Getout & grow

Published on Thu, Apr 14, 2005 by arbara Wean

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Get out & grow

By Barbara Wean

Last week I wrote about some ideas to help you create interesting places in the garden for you and your family. This week I’ll discuss a specific garden style and plants that are available locally, both seed and container.

I think that all of us are aware of the upcoming drought that is predicted and need to be mindful that many locations will impose water restrictions. In view of this, I thought I’d start out with a Mediterranean basic type garden. This is perfect for this area as we have the same climate as the Mediterranean, South Africa, Chile, and southern and southwestern Australia. That climate consists of wet weather and dry summers, so I say why fight it.

You can use rock or stones as features in this type of garden. Make a dry stream bed to carry off excess water in the winter which in the summer looks right at home as a garden feature. Plants that look great and are waterwise can be woolly, like lamb ears or have oily or aromatic foliage like lavender, sage and rock rose. Most ornamental grasses are wonderful landscape plans and look great around dry or wet streambeds. Some of my favorites are Korean feather reed grass, all of the miscanthus varieties, and Japanese blood grass. I could go on and on because there are so many varieties of grasses. Something for everyone and every site.

Euphorbias, yuccas, century plants and New Zealand flax are good. One plant that is a bit touchy is the flax. I’ve found that Phormium, which is the Latin name of the flax, is sort of on the line as far as being hardy. I’d plant them in a very sunny protected place and add additional protection if a cold snap is expected. I think they are worth growing because they have such presence. They have nifty strappy leaves and come in lots of interesting colors like wine and cinnamon and combinations for colors.

Another group of plants to try is succulents. There are some that are hardy and will do very well in the ground. You have heard of, or seen, hens and chickens. They are rosettes with babies, actually called pups. If you become addicted to collecting unusual and different leaf forms but find that they are not hardy, remember they do very well in planters and pots. The photograph is of several varieties of succulents. Don’t they have unusual shapes? I just think they are so interesting. Leave them out all summer and move them inside in late fall. A good thing, deer are not as interested in these plants!

Ann Lovejoy’s books are really good references about creating your own easy-care gardens. Her books are all carried at local bookstores. More references for you are some of the best gardening websites such as, www.sustland.umn.edu, www.garden.org, www. highcountrygarden.com and www. hort.purdue.edu/ext/.

Have you planted your cool season veggies? Remember peas, spinach, lettuce, chard, onions, and leeks, etc. It’s time. Also, start your warm season veggies inside in seed started trays. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, squash and beans. See you next week!