Xeriscaping with Color

Having a drought tolerant garden is not hard. It just requires some early prepping.

Mulch is one of the best things you can do to prevent weeds and water loss. I recommend 2-3 inches of fine bark mulch, but gravel, river rock, or alternative mulches work just as well. Old coffee beans, hazelnut shells, or my favorite- chopped straw works with wonderful results. Well mulched gardens can reduce water usage by ½ or more and less time weeding! Watering every three days, even when the sun is at 90 degrees is more than enough water. The key is to water deeply and less frequently! 

There are drought tolerant grasses for lawns, such as a variety called Buffalo grass. It’s late to green up, but will stay green while everyone else struggles to keep theirs green in the heat of summer. Consider water-wise lawn alternatives too! Creeping thyme can easily handle light foot traffic. Woolly thyme quickly forms a blue green carpet, while red thyme and mini clover, and sedges produce a lovely green expanse dotted with small flowers or decorative seed heads.   

Now for the fun part! There are dozens of drought tolerant plants that lend themselves to beautiful landscaping for year round color and interest. Many of the following flowers are perennials (they come back every year) and are North American natives that provide food for bees, birds, and butterflies. 

Blue colors: Lavenders (Hidcote for short bright purple shrubs, Grosso for tall and airy and English for huge and low traditional lavender) Russian Sage, May Knight Salvia, Purple Cone Flower, Butterfly Bush ‘Miss Molly’, and Blue Oat Grass.

Yellows: Tickseed Coreopsis, ‘Moonshine’ Yarrow and ‘Stella D’ Oro’ Daylily, Lydia Broom and Golden Cushion Spurge. 

Pinks, Reds and Orange: Firecracker Penstemond (P. eatonii), and Pineleaf Penstemond (P. pinifolius compactum), Agastache (hummingbird mint), Dianthus, Sedum, Kniphofia, Butterfly Weed. 

White: Mock Orange (‘P. lewisii), Yucca (Adam’s Needles), Iris pallida ‘Albo- Variegata’, and white lavender. 

Important: Be wary of planting drought tolerant plants where the soil is constantly moist! They will either rot out on you or become horribly invasive!

Any other questions? Contact me at [email protected]

Happy Gardening!

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