Every gardener has lost at least one plant because it wasn’t watered. If you’re lucky, you might see the wilted plant before it dies, but other times it’s too late and the plant is nothing but dust. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to establish plants and never have to water them again. Seriously, who has the time to check and water their plants every single day? Where hot weather is combined with sandy soil, water retention can be a serious issue. The good news is thousands and thousands of plants have evolved to live and thrive in hot and dry climates.
Plants that have adapted to low water areas often have similar attributes. Succulents and cacti retain water throughout the plant tissue these include sedums, agave, and saguaro.
Other plants, like lambs ears, have developed tiny hairs on their leaves that provide self-shade. Many of these plants hot climate plants, including sages, have silver or grayish foliage that reflects heat. All of these attributes were successful to plants evolving in an arid dessert climate.
Many of the most popular herbs originated in the Mediterranean, growing at their best in warm dry climates. Rosemary, lavender, and thyme are three Mediterranean favorites that available in many diverse forms from creeping prostrates to tall uprights and everything in between.
Many shrubs are well suited for hot and dry conditions and grow regardless of soil condition. Drought-tolerant shrubs include:
Ceanothus ssp., Wild Lilac.
Cistus ssp., Rock rose.
Nandina domestica ‘Nana’ Heavenly bamboo.
Nerium oleander Oleander.
Pittosporum tobira Japanese pittosporum.
Rhaphiolepis Indian Hawthorne.
A well planned landscape using region appropriate plants will last longer and cost less to establish and maintain. If you consider things like water use and the cost of replacing a plant, it’s not worth it go against the flow of nature and try to grow what nature didn’t intend. Native plants and wildflowers are some of the best, and most reliable, choices for creating a low-water xeriscape landsca
The Garden is good for your Health
Next time your garden needs a little weeding, consider this. Just five minutes of outdoor activity improves self-esteem and mental health. Researchers from the University of Essex, in England, extrapolated data from 10 existing studies on outdoor exercise. The data was collected from over 1,200 people of all ages and genders, including people in different states of mental health. The data included studies on horseback riding, bicycling, boating, fishing, walking and, of course, gardening.
The research showed that outdoor activity had the most positive effect on young people and people with mental illness, although it was beneficial for everyone. Most of us know first-hand that outdoor exercise increases the sense of well being, but up until now no one knew exactly how much outdoor time was required for a noticeable effect. The current study published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology says the greatest effect on self-esteem was achieved in only 5 minutes of outdoor activity. Walking in a city or park was equally effective, but the greatest improvement in esteem and mental health was noticed in outdoor areas with water. Gardening is not only a physical workout, but it’s a chance to take a break to get some fresh air and sunshine and now we know gardening it is good for the health inside and out.