Drought Tolerant Native Plants Are A Lazy Gardener’s Best Friend

Fall 2011 landscapeIn the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I’d like to share one of the things I am most thankful for:  Native Plants.  I’m also thankful for having tackled the erosion problem on the south side of our yard.   Native, drought resistant plants were a big part of the solution.

It’s been over a year since we put approximately 100 plants and trees in the ground on the south and southwest facing slope of our yard.  Every single one of these plants is still alive.  That’s hard for even me to even believe given our track record with plants – be we did it.  They are all alive and flourishing.

For about 4 weeks, I watered these plants religiously – per the landscaper/nursery instructions.  It was rough making time for watering those plants since we don’t have a sprinkler system, but it was short term investment in time and I’m glad I stuck with the plan.  Since then, it’s been easy sailing.

Given that our thumbs are on the opposite side of the color wheel from green, Steve picked mostly native and  drought resistant plants that would give us a bit of color year round.  Each season those colors get better.  I especially love the frothy pink lavender color from the Purple Muhly Grass that is in full bloom now.

I didn’t even realize how much all these plants had grown until I looked back at what we started with.  Most have tripled – even quadrupled—in size.   And if I’m not mistaken, the colors are becoming increasingly vibrant.

Purple Muhly GrassA Foolproof Landscaping Plan
If you have a full sun area in the piedmont region of North Carolina (Zone 7a if you follow the guidelines for the National Gardening Association) I highly suggest the plants we chose for a worry-free landscape.  Here’s what we’ve got:

  • Purple Muhly Grass
  • Sargent’s Juniper
  • Louisiana Iris
  • Scarlet Leader Cotoneaster
  • Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet”
  • Dwarf Pussy Willow
  • Burning Bush
  • Abelia ‘Edward Goucher’
  • Sparkleberry Holly
  • Angelica Blue Juniper
  • Deodar Cedar

Google any of these for a quick peak at what they look like.  These are great Zone 7 plants and if you get them established, you are home free.

We’ve had wonderful compliments from our neighbors.  We’ve actually been told that the landscaping actually improved the looks of the whole subdivision!

This experience taught me 2 things:
1. Planting native, drought resistant plants is the smartest thing any homeowner with a yard or garden can do.

2.  Commit to those first few weeks of watering and you’ll protect your investment and save money (and water) in the long run.

 

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