Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Drought Busters

I’m tired. Tired of hand watering and of dragging hoses and sprinklers around my property. I’ve tried pleading with Mother Nature to give us some rain here in the Northeast, but she continues to ignore my requests. Rains are predicted, but don’t show. Or we are teased with a sprinkle or two or possibly a short shower or downpour. Even the best of rains deposit much less than the 1 inch per week so often recommended. None of these weather events are enough to keep my garden happy without constant watering of certain areas.

The one good thing about watering constantly, is that I’m able to observe my garden up close pretty much on a daily basis. I can see what’s failing in the heat and drought. Plants that are screaming display wilted leaves or drop interior leaves to the ground. But I’ve noticed some plants never scream or beg for water. They just keep on growing happily as though enjoying a lovely day at the spa.

I’m not sure what the weather is in your neck of the woods, but where I live, I’m leaning towards adding more drought tolerant plants to my landscape and minimizing the number of fussy ones. Then maybe I can spend more time at the spa instead of dispensing water on thirsty plants. I’m sharing some of my favorites and hope you’ll join in the fun by doing the same.

Sun Loving Drought Busters

Calamintha nepeta ‘White Cloud’ (Lesser Catmint) is a great perennial. With a minty scent that deters deer and flower power that continues for months, it’s a winner in my book. And the pollinators (especially bees) agree.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Calamintha nepeta ‘White Cloud’

Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas Amsonia) flowers in the spring, but its claim to fame is the spectacular fall color. The fine textured foliage creates a billowy feel in the garden and causes Amsonia to wave in the wind.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Amsonia hubrichtii

Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass) is an ornamental grass with wispy foliage. Mine is planted along an asphalt driveway on a well-draining slope. Dry is what it prefers so it’s loving our current conditions.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Stipa tenuissima

Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star (Japanese Aster) has always been a trooper for me. With aster-like blooms that continue from June until October, Kalimeris is one of my favorite plants. In my experience it has never flagged in hot, humid or even dry weather.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ (Black eyed Susan) is a regular star in meadow plantings. The reason is clear. It tolerates drought well and flowers for an extended period of time.

Allium ‘Millenium’ (Ornamental Onion) is one of those plants I would consider deer proof as I have never seen a deer eat one. Those deer must really hate onions. That said, Allium is another no-fuss plant that seems to tolerate most weather extremes in my 6b garden.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ and Allium ‘Millenium’

Perovskia ‘Denim ’n Lace’ (Russian Sage) not only blooms for a long time with good deer resistance, but it also tolerates dry spells and attracts lots of pollinators.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Perovskia ‘Denim ’n Lace’

Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ (Tall tickseed) is my favorite Coreopsis. Standing over 6 feet tall, you’d never know it hasn’t been watered much this year. It doesn’t seem to care.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’

Shade Tolerant Drought Busters

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Wood Spurge) performs extremely well in my dry shade garden. Shiny, evergreen foliage provides an amazing texture in woodland settings.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis ‘Fragrant Valley’ (Sweetbox) is another great plant for dry conditions. A wonderful texture plant, it slowly spreads into lovely patches in the garden.

Erigeron pulchellus ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ (Robin’s Plantain) is a perfect edger for perennial beds. The overlapping foliage creates a wonderful weed suppressing, drought tolerant mat.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis ‘Fragrant Valley’ (Top) and Erigeron pulchellus ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’ (Bottom)

Dryopteris erythrosora Brilliance™ (Autumn Fern) is one of the ferns in my garden that looks great most of the time (even in most winters). I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its drought tolerance.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Dryopteris erythrosora Brilliance™

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ (Japanese Sedge Grass) is a strong groundcover for the landscape. I’ve lost track of how many plugs of Ice Dance I have planted over the years. I continue to plant it because it is such a strong performer in adverse conditions.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Carex ‘Ice Dance’

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ (Sulfur Barrenwort) tolerates dry shade well once established. I haven’t met an Epimedium I didn’t like since they not only tolerate drought conditions but also offer deer resistance and great spring interest.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’

Now that I’ve told you about my favorite drought tolerant plants, I’m off to water again. It rained a bit the other day, but not enough (only ½ inch) and today’s forecast is breezy, dry and hot. Once I finish watering, I think I’ll go plant shopping. Time to add some more well-behaved, dry-loving plants to my garden!