Having a landscape during a drought season
A drought season usually means people’s first instincts are to conserve water for themselves which often leaves landscapes that used to be maintained now being abandoned. However this does not need to be the case. Many countries in the world have suffered drought wayyyy worse. And the only reason they have maintained a landscape is to change the way of thinking.
At Village Gardens we have compiled a couple of tips to help you keep your Cape Town landscapes alive.
- Replacing impermeable surfaces: With the little amount of rain we’ll be receiving, it makes sense to replenish our soils as much as possible. Solid surfaces such as tar and concrete could replaced with paving where possible. Consult with a landscape professional to design patterns that leave bare areas to increase surface areas. The bare spaces can be covered with excellent groundcovers which are water-wise and can survive drought conditions such as your Crassula spathulata (Crassula) or Caprobrotus.
- Protect your plants: Erecting semi-permeable screens and fences can help protect your less drought hardy plants from harsh sunny weather and drying winds. An organic solution to this can be to incorporate shrubs that make excellent screens and are water-wise such as Plectranthus fruticosa’s and Ovimum labriatum (pink sage). And if you find yourself opting for a hard landscape feature as your screen. Planting Rhoisiccus digitata can provide a great natural cover as a creeper.
- Amend your soil: This can be done by adding organic matter such as compost to your soils. This combined with breaking up your soil if it is compacted can help your soil retain a lot of water. While you’re at it, also consider adding water retention material to your soil such as stockosorb. We at VG use this A LOT.
- Plant selection: This is vital if you want your garden surviving these harsh times. I cannot stress this enough as the wrong selection of plants is firstly a dent in your budget and a complete waste of plant. Another common mistake is placing plants in the wrong location within your garden. Some amazing Fynbos plants that illuminate a garden are suitable for only sunny and suitable soils. Yes we see them growing wild but not every garden has the same suitability for these wonders. Namely Protea repens and Helichrysum cymosum.
- Grey Foliage: Opting for plants with grey foliage is a must, these plants can reflect the suns’ rays leaving you with a landscape that not only looks divine but these plants have their own defense in the harsh climate.
- Advanced maintenance schedules: Keeping the same schedule you had before the drought unfortunately won’t be sufficient. Now is the time to reduce fertilizer application as it does encouraging plants to grow which also means encouraging them to require all the resources they need to grow such as water. Removing plants flowers also falls in line with this tip as plants use up all required resources including water to focus on producing their reproductive organs.
- Alternating your landform to incorporate water saving channels: incorporating Bio-swales helps your landscape to retain water.
- Plants in pots: Believe it or not plants in pots have it the worst and dry out faster than the rest of your landscape. Especially when it comes to your clay pot, these can heat up creating a hot den for your plants. Moving them to shady places and creating water reservoirs such as perforated bottles can offer your pot plants a slow water resource.
We hope these tips help you understand that it is possible to keep landscapes happy during a drought. And that there are plants out there suitable for these new conditions. For your landscape designs contact us at Village gardens.
Some related Articles: http://www.villagegardens.co.za/water-swales/