof gushes out water from at least 50% of the roof - then the summer heat dries out the whole area. It really takes one tough plant to survive those ever changing conditions. So we have to adapt and make the area more hospitable for planting. What did we come up with? A dry creek bed with a canal to channel the water away from the house and the garden. The rest of the post will tell you about making a dry creek bed! Making a Dry Creek Bed The Plan for Making a Dry Creek Bed Here's the basic…

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Bloom N’ Garden Expo 2011

Today was my day to visit the Bloom N' Garden Expo in Williamson County, TN. It's a garden show put together by the Williamson County Master Gardeners which features talented speakers and all kinds of vendors ranging from carnivorous plants and daylilies to soaps, jams, and grape juice. There's all kinds of neat stuff to see like the display gardens.   Why should you go to a garden show near you? Well if you like plants then one reason is probably obvious but beyond that it's a great way to get to see what nurseries and companies near you have to offer.  Think of it as a preview of what you could find if you went to visit them at their place. I enjoy walking around and looking at the plants. I don't any attention to the vendors who sell only slightly related gardening services and goods. The landscaping display…

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Impulse Buy Time

Last week I was in one of the home improvement stores and started wandering the gardening shelves...always a dangerous thing! I looked around at all the packaged plants which in most cases are way too early to plant out and got sucked in by the displays. I ended up coming home with one Arapaha thornless blackberry plant. I love blackberry jam and of course fruit right off the vine is pretty good too.  Since I have kids I figured the thornless would be the best choice. I only bought the one since blackberries are so easy to propagate and I figured I could easily have several by the end of the season. The problem with the plant racks this time of year is that they are all kept indoors and the plants begin sprouting in the nice warm indoor store temperatures. It's not a big deal unless the temperatures outside…

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Growing Yuccas From Seed (Part 1)

This winter I gathered some seed from a yucca (Yucca filamentosa) and saved it. I'm not sure exactly why other than I thought it might be interesting to see how they grow. I do that sometimes, where I just attempt something for the sake of attempting it (I once planted lemon seeds from a store bought lemon to see if I could get lemons after ten years and several bouts of spider mites no lemons). I'm not even a big fan of yuccas but I know many others are. I like the flower spikes that pop up when in bloom but something about the blade like nature of the leaves feels a bit dangerous, especially with young children around. They are very neat to look at and remind me of desert areas not only for their appearance but also for their drought tolerance. Anyway I decided to try my hand…

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