|Planting the new Drought Tolerant Demonstration Garden|
, however, can sit back and indulge in air-conditioned comfort wearing a well-earned Cheshire Cat grin, while the rest of us chafe at the chore. Back in 2003, after experiencing a second year of drought conditions and tired of having to deal with all the watering work as a consequence, Donna researched Xeriscaping, or the science of water-wise landscaping and then replaced a perennial bed, applying all she had learned.
A sturdy boxwood hedge, with its waxy leaves, provides the structure for the garden and several ornamental grasses, including, small blue festucas, maiden grass, little bluestem, and porcupine grass, anchor the other plantings. Both the grasses and boxwoods are well established and show great tolerance for the dry weather.Watch a video of Donna's garden recorded in 2010 here. Follow up story here. And here is an article, with sidebar, from 2007 from the archives of the Hagerstown newspaper, The Morning Herald.
Because new drought tolerant plantings do require watering the first year to insure a strong root establishment, I have had to water the new catmint, Nepeta Blue Dragon. The older Walker’s low catmint blooms continuously, never fazed by lack of moisture.
There are several varieties of sedums and the prickly pear cactus which have fat, fleshy leaves to help with moisture storage and they show no sign of stress.
I have many varieties of fine, thread leafed plants including, penstemons, coreopsis, meadow sage, dianthus, and Allium Blue Twister, whose leaves have a very small surface area and allow for less evaporation.
The dwarf silver leaf sage, sea foam Artemisia, and lavender have silver foliage which reflects the sun. Poppy mallow and dwarf silver leaf sage grow close to the ground giving them a reduced rate of evaporation.
The leaves of Salvias, Gaillardia, Rudbeckia, and Coneflowers all have tiny hairs on them which, when moved by a breeze, provide a cooling effect to the plant. All the Rudbekia, Salvias, and Coneflowers look wonderful but the Gaillardia (Blanket flower) looks sad and droopy. It is the only plant I have been tempted to water.
But my very favorite drought tolerant plants are the Agastaches including Golden Jubilee, Blue Fortune, Acapulco Salmon and Pink, and Cotton Candy. They have a deep tap root, searching for water and the most wonderful minty smell. Growing tall and colorful, they are magnets for the bees and butterflies.
Plant List for the Drought Tolerant Demonstration Garden
Bangle Greenwood Genista lydia ‘Bangle’
Catmint Nepeta faassenni 'Alba’
Columnar Mugo Pine Pinus mugo ‘ Columnaris’
Threadbrach Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis ‘Filiformis'
Juniper Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'
Dwarf Norway Spruce Picea abies 'pumila'
Blue Spirea Caryopteris Caryopteris X clandonensis 'Dark Knight'
Threadleaf Coreopsis Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb'
Amsonia Arkansas Blue star Amsonia hubrichtii (2011 perennial of the year)
Penstemon Penstemon strictus 'Rocky Mountain Purple'
Yucca Hesperaloe parviflora 'Perpa Brake Light'
Blue gamma grass Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' - more pictures and info here.
Festuca 'Elijah blue' - more pictures and info here.
Panicum virgatum 'Cheyenne Sky' - more pictures and info here.
Agastache 'Blue Blazes' Hyssop
Agastache Anise hyssop 'Purple haze'
Agastache Texas hummingbird mint
Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spires'
Salvia Salvia nemorosa 'May Night'
Salvia 'Wendy’s Wish'
Sedum 'Purple Emperor'
Jupiter’s Beard Centranthus ruber var. coccineus