Wednesday, July 1, 2015


This summer we have had many over 90 degrees with very little rain during June and July. Although we have had some water restrictions in the past, we haven't had any yet. There is much to learn and do to conserve water. It will probably continue to be a problem in NC. 

Here are things I have learned and plants I recommend for gardening in NC:
1. Select Drought Tolerant Plants
My best picks for drought tolerant plants:

Yarrow (photo above) Shasta Daisy, Cosmos, Rudbekkia, Vinca, Lavender, Geranium, Lamb's Ear. All ornamental grass(NOT the lawn grass), such as Miscanthus and Muhly Grass, Many shrubs and trees such as dogwood are drought tolerant. All succulent plants are great, such as hens and chicks (which are also perennial), ice plant, portulaca,etc.
Impatiens, Hydrangea, Morning Glory, Lawn grass
Roses, Chrysanthemum, Coleus, Begonia, Malva family (e.g. hollyhock)
Most of my garden is sunny so I'm not including the good dry shade plants, but there are many.
The other things I have learned:
2. Use drip irrigation (as early in the morning as possible).3. In fact, Water early in the day for everything. 4. Water deeply, especially when planting so that the roots can go as deep and therefore be protected from drying out on the surface. 5. Amend the soil with as much compost as possible. It retains water, improves the structure of the soil and provides vital nutrients. Make your own compost with fruit and vegetable discards from the kitchen. 6. Mulch, mulch, mulch. We use soil conditioner as it breaks down quickly and improves the soil. I like shredded hardwood or pine straw for some areas as they give a nice clean look and set off the plants. Mulch also keeps weeds under control. Living mulches are also good, such as ground covers that are drought tolerant.7. Plant a rain garden to collect water runoff. 8. Nearly every plant will withstand drought better when it is established and/or larger and shrub like. Newly planted plants are very vulnerable to drought, so avoid planting new plants and/or seeds when it is hot and dry. 9. Finally, get a rain barrel. We are getting one installed in our vegetable garden to collect rain off the roof from the drain pipe. Rain water is an endangered resource and is much better for the plants. A huge amount can be collected with one downpour. Will let you know how it works.

See "Links" in right sidebar resources on Water Conservation and Drought Tolerant Gardening (NC State Ext. Service has NC list). See my photos for drought tolerant plants on the sidebar.


Nancy C. said...

Hi Ellen,
This is very interesting & informative. Your blog is terrific!

Keith said...

You have created a great blog with very good information. Thanks for sharing.

BuddyGarden said...

Ellen-just want to drop by and say thanks for visiting my blog and your nice comments. You have a lovely garden I love the idea of creating rain barrels.

Bobbie Lynn said...

Ellen, thanks for the tips and I will be back to visit your blog soon. Thank you for visiting mine. Happy Gardening.

Di DeCaire said...

How about echinacea? I'm sure you must have that. Pretty drought tolerant for me.

tina said...

You have a very informative blog. I really like your new rain barrel and how you posted the pictures step by step. I need to make mine and have procrastinated for nearly one year now. With our drought too-tomorrow is not soon enough. Hope it works well.

guild-rez said...

Hi Ellen,
thank you very much visiting Guildwood Gardens. Love to have visitors from the other side of the border:)
Saving water? I have installed a water irrigation system in the garden. Pls. check my archives.
Here are my answers to your questions...
1) Visitor by country?
This feature is available from
2) Number count? I use this company..
Google - Blogger offers many gadgets, please take a look.
Your garden is beautiful,
cheers Gisela

Wicked Gardener said...

Hi Ellen -

I don't know how I found you. I did it a couple of months ago, like the blog and linked it to my page. That's how I got there tonight.

guild-rez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
guild-rez said...

just stopping by to wish you very nice Sunday.
- Cheers. Gisela

Philip Bewley said...

Hi Ellen,
Very good advice on drought plantings. You have a lovely blog, as well as imformative.
Best regards,