WChicken garden designer Jane Gates moved from London to the Sussex countryside in 2015 and fell in love with the traditional black barn and set out to create her idyllic garden around it, inspired by the famous Beth Chateau gravel garden in Colchester, Essex. What she didn’t know was how quickly her drought-tolerant, dry garden would become relevant to today’s changing climate.
This area near the south coast has long been one of the hottest and driest parts of the UK. Over the years, Gates has experimented with plants that fit the site. But some of them have also adapted well to increasingly challenging conditions – notably the hottest, driest summers, mild winters and winters.
I made some interesting discoveries along the way. Surprisingly, some plants like Soft Kimila And the Great AstantiaKnown for its love of moisture, it has proven to be more drought tolerant than expected. Others struggled, including daylily. However, several plants specially selected for drought tolerance have enjoyed the heat: Cynara cardunculusOrnamental artichoke, rising above the head, purple Verbena Self sows with abandon.
“It’s quite south-facing, which is a dream after having north-facing gardens in the city,” says Gates, who inherited a large two-acre field around the barn, enjoying it through double-height, floor-to-ceiling windows. It was a blank canvas, except for a Magnolia solangana (“Susan”) who survived. Gates and her brother, a contract landscaper, removed a large fence dividing the space in two; They replanted the fence along the border, and added a pond next to it. Then they added a layer of gravel before planting in it.
“I wanted the space around the front of the house to be completely flat—a large gravel garden with a porch using fine engineered sandstone,” Gates says. Gravel is used as a layer for plants to grow through, merging paths with planting. Sensation of a comfortable, natural-looking space, the light gravel color contrasts beautifully with the black of the barn.
Gates recommends using gravel as mulch (called mulch) because it “traps moisture in the soil below in summer,” while keeping moisture away from plant crowns in winter, which can rot. This helps make some plants more resilient to extreme weather conditions.
Of course, gravel has its own sustainability imprint, because it is a natural stone that must be transported, and Gates has used it in moderation in the main parts of the garden rather than throughout. Other borders have an annual top layer of compost to trap moisture in and add nutrients to the soil, especially around shrubs and young trees they brought in from their previous garden, including Catalpa Pinonyoides and two Canadian circuits (“Forrest Pansy”).
Shrubs and small trees add height and structure to the garden, as do dark purple domes Petosporum (‘Tom’s thumb’), which was bought by Gates as a replacement for the topiary box. purple Verbena dark trunk officinalis I was. Grandiflora (“Bampton”), one of Gates’ “mist plants”, combines nicely with the brilliant white of Jura Linden HillMary (“Coiled butterflies”) and chunky Helotiliphium “Autumn Joy” (known as will last “Autumn air”).
All these flowering plants are grouped together by ornamental grasses of different sizes, from knee height The nacelle is very thin for chest height MiscanthusAnd the Calamagrostis And the stipa gigantia. Despite the pleasant softness of this weed, Gates first planted it alongside shrubs to build a structure. Many of these plants can also be seen in Sussex PrairieAn inspiring public park nearby, with exciting natural planting.
“I exaggerated, to tell you the truth; friends have told me not to dig more beds,” Gates admits, adding how she would like to add more deep roots. drought tolerant flat eryngium. Our climate in the future will be unpredictable, but as Gates’ approach shows, looking at nature and observing what thrives can also help us survive.
Get the look that is drought tolerant
flat eryngium This sea has a deep rootstock for digging for water, which also supports its long, stiff stems of silvery blue flowers, loved by bees and butterflies.
Jaura lindyMary (“Coiled butterflies”) Blooming airy and free all summer, this perennial plant originates from the southern prairies of the United States; Needs well-drained soil in wet winters.
Helotiliphium just awesome (‘Autumn Joye) Clumpy, succulent leaves and stems that grow to knee height help this beneficial plant, formerly known as sedum, to withstand the hottest summers.
Pelargonium sidoids Semi-purple-black flowers against soft silvery foliage make this a sophisticated small plant for pots and gravel gardens. The pale leaves reflect sunlight and their fine hairs help reduce transpiration.
Virgin Veronica This member of the plantain family produces tall, vertical towers of white to pink flowers, perfect for providing accents throughout the planting period.
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