Gardening in Dry Conditions

Gardening in Dry Conditions

Blue Grass Garden Blog, April 2024

This upcoming garden season is going to be an interesting one. Most of us are planning and preparing for a very dry season. While the latest, seemingly unending snow flurries this past month, have been welcome as ‘we need the moisture’, it may be too little too late. We’ve talked at various times about gardening in drought, but how about adopting a gardening style that will thrive in dry conditions? Have you ever considered a xeriscape garden?

Xeriscape gardens or water conserving landscapes are not new ideas. This style of landscaping uses plants that require little to no extra water or irrigation and are relatively low maintenance. Many arid regions have long adopted this style of gardening to adapt to normal dry conditions, think California and Arizona. While a desert landscape may not be to your liking, don’t worry there are many plants that we can grow in our area that are beautiful and will withstand dry conditions.

Choose plants that are labelled drought resistant or drought tolerant. A little research will prove that you don’t just need to plant ornamental grasses and cacti. A xeriscape garden can be very textural in appeal with various plants that have adapted to do well in dry conditions. We have and abundance of beautiful sedums (stonecrop) in various heights and colours. Pretty blooming perennials, such as dianthus, Echinacea, gaillardia, salvia, globe thistle and yarrow are just a handful of considerations.

Design Interest

Plant in groups or sweeping drifts to add extra interest and appeal. Other complimentary foliage perennials to consider are hens n chicks (Sempervivum), blue fescue, lamb’s ear (Stachys) and cushion spurge (Euphorbia). Add architectural interest will large rocks, coloured stone, and driftwood. Create a rock garden full of alpine plants that are naturally tough enough to withstand periods of drought. Plants native to our region are also good choices.

Those of us that garden in the prairies and foothills know and embrace the existing challenges of growing here, this is just one more wrinkle to iron out. We’ve got this, have fun gardening!