Last week we dipped below freezing for probably the last time this winter. so this weekend we spent Saturday working in the garden and flower beds. Just so you know, I’m not much of an ornamental gardener. We’ve moved many times and my focus is always on growing food first. But now that we are going into our fourth year of living on this property, I feel like I can really start working on our flower beds.
It’s really important to me that we use waterwise plants in our landscape design. It gets very hot during the summer and watering the vegetable garden and fruit trees is all I really have time for. So, I was really excited when Monrovia asked if I would like to try some of their waterwise plants and share them with you. It was just the push I needed to tackle a new flower bed around one of our pine trees.
I’ve bought Monrovia plants many times from my local Lowe’s and have always been pleased with them, so the next time I was in town, I made sure to stop by and get a few plants. It’s still a little early here for a huge selection of plants, but I picked some blue salvia (sage) and some yellow coreopsis. Both plants are heat tolerant and require little water once they’re established. They are also both cold hardy to Zone 5 which means I won’t have to cover them when we get a freeze.
I thinned out some plants from another flowerbed and planted them in this bed also. It should look really nice once they fill in.
How to Plant a Waterwise Garden
Start with a plan. Decide where you want to put plants first, then figure out what plants will do well in that area. Don’t go plant shopping first and then try to find a place to plant them – it rarely works out well. Take into consideration the sun, shade and wind in that area. Is it an area that will be hard to water, if so, you might consider waterwise plants for it.
Chose plants carefully. It’s best to use plants that are native or adapted to your area in your landscape design if you want a low fuss garden. To help you get started on your waterwise garden, here are some plants that are drought tolerant- yarrow, golden marguerite, butterfly weed, basket-of-gold, false indigo, catmint, threadleaf coreopsis, purple coneflower, globe thistle, cusion spurge, baby’s breath, sunflower, daylilies, lavender, gayfeather, sea lavender, mallow (zebra malva), russian sage, ornage conflower, lavender cotton, stonecrop, lamb’s ears, goldenrod, thyme, stonecrop, yucca, lantana, bulbine, calylophus, daisy, damianita, salvia and Mexican heather. Unless it’s wildflowers, I don’t plant annuals. I need my flowerbeds to be as no fuss as possible, so I mostly plant perennials. This not only saves time but it also saves money. Here is a printable list of waterwise perennials for your gardening notebook.
Add organic matter to your garden. If you want a great garden, you need great soil. Building your soil is easy but it takes time. You can either make compost or buy compost to work into your soil. One way to see if you have good soil is to look for earth worms in it. If you have earth worms your soil is pretty healthy, if not you need to work on it. If you add some compost each year, you won’t need to use commercial fertilizers on your plants which will save you time and money.
Water wisely. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are a great way to get water to the plants without it evaporating. This also allows for deep watering, instead of shallow watering. When you water deeply it encourages the roots grow down deep into the soil; this will make for a much healthier plant. We use soaker hoses in the beds around our house, which is also helpful for our foundation. But for our other flower beds, we use “reclaimed” water. We use dish pans in our kitchen sink to wash dishes and use that water for the plants. I also keep a 5 gallon bucket in the bathtub and use that to catch the water that normally runs down the drain while we wait for the hot water to kick in. Since we’re using low water plants this works just fine. And it keeps some grey water out of our septic system. Collected rainwater also makes a great watering option.
Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulching your garden will not only keep the moisture from evaporating, it will also help cut down on weeds that like to use the water. You can purchase mulch in bags or you can use things like leaves, pine needles, shredded newspaper, wood chips, straw or rotted hay. Mulch is just laid on top of the soil, it’s not worked into the soil like compost is.
What are your favorite waterwise plants?
Thanks so much to Monrovia for sponsoring this post.
This post is shared at Tuesday Garden Party.