Xeriscaping in Atlanta
I am a complete beginner to Xeriscaping. I wouldn't even be posting this long message had I not just returned from a fantastic week in Colorado Springs. I brought a number of plants back with me. Most are considered weeds in Colorado, but they're beautiful to me and I'd like to see if I can get them to grow here in Atlanta.
Here's a list of what I have. I apologize for not knowing the names of most of these plants, but I'll do my best to describe them.
THIS one I know. It's called Wild Aster and it was in bloom during my October 10-17 stay. The flowers are a nice, vibrant purple. I brought back a half dozen live plants and a baggy filled with dried flower heads.
I have a baggy filled with seeds from a plant that I recall having broad, flat leaves at its base. It sends up a 6" spike that's at least 2" in diameter and covered with downy seeds. The seeds themselves resemble dandelions, only larger. Each flat, black oblong seed is about half an inch long. It's topped with a down-like parasol to catch the wind. I THINK this plant bears purple flowers.
I have a half dozen live plant from the sage family. They were still actively growing. The plant is very low-growing, no more than 2-3" tall, and the leaves are delicate and feathery. I also have a baggy of dried flower heads, which are set on a 6" tall stalk. I think the flower itself is yellow.
I have a handful of live plants which I think also belong to the sage family. They're 6-10" tall and slender. What few leaves are present are a pale grey.
I recognize wild roses. I dug four of these from the side of an unused trail. I also have a handful of rose hips.
I have two specimens, carefully dug from a crevice in a rock ledge. The plants have a woody stem, small dark-green, shiny leaves and bright red berries. The hug the rock and seem to cascade down over it.
I have one specimen of a very large shrub (24-36"), which was also growing in a rock crevice. This plant had long since lost whatever leaves it had, but the small pea-sized flower heads look like cotton bolls.
Finally, I collected the very small, dark orange seeds from a woody, spindly shrub I found growing on a hillside in a field of dried grass. I'd say the shrub or bush grows about 36" tall.
OK, that's what I brought back with me. I've planted all the live material in small pots and I'm already seeing new growth.
My major concern is how these plants from an arid region will adapt to the Atlanta climate. All of the plants had significant tap roots, but will new plants put down tap roots if water is readily available?
Do I need to add gravel to my garden soil to improve drainage? I'd hate to have these plants rot and die from too much water. I don't know if they'll thrive here, or fail.
I could use some advice.