Steele: Drought-friendly plants that thrive parched

Learn about drought-resistant gardening with Introduction to Xeriscape, Sept. 16 and 23, or Oct.1 and 8.

Although my focus in my home garden has always been to choose water-wise plants, I find during this unseasonably long spell of dry, hot weather some plants are thriving, while others seem to be gasping for water.

For the past 11 years I have gardened in pure sand—very easy to dig but poor in nutrients and no capacity to retain moisture.

Even though I have dug-in lots of water retentive organic matter and kept the soil mulched, the soil dries out rapidly and becomes hydrophobic (repels water).

I am a plantaholic.

Having a plant nursery for nine years magnified my interest in plant varieties.

When I gardened there, in amended clay soil, I could grow many water-wise plants without supplemental water.

When I first moved to this property, I brought my plant friends with me.

Sadly, many of my favourites couldn’t survive in dry, sandy soil.

I have grown some of them in an area that I water sporadically as needed.

This year the need has intensified.

I suspect that the weather we are experiencing is going to be the norm so I am planning to convert all the front and side gardens into plants that thrive in drought.

The time has come for hard decisions. Some plant friends are going to need a new home.

I have taken stock of what is thriving with little to no extra water. I may add more of these to replace the plants that need water.

Shade garden:

The border of giant Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum commutatum) is outstanding.

Leathery-leaved Bergenia looks great.

Euonymous Emerald Gaiety’ and Green and Gold both add brightness with their variegated leaves.

Surprisingly, hostas are doing very well (Krosse Regal, Albo-marginata, Golden Tiara and Sum and Substance).

They were planted in a compost/sandy soil mixture nine years ago and are kept mulched. The root systems are now well-developed.

The ground hugging Cotoneaster horizontalis has spread well and layered itself to make new plants.

Succulents, tall Sedum Autumn Joy and Matrona and many hen and chick varieties look great.

Northern sea oats grass (Chasmanthium latifolium) is a lush bright green.

Natives Oregon grape, Saskatoon and snowberry have all self-seeded here.

Full sun plants:

Herbs: lavender, oregano, thyme, sage, Hyssop officionalis

Ornamental grasses: blue fescue, blue oat, blue gramma (Bouteloua gracilis), blue hair (Koeleria glauca)

Good bloom: Russian sage, Nepeta Walker’s Low (catnip), Oenothera macrocarpa, Scutellaria alpina

Good foliage: Santolina, Rue, Yucca Golden Sword, Okanagan natives rabbit brush and big sagebrush, Artemesias Silver Mound and Valerie Finnis.’

You can find details and photos of these and many more water-wise plants on the plant database at okanaganxeriscape.org.

For detailed xeriscape information and plant suggestions, I invite you to attend my two-night class Introduction to Xeriscape on Wednesday, Sept. 16 and 23, or Thursday, Oct.1 and 8.

Just Posted

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: the warm sun is sticking around

Environement Canada forcasts sun, no clouds for Wednesday

TKI Construction looks forward to being part of Rutland

The company is renovating the old AG Outdoor Superstore

Construction set to begin on new roundabout in Lake Country

Construction is scheduled from April until July

Rockets’ tiebreaker for playoff berth a franchise first

The Rockets travel to Kamloops for a do-or-die match against the Blazers

Okanagan Golf Club welcomes proposed additions to courses

Kelowna City Council is discussing putting housing units on the 18th hole of the Quail

The UBC Innovation Library has helped over 1,100 students since opening in 2015

Students across B.C. can access their academic resources at the UBC Innovation Library

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

Most Read