Xeriscaping is a term we don't talk about much along the CT Shoreline.
Xeriscaping is landscaping that required little to no irrigation. It's often used more out west, but there are definitely some lessons to be learned. Connecticut Summers definitely have their share of droughts. Just a couple years ago Madison put in place a volunteer water restriction.
It can be challenging to keep a garden watered during the dog days of summer.
Keeping in mind that July and August can be very hot and extremely dry, we've selected 5 beautiful perennials that require little irrigation and offer reliable performance year after year.
1. Columbine (Aquilegia)
This perennial produces delicate, distinctive looking blooms. Cultivation of this once wild-flower has produced flowers in a rainbow of colors and flower sizes. Flowers are commonly 3" across, each having 5 petals surround by 5 narrow, curving petals referred to as Spurs. The spurs are often white while the main flower petals are colored, but several varieties have petals and spurs of the same rich color.
Certain varieties can self-sow which is great for naturalizing, but not so great if you want them contained in a garden. Check your variety to be sure you're getting the best plant for your situation. These perennials do have one added bonus... They attract hummingbirds!
2. Sedum. There are a great many varieties of seeing available and they're all tough as nails. My personal favorite is 'Frosty Morn'. Green leaves with a white margin add interest to the garden even when not in bloom. Beautiful clear, pink flowers in Autumn are outstanding and really attract POLLINATORS. I like to leave the spent blooms up at winter long. They catch snow marvellously and add beauty to the winter landscape.
3. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Today's modern Blanket Flower has been cultivated from a tough, prairie wildflower. This is a perennial that is so underused. This is one of my favorite perennials. We have a client in Stony Creek where we included some Blanket Flower in her garden. It's one of my favorite. Frequently in the morning when we're there to maintain the gardens, I see bumblebees slumbering peacefully in the blooms if the flowers!
Gaillardia starts blooming in the summer and continues straight through to fall. Bright blooms come in deep red, bright red and yellow, or yellow. A strong garden performer.
4. Hummingbird mint (Agastache). This perennial covers itself in spiky blooms all summer long. My favorite variety is 'rupestris'. Gorgeous orange blooms which feature pink and lavender tints like a dessert sunrise. As it's name suggests, it's a magnet for hummingbirds and it makes a great cut flower too!
5. Lavender thrives on the heat and drought. Matter of fact, this is one perennial that not only doesn't need irrigation, it prefers not to be irrigated. Fragrant spikes of lavender bloom all summer long on fragrant grey-green foliage. Great cut flowers and great for drying, this perennial also attracts POLLINATORS making it an outstanding all-around perennial.
Images courtesy of Sunny Border Nursery