DROUGHT TOLERANT COTTAGE GARDENS

Drought tolerant flowers

Here in California and other arid states, we're really having to watch our water.  But that does not mean that we have to forego lush, colorful, flowery gardens!  Thanks to California native plants and many varieties from other dry climates like the Mediterranean and Australia, we have a huge selection of drought tolerant flowering shrubs and perennials to choose from.

BASIC DESIGN TIPS FOR A DROUGHT TOLERANT COTTAGE GARDEN

I.  REDUCE YOUR LAWN:  Lawns are not a key feature for a cottage garden anyway, and making them smaller will give you more room for those gorgeous colorful flowers.  There are three basic techniques to do this:

-- Turn the big square lawn into a small, free form shape surrounded by planting beds, or perhaps a grass path between the plants.

-- Use native grasses such as Blue Grama, Sedge, or Buffalo grass.  These give a soft meadowy look, and do not need to be mowed.  Once established, they need no water during the winter, and only occasional water in summer.

-- Try the new artificial lawns.  This ain't your daddy's Astroturf!  It looks great and although a bit pricey to install, it makes up for the cost in zero water, maintenance, and fertilizer use.

II.  USE RAISED BEDS:  You can edge the beds with cobbles, bricks, wood, broken pieces of concrete (a great recycling use for an old concrete driveway being torn up), or keystone.  Try to match the material to the style of your house.  Or, you can simply mound a few yards of good planting mix and plant in that.  Add compost and a balanced organic fertilizer, and the good soil will reduce water runoff and waste.  Make sure that the beds are at least three feet wide so that you can plant in three layers:  high, medium, and low.

III.    ADD FOCAL POINTS like birdbaths, benches, fountains, statuary, or mirrors on the wall.  This is a design, rather than drought tolerant, tip.

IV.    PLANT IN A 'NATURAL' STYLE, combining flowers, vegetables, shrubs, herbs, and climbing vines.  Let the colors mingle and alter the heights of the plants in a non-formal way.  Add tuteurs or topiary shapes to give some vertical lines, and mix in some spiky plants (flax, kangaroo paw) to contrast with the broad leaf plants.

GREAT DROUGHT TOLERANT PLANTS FOR THE 'COTTAGE' LOOK:

PURPLE/LAVENDER/PINK:

Tall plants:  Ceanothus, Manzanita, WaxflowerWaxflower
 (Waxflower)

Medium :      Sweet lavender, Indian Hawthorne 'Jack Evans' or 'Pink Ballerina', Penstemon, Rockrose.

Lavender Quasti
('Quasti' dwarf Spanish lavender)

Short :  Rosy buckwheat, Pelargonium, Monarda, California wild Strawberry, purple Alyssum

Monarda 2 Buckwheat  Buckwheat

(Monarda)  BLUE:

Tall:    Ceanothus 'Dark Star,', Blue Juniper

Ceanothus
(Ceanothus)


Medium: Perovskia, Salvia 'Indigo Spires', 'Waverly', or clevelandii, Westringia 'Wynnabie Gem'

Perovskia PerovskiaSalvia waverly Salvia 'Waverly'




Short :  Scabiosa, trailing rosemary, Convolvulus groundcover, Cranesbill 'Johnson's Blue.'

Scabiosa_cauascia2 Scabiosa



YELLOW, RED, ORANGE:

Tall:  Grevillea 'Long John', Bottlebrush, Cotoneaster, Arborvitae 'Aureum'

Grevillea-long-john Grevillea 'Long John'



Medium:  Tagetes, Leonitis, Penstemon, Salvia 'greggii', Jerusalem sage

Tagetes TagetesPenstemonred Penstemon




Short:  Gazania, Mimulus, Lantana, Grevillea 'Golden Dragon'

GrevilleaGoldenLyre2 Grevillea 'Golden Dragon

Mimulus_peach_hybrid Mimulus



'WHITE/CHARTREUSE/SILVER:

Tall:  Pittosporum tenufolium 'Marjorie Channon' or 'Silver Magic,' Matilija poppy, white Waxflower

White-wax-flower Waxflower (white flowers)



Pittosporum channon Pittosporum 'Marjorie Channon'

Matilija_Poppy Matijila poppy




Medium:  Salvia apiana, Westringia, dwarf fruitless Olive bush, Tansy, Morning Glory bush

Westringia_fruticosa_2 WestringiaSalvia_apiana-640W Salvia apiana




Low:          Yarrow (white flower), Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost', Heuchera 'Lime Rickey,' Euphorbia 'wulfenii'

 'Euphorbia wulfenii2_lrg Euphorbia wulfenii
 


Heuchera lime Heuchera 'Lime Rickey'Euphorbia Diamond Frost Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'

 SPIKY ACCENT PLANTS:


Phormium (flax), Kangaroo Paw, Sedge

FLAX Rainbow Queen Phormium 'Rainbow Queen'

K paw Kangaroo Paw

Sedge Sedge




BURGUNDY ACCENT PLANTS:  Lophomyrtus, Coprosma 'County Park Red,' Euphorbia 'Blackbird', Heuchera 'Purple Ruffles'

Lophomyrtus_redwing_small_01 Lophomyrtus

Coprosma_Karo_Red-01 Coprosma

Cordyline purple tower Cordyline

Euphorbia black Euphorbia 'Blackbird'


 Linking up to: Fishtail Cottage's Flora Thursday
 Cottage Flora Thursday\