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Drought-Proof Your Garden for Summer

Posted: 3pm 14 Nov 2019

According to Garden Gem's Burpengary's Russell Young, planning out a more hardy and drought-proof garden can save you heartache, as well as hefty water bills.

“The best way to drought-proof your garden is to get the biggest water tank you can,” Russell says.

“People will sometimes get a few small ones, but really you want one big one, the biggest you can get.”

Russell says understanding where the drier parts of your garden are, and knowing the light levels will help to ensure your garden thrives despite dry and hot conditions.

“You want to group your plants according to their individual needs,” he says.

“The more planning and thought you can put into it before building your garden, the better. And you should always put the more thirsty plants close to the tap or the laundry or somewhere where you see them to remind you to water them, otherwise it’s out of sight out of mind.”

Russell recommends ensuring that about 30 per cent of your garden are native plants because they will form the backbone of your garden and weather the heat and dry conditions better than exotics.

And while succulents are a good drought-tolerant plant, Russell says they are really only good for pots.

“They’re great for pots but out in the open when the rains come back, you’re in trouble.

“Too much water gives them root rot. Raised garden beds are a good way to drought-proof your gardens, you create good drainage.”

Some drought-tolerant natives to include are grass trees, banksias, grevilleas, bromeliads, and bougainvillea as well some exotics from similar subtropical climates including philodendrons and bird of paradise.

“The Euphorbia crown of thorns is very drought-tolerant and great for pots. You can have a flowering plant that is drought tolerant,” Russell explains.

If you are looking to attract bees to your garden, planting some hardy lavender and rosemary is a great option. Russell says the bees are attracted to the blue flowers.

Grevilleas and shrubs with orange and yellow flowers are good for attracting birds. Russell says including trees in your garden to provide afternoon shade will help it thrive in extreme temperatures as well.

“Every plant likes afternoon shade so there are benefits to having shaded areas in your garden,” he says.

Plants that are drought-tolerant are generally hairy, furry, have silver foliage, juicy or leathery leaves, and some can be prickly.

And for those living in smaller houses or apartments, indoor plants like the zanzibar gem or mother-in-law’s tongue are very resilient and “thrive on neglect”.

“Plants are more expensive these days so people need to do their research … they need to know more about the location they are putting them into,” Russell says.

Garden Gems is at Morayfield Rd, Burpengary. Visit gardengems.com.au

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