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Spring planting in a drought

Spring has definitely arrived, but in many parts of the country we are experiencing severe drought conditions. We offer some tips on having a beautiful garden that doesn't rely on regular watering.

We are producing greenhouse gases faster than the environment can cope with it. Climate change has resulted in a drastic change in our weather and we need to realise that when the weather gets hot, any steps, no matter how small, can save huge amounts of water over a period of time.

Here, in South Africa, we are fortunate to have a wide selection of colourful indigenous plants to choose from; plants that can withstand severe drought yet still flourish and bloom. With water restrictions limiting the amount of water that you can use to irrigate a garden, planting water wise plants allows you to enjoy a beautiful garden without worrying about how much water you use. 

Visit your local garden centre or nursery for advice on what plants you can use in your garden and forget about watering. There are various indigenous plant species that will flower at different times throughout the year, which means you can plant a selection of varieties for colour all year round. Use indigenous plants that grow naturally in your region, and create different water-use zones by grouping plants with similar water needs. You can still have exotic plants, but try and choose those that need minimal water.

Every gardener can contribute and make a change by planting indigenous varieties rather than plants that require regular watering. A water wise garden doesn’t have to be dull and boring - you can have all the colour and vibrancy of any other garden, and will reduce water wastage during the drought. All it takes is a new approach to gardening that is easy to adopt.

Suitable water wise plants include abelia, agapanthus, arctotis, false olive (Buddleja saligna), big num-num (Carissa macrocarpa), clivia, euryops daisies, blue marguerite (Felicia amelloides), gaura, gazania, ivy-leafed pelargonium, lavender, statice, marigold, wild olive, osteospermum, rosemary, karee, star jasmine, wild garlic and vygie.

Instead of cleaning beds and borders, allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil to keep the soil cooler and reduce evaporation. You can also retain moisture in the soil by mixing in generous quantities of compost and well-rotted manure. A blanket of mulch spread 10cm thick around plants - away from the stem - will also assist in keeping the soil cool and moist.

Plant beds and rockeries with bold, bright kalanchoe, gerbera and ursinia, and the glistening flowers of magenta mesembryanthemum. A sunny slope is ideal for aloe, lion’s ear (Leonotis leonurus), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), protea and vygies.

Adapted from article via life is a garden

 

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