There are currently no hose pipe bans in place in the UK. But the moment there’s a restriction, we’ll be performing a rain dance and wondering why we didn’t plant more wisely.
After all, dramatic flowerbeds can easily be achieved from plants that have very low moisture and maintenance demands.
Creating a Mediterranean style garden or a tropical paradise with drought-resistant plants can look just as stunning as a cottage garden that’s spilling over with colourful flowering plants.
Most plants that are happy in dry conditions will have either aromatic leaves, fleshy and succulent leaves (which store moisture for dry spells), hairy leaves (which shade themselves with their own hairs) or long narrow leaves which are good at shedding heat without water.
Before you get on your knees and start planting, the RHS recommends that you cultivate the soil deeply and dig in large quantities of organic matter to improve soil structure, water retention and water availability for plants.
Well-rotted garden compost, mushroom compost and composted bark are all suitable forms of organic matter and heavy manure can add nearly a month’s worth of water storage capacity to the soil.
And don’t forget the fertiliser as plants use water most efficiently where nutrient levels are adequate.
So now that you’ve laid the foundations, here are some planting combinations to create the best borders and fabulous foliage that won’t be too thirsty whatever the forecast…
1. At the front of the border plant dwarf lavender, sedum spectabile, lamb’s ears and ornamental grass such as stipa tenuissima.
2. Middle-sized drought-resistant plants such as Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ (wallflower), Russian sage and Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ (catmint) will create a charming contrast.
3. Species such as Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' and Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom) love a long, hot summer and you’ll love Royal Purples dark leaves and the fragrant white flowers of the orange blossom
4. Choose plants with grey-green or silver leaves as they reflect the sun’s rays, helping to conserve moisture within the plant tissues
5. Pick and mix Pelargoniums (geraniums) and fill your hanging baskets with their pretty petals
6. The Prince of the plant kingdom, palms have the largest seed of any plant and can be ornamental as well as offering partial shade
7. Climbing plants such as Campsis, which can grow to 10m (30ft), look exotic with their yellow trumpet shaped flowers, are easy to care for and can survive a dry spell
8. A cacti garden will need very little maintenance and feeding it once a year in the spring is all you’ll need to do, ta da!