February 13th, 2010
I decided last year that I have neither the time or the inclination to trot around holding the hands of those plants that look up at me and gasp, ‘Water, please!!!’ So, I have begun experimenting with more waterwise plants. As Australia continues to struggle with climate change, and I and other gardeners struggle with our water restrictions, I am moving more to the Mediterranean plants along with our natives. Mulching is now essential. My exciting find this year has been the Cistus – the hardy rock roses, these come from the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. They require very little water and their delicate crepey blooms flower for months. They seem to manage over the winter with the frosts that my garden has, so have been a good choice.
Clivias, of course, are a great favourite and one of the most useful, easy-to-please plants, they don’t even mind dry shady spots. So, good for them, must buy some more!!
Our old friend the Lavender – well, what can I say? They just seem to thrive in the heat. But they do tend to get leggy and I find can sometimes mysteriously drop dead. Always a sad thing, maybe it is the frost. But I will keep trying with them, just because I love them. I think the Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender is the toughest. Maybe I should just stick to that one and give up on the other varieties. I don’t know. Maybe where I live it just gets too wet and frosty in the winter.
The spring flowering bulbs such as grape hyacinths, sparaxis, freesias etc. don’t even want any water over the summer because that is their dormant period – well, they make a perfect choice for the waterwise garden.
Herbs too can be terrific as ground cover – rosemary, sage these do very well. The hebe seems to stand absolutely anything too. Experimenting can be fun.
Well, happy gardening!