So, with the strong possibility that climate change will lead to much warmer summers in the near future, it would be prudent for gardeners when they are planting out new beds, to bear in mind that some plants are better suited to hotter, drier conditions than others.
Before planting a new bed, some preparation will pay dividends. Getting as much organic matter into the new ground will really help your plants to cope with dry periods. Farmyard manure and composted bark will add body and substance to the soil, helping to retain moisture. Don’t add too much fertilizer, if you overfeed the bed this will help to increase the amount of fresh new lush vegetation, meaning your new plants will become more and more thirsty. Plants that thrive in dry conditions actually prefer a poorer soil.
If you decide to go for some shrubs, look for Abelia, Buxus or Ceanothus. All are evergreens and can adapt to hot, arid sites. Ceanothus is a large family of evergreen blue flowering shrubs with more prostrate varieties such as Thyrsiflorus Repens, which only gets to around a metre high, whilst Concha will grow to an impressive 4 metres, so before choosing one, do your homework.
Abelia Grandiflora is a medium sized shrub that grows to around 2.5 metres high, produces a display of pale pink fragrant flowers and is happy either in the soil or a container.
Lavender is a safe choice for a dry bed. Needing a sunny spot and good drainage, varieties such as Hidcote and Munstead will thrive during a hot summer as well as encouraging bees into your garden.
As a guide, plants with silver foliage are best suited to these conditions, so seek out Artemesia, Santolina and Stachys. They will do you proud.
Here’s hoping we are set for a tremendous summer!
Simon, Alison and all at Askett Nurseries