Remember native plants when doing your fall planting. Summer conditions such as extreme heat and drought may plague the gardener, particularly when there is no rain and water restrictions are imposed. Plan for this potential disaster in the garden by adding a xeric area, a great project during the cooler days that are approaching.
Further increase chances of gardening success by landscaping with plants native to your area. Native, drought resistant plants, already adapted to survival in the area, allow beauty to continue during the driest days.
Native plants may already exist in your landscape. Flowers such as gaillardia and rudbeckia are two of my favorites. Blanket flower blooms through snow and ice as well as offering summer beauty. Rudbeckia withstands the hottest days of summer with a smile on her face. Aster and coneflower also take a prominent place in the native inspired landscape.
Include vines in the xeric, native landscape. A distressed fence takes on a new air when dressed with a flowering vine. A wall or pergola may support vines as well. Take care that your climber doesn’t do so on holdfasts, these may damage wood and brick walls. The support should be able to withstand the weight of the vine at its heaviest point. Trumpet creeper, yellow Jessamine and coral honeysuckle are a few popular native vines.
The forests are full of native shrubs in many areas. Take a stroll through the woods to see if anything catches your eye. Then find the specimen at your local nursery. It is best not to disturb plants in the woods unless they are on your land. Consider beautyberry, Gray Dogwood and Wax Myrtle for your long-term planting needs, just to name a few.
Hickory, oaks, pines and elms are drought tolerant specimens already found in many landscapes Cercis Canadensis, the popular Eastern Redbud is a native plant in many areas of the U.S. Once established, these low-water needs plants go a long way in conserving water in the garden.
Drought tolerant native plants need the same establishment conditions as other landscape plants. Xeric material needs water until roots have become established enough to support above ground growth. Even drought resistant vines, flowers and trees benefit from an infrequent soaking.
Group xeric plants together in the landscape, away from the water source but where their beauty can be displayed during drought stricken days.
Williamsburg Master Gardeners
http://www.jccwmg.org/drought_tolerant.htm accessed 12-10-2010