Think drought (Yes, really!)

February 14th, 2020 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

California poppy ‘Golden Values’ and  Amaranthus caudatus
California poppy ‘Golden Values’ and Amaranthus caudatus

OK, this winter has been one of the soggiest in living memory but in a few months things can change dramatically. So the launch of a choice of drought resistant plants in the new range of collections curated with the Royal Horticultural Society is really very welcome.

The thing is, not only are long hot summers tough for many plants to cope with but turning on the sprinkler is not the best use for water we’ve spent a fortune bringing up to drinking standard.

But some flowers naturally take to dry conditions better than most, they or their wild ancestors grow wild in situations where drought is not unusual and they’ve adapted. But let’s be clear, these are not plants that can do without water altogether they’re plants that, once established, will take it in their stride.

Two of the hardy annuals in the collection are old favourites. California poppy ‘Golden Values’ is pretty much identical to the wild California poppy that springs to life after a deluge, gets its roots down and then as the soil dries flowers its heart out – sown in autumn or spring. Simple but dazzling.

Another easy drought-resister, once you have love-lies-bleeding, Amaranthus caudatus, you’ll always have it as it self sows regularly; any in the wrong place are easy to pull out. But those long red tassels are so heavy and prolific that they might need support.

The other plants in this RHS Drought Resistant Collection are the half-hardy annual Gazania ‘Sunshine Mixed’, the hardy annual Calendula ‘Geisha Girl’, the hardy perennial Eryngium planum, and the half hardy annual Mesembryanthemum ‘Harlequin Mixed’.

Half a dozen drought tolerant flowers to raise from seed and which will help you fill your garden with colour without splashing on the water. And all for just £4.99.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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