This will be our last installment on gardening in drought conditions (for now), just a few final points.
Although we’ve experienced a pretty heavy drought in the Chicago area this summer, in any given summer (and for that matter any given garden), there are times and areas that require drought tolerant plants. If you want plants that will hold up under lots of sun and can manage low watering maintenance, consider planting succulents (plants with very fleshy thick leaves that hold a lot of water) like Sedum (stonecrop), Delosperma (ice plant), or Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks). Other plants that like sun and dry conditions are Russian sage, lavender, and Walker’s Low catmint.
When you transplant or install any plants, fill the hole you dig with water and make sure it drains in a reasonable amount of time (one inch of water in a six inch wide wet hole can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes to dissipate, if your drainage is adequate). If the water does not drain it indicates that your soil won’t offer good drainage to a plant in general. Be aware of this because too much water can also kill a plant (we will address this point in future posts since you may want to consider amending your soil). Once the plant is installed, make sure you cover the area with at least two inches of fine leaf mulch. The mulch keeps the water from evaporating, keeps the soil moist, and over time adds needed botanic material back into the soil.
Here’s a picture of the Sedum in our yard. This picture is earlier this year. See how cracked and dry the soil is and the plant is still green and healthy. This particular variety blooms full reddish color, almost balls of flowers. A nice addition to a garden.
See you next time,