Intrigued by the idea by not sure of my region for this..

sahm2Jordan(z8 Coastal NC)July 18, 2004

Hi all! I have been considering quite a bit of xeriscaping with just a few areas of higher maintenace/water needing areas that would be closer to my home. My biggest concern though is that we are not always dry here. Do plants that do well in drought conditions also do well when it's wet? For example this summer we have had storms and rain almost every day. But a typical summer would be good rain throughout the spring and then pretty much drought conditions in july and august. Sometimes also in june or sept but not as likely. So if I go with some xeriscaping will they all drown if we have a wet summer? Will they survive a wet spring and then into drought conditions?

I don't mind doing basic maintenance and even watering if we go a long time without rain and they seem to be suffering but I can't water every day over a large front and back yard.

We are building a house and our yard is 100 x 100 feet in the front and about the same in the back. I want a nice 'garden' feel but just don't think I can manage a lot of high water needing plants in our typical summer conditions. It's hot and it's humid and usually goes a couple months without much rain each summer.

Is this do-able for us? And do you have any good web sites you can reccomend on xeriscape plant choices or photos of xeriscaped gardens?

Also, are there any grass choices that need less water?

Thanks a bunch!


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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

As long as you remember that xeriscaping is not just about planting drought tolerant plants. It's about making the most of the landscape (however small) using zones that occurr naturally in your yard (even if they were created by the builder and are unnatural of a sorts) and planting with those landscape characteristics in mind. For example, using the natural moisture from the downspouts to grow something that needs a little extra water and doesn't mind potentially wet feet for limited times of the year.
Look at locally adapted native plants in your area as well as some of the less water hogging horticultural plants. Natives are already adapted to your climate, humidity, and winter weather.
"So if I go with some xeriscaping will they all drown if we have a wet summer? Will they survive a wet spring and then into drought conditions?"
This really depends on what you plant. Maybe yes and maybe no. Fpr example, Penstemons are drought tolerant, will survive all kinds of weird weather-like our now unusually wet summer and do well in spring rain with increasing summer heat and dryness, but are likely to hate your humidity and winter wetness.
Be careful what you choose to plant and just becasue it is drought tolerant does not automatically mean it will survive and do well for you. With a little thought into specific plant species it is do-able to reduce maintenance and water comsumption!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2004 at 7:53AM
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I would agree with the previous post - find stuff that is locally drought-tolerant for you! My "drought tolerant" plant list for the high plains of CO will not be the same as yours in the southeast. I would check with a GOOD local garden center for tips and help. They might even be able to steer you in the direction of some books on plants native to your region. You might even have to check with your local extension agent (usually through the county) or a local Master Gardener, if SC has a "Master Gardener" program. If that fails, a local horticulturist or botanist could help you choose plants. Sometimes a local library or bookstore will have books on native plants and wildflowers.

Yes, drought-tolerant landscpaing is do-able for you! Picking the right plants for the right locations is key though. You don't have to stick with just native plants - hybrids of natives can work just as well, and plants that are adapted to the same conditions can thrive for you on little additional water.

Some things that come to me offhand that might work for you are:

-native and ornamental grasses
-coneflowers (Echinacea species)
-hollyhocks (?)
-roses - especially the old garden roses, antique roses, rugosas, etc. I'd avoid the fussy modern hybrids in your humid climate
-bearded iris and siberian iris
-liatris spicata (this grew well for us in IL)
-garden pinks (Dianthus species)
-Sedum - seems to grow almost anywhere
-peonies (they are quite drought-tolerant even for me)
-some varieties of Yucca can grow well in the SE
-there are some penstemons native to the east coast that would probably be fine
-"Bedding" Penstemons - originally developed to grow as perennials in Britian. Seeds available at Thompson and Morgan.
-Milkweed (Asclepsis species) - very adaptable
-Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed)

You might also try checking out the "Native Plants Forum" here on Gardenweb - many of the people posting there are from the east coast.

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2004 at 12:16PM
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