A Dry Summer's Predicted - Plan Ahead With Drought Tolerant Plants | Love The Garden

A Dry Summer's Predicted - Plan Ahead With Drought Tolerant Plants

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By Steve Dalton, Chief Gardener


Olea europaea
Olea europaea


For years I gardened on heavy clay in East Anglia, which has one of the lowest rainfalls in the UK, and a long period of drought meant potential ruin for many areas of my garden. Large cracks opened up in the dry soil and plants keeled over from heat exhaustion.

It was more through necessity than choice that I began employing drought-combating measures in the garden, having witnessed far too many plant fatalities over a long, hot summer. There was insufficient water to cope with all the plants crying out for a drink, let alone time to water in the first place.

Mulching was my first course of action, what a difference it made! My water regime was cut in half leaving more time for other gardening tasks.

Then I started reading up on plants that were naturally drought tolerant and visited well-known ‘dry’ gardens to beg, steal and borrow any ideas, from drought-cultivation techniques to plant choices I could implement in my own garden. This meant choosing plants that were capable of withstanding prolonged dry weather, instead of being seduced by the more showy, leafy herbaceous plants that were so typically in my borders.


Hedera helix
Hedera helix



Jasminum nudiflorum
Jasminum nudiflorum


Suggested drought tolerant plants for specific purposes

Garden Purpose Suggested Plants
Fragrance Brugmansia aurea, Allium cristophii, Jasminum nudiflorum
Shade Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Dazzler’, Heuchera ‘Obsidian’, Sedum ‘Ruby Glow’
Climbers Ceanothus ‘Blue Mound’, Hedera helix ‘Glacier’, Wistera sinensis
Containers Olea europaea, Panicum virgatum, Yucca gloriosa

When the dreaded hosepipe bans kick off, drought-friendly garden plants will only survive the dry conditions, they will positively embrace, long, hot summers, displaying their full finery unimpaired.

For further encouragement to adopt a different way of gardening, and excite you into growing some beautiful plants that you may never have considered before, read my book ‘ Drought Tolerant Plants’ - it’s perfect to help you choose the right plants for your garden and to grow them with confidence.


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