How to create a Lush Xeriscape Landscape
Xeric gardens, even though low maintenance, are not necessarily a dry desert
looking place, with hardy cacti and rocks, although in my garden rocks
certainly play an important part.
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Choose some of the garden plants that have the ability to withstand drought.
Plant them thoughtfully in well prepared garden beds, and mulch with stone, pebble or lava rock mulch to give them the benefit of the tiny amount of moisture in the soil.
This will give your garden plants lush, lovely growth, even without water.
Planting in zones, with plants that need the same kind of care all together in a group helps to eliminate maintenance to almost nothing, unless you like to putter in the garden, of course.
Drought tolerant and hardy plants combine in intriguing
textures and colors
A xeric garden is an intimately intertwined eco-system of plants, insects, birds and small mammals, and above all, a haven of peace for the gardener.
Xeriscaping is the art of plant placement, water conservation and other management strategies for water wise gardening.
Thoughtful selection of plants from many different groups ensures that you have food sources and safe habitats for wildlife.
Rock Retaining Walls
I grow many xeric garden plants for rustic crafts.
Some of the plants that I commonly use are willows (Salix), Red
Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), and native clump
maple (Acer douglasii) among other fast growing shrubs.
Investigate the potential of shrubs and trees in your area to see
which plants native to your locale are most suitable for these uses.
This rock retaining wall is home to many small creatures, and the
flowers of the many Sedum planted here are a butterfly and bee magnet.
Many commonly grown xeric plants from our great-grandmothers time are some of the very best drought tolerant plants; not only beautiful they are sought after as pollinator attractants in your nectar corridor particularly these plants for bees.
They are also prized for their medicinal properties.
That's why they're still around and popular as ever!
Water is essential in even a desert garden or xeriscaping.
Plants still require moisture; it's up to us to conserve water, and use
it wisely. An ecosystem pond will attract birds and other creatures to
help with pest control, and add life and activity to your garden.
Rain water harvest to direct precious moisture to the right place is a cost savings too.
Dowsing for Water
Xeric Garden Wildlife
Water Saving Tips
Japanese Miniature Garden
Many plants have the ability to dig deep into the earth, finding
moisture that has seeped in from previous rainfall or snow melt.
Lupines (Lupinus) and many other legumes are examples of this type of plant, with a long thick taproot.
If you look at the roots of day lilies (Hemerocallis) you can see that they are fleshy, able to save water.
Others such as thyme have a fine netting of roots spreading far beyond the top growth of the plant.
Even moss and lichen have the ability to survive long dry periods.
There are many tactics that enable the plant to either seek out
moisture hidden in the soil, or to store it, or go dormant until better
Ways that you can successfully build your xeric garden are to choose plants with these strategies, add compost to your xeric garden soil, and mulch well.
Mulching is essential for keeping moisture in the soil, and for adding small amounts of slow released nutrients.
I like the look of lava rock, especially around plants such as Sedum or Sempervivum, but other kinds of rock look equally good.
Rock or pebble mulches are best used in permanent plantings of perennials, herbs or shrubs, not around annuals or vegetables.
Mulching with my favorite mulch for xeric plants, Lava Rock
Small river rock or gravel, sifted to remove really large boulders is
beautiful for a dry creek bed or used around mixed perennials and
Even areas that are composed almost entirely of boulders can become beautiful xeric gardens like this one in Greys County in Ontario (this link opens in a new window) by utilizing the rocks and pebbles as mulch.
These kinds of non-flammable mulches are now recommended for use in areas where there is a risk of wildfires.
Shale in red or grey can add a new dimension to a rockery or scree garden.
Agricultural waste such as straw, wood chips and moldy hay can be
used in your organic vegetable garden as long as you can keep an eye on
slugs or other pests which love the damp conditions found there.
I collect the discarded scales from Douglas fir cones after the
squirrels finish with them, as these and other organic mulches such as
chopped leaves, pine needle mulch, bark and compost are perfect around
woodland plants. Find out about more garden mulches here.
The additional organic matter will benefit your soil as these kinds of mulches rot down over time. If you look under these mulching materials, the soil will be damp for a long time.
See how Mother Nature goes about protecting her garden from drought and take inspiration from it.
Be innovative and sustainable, using materials that otherwise
would be taken to the curb, such as leaves and grass clippings to make
your xeric garden glow with health.
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Landscape Design Ideas