Posted 29th May 2018
With the nation currently enjoying a heatwave, there has been rumblings of a potential hosepipe ban later in the year, which could leave many of us without the sufficient water to keep our gardens green and growing
However, there's no need to fear - M&G garden designer Sarah Price is offering her tips to help you work around this. A bit of advance planning and thinking outside the box with your plant choices will take a key role...
1 Understand your soil
The drought resistance capability of your plant will be influenced by the soil conditions and microclimates. For example, clay soils and a milder climate means your plants can survive for longer periods without rain in comparison to a site with sandier soils and greater sunshine exposure.
2 Choose ground cover plants
Plants such as Thymus, low growing Achillea and Teucrium hug the ground and shade it, subsequently reducing the moisture lost to evaporation.
3 Reduce the impact of evaporation
Use mulch to reduce any moisture that could be lost to evaporation. This gives each plant the greatest chance to succeeding.
4 The value of pruning
If you have plants that are adapted to a Mediterranean climate, give them an annual trim - this will enhance the natural moulding shape of the sub-shrubs.
5 Source carefully
If possible, source plants with little feeding or irrigation - this encourages tough and hardened plants and avoids nursery plants which have malformed root systems. Roots need to grow deep into the soil for moisture.
6 Resist chemical fertilizers
This allows natural mycorrhizal symbiosis to occur, allowing fungi to colonize the root system of the host plant. This in turn provides increased water and nutrient absorption capabilities.
7 Look to warmer climates for plant inspiration
Looking at the different ways and conditions in which groundcover plants will flourish in harsh, water deprived areas in the wild - this provides inspiration for alternatives to lawns, accompanied with resource hungry herbaceous borders.
8 Plant in autumn
This will ensure the water-seeking roots can establish before spring, while smaller plants will demand less water to help them establish themselves.
9 Water properly during the first year
If you create zones in your garden, you can group the plants with similar watering and maintenance requirements together.