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Gardening with James Hilyard: Selecting the right plants for your yard

James Hilyard is Ipswich City Council’s Works, Parks and Recreation Department Principal Officer (Parks and Sport).

James is a horticulturalist, arborist and holds a masters degree in sustainability.

In this month’s gardening column, James talks about Xeriscape gardening.

We all want to know how to have a beautiful garden that doesn’t need constant watering.

As much as we love our gardens, most people are time poor and need their garden to be low maintenance.

That is why I am a big fan of Xeriscape gardening.

Xeriscape gardening is a style of gardening that requires little or no additional water to be added to the landscape.

Most importantly in Xeriscaping is the selection of drought tolerant plants.

The Ipswich City Council free plant program has a great selection of drought tolerant native plants that will thrive in your garden with limited watering.

Placing plants in your garden in areas that suit their requirements is critical for success.

In hot areas that get full sun you need to select hardy plants that can survive the hot dry conditions.

Check the plant tags and consult the nursery staff to help you select the right plants for your situation.

  1. Plan and design – Good garden design will take advantage of site conditions like aspect and prevailing winds, existing trees and shrubs to make plant selection and design decisions to best suit the site.
  1. Soil amendment – Improving your soil by adding composted organic matter and amendments will both increase the water holding capacity of your soil and promote healthy plant growth.
  1. Efficient irrigation – frequent and deep watering will promote deep root systems for all plants. This enables them to access available water throughout the soil profile and resist wilting.
  1. Appropriate plant and zone selection – Choose and group plants that require similar amounts of water, if you put drought tolerant plants together you can apply the minimum amount of water to keep them healthy.
  1. Mulch – Mulch will keep down weeds and retain water in the soil.
  1. Limited turf areas – Large expanses of grass will require large amounts of water.
  1. Maintenance – Regular maintenance such as pruning, will increase vigour and health within the plant collection.

Xeriscape gardening can be applied easily here in Ipswich this style of gardening will help us save water and have happier, healthier gardens.

With a little flair and imagination a gardener can use drought tolerant plants and use water saving strategies to have some really striking results.

Read also:

                  >>> Gardening with James Hilyard: Mulch, mulch, mulch

                  >>>Gardening with James Hilyard: What to do around your garden in autumn


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