Drought tolerant perennials are popular these days, especially with those of you in the midst of a heatwave as we are here in Ontario.
Even if you have an irrigation system, these hardy perennials should be a staple in your garden to avoid wasting your money on plants and water. Just be sure to place the hoses or plants (whichever you install last) strategically. For example, ornamental grasses do not appreciate wet feet. In fact, the quickest way to kill them off is to overwater them.
Read the Labels or Research to Find Drought Tolerant Plants
One way to determine if plants (annuals or perennials) are drought resistant is to read the labels at the nurseries or stores where you purchase your plants. Some (larger) nurseries even have separate drought-tolerant sections to make your search easier. I have discovered asking nursery staff which plants are suitable is hit and miss.
Another, more proactive, plan is to research drought-resistant plants hardy to your garden zone before you head out the door to shop for plants.
Popular Drought Tolerant Perennials in Ottawa (zone 4/5)
Here are a few of my favourite outstanding perennials that I rely on in my gardens for hot summer color:
stonecrop and sedum, available in multiple colors, great for hot borders
If you haven’t already, consider adding some to your gardens. Just be sure to wait until the heatwave is over to do so!
Like anything else, there are pros and cons to installing irrigation systems in yards. The biggest advantage is quite obvious. Your garden and/or lawns are automatically watered on a regular schedule that you select. The largest disadvantage is the cost involved to install such a system. Of course, the cost will depend on the size of the yard to be irrigated.
This summer the pros appear to outweigh the cons. If your lawn is as burnt as mine is you will know just what I mean.
I have come across many irrigation systems in the gardens (and yards) I look after. Some have sprinkler heads, others have a copper piping drip system, others have a combination of both. Which is better? That depends on what you want to keep hydrated and how much you want to spend. The experts contracted to install irrigation systems will advise you better than I can.
Soaker Hoses Create Inexpensive Irrigation Systems
Soaker hoses are simply hoses with tiny holes in them. Like regular hoses, you can connect many to fit the area you wish to irrigate. Wind the hoses throughout your garden in a snake-like fashion and hook the end up to your tap. When you turn the tap on, the water seeps out of the holes in the hoses onto your soil.
These soaker hoses are a great way to ensure the moisture gets to the soil and roots of the plants instead of being wasted on the foliage where it might evaporate before benefiting the roots. It is especially beneficial if you turn the taps on in the early morning before the heat of the day evaporates the water from the hoses faster than it can water your plants.
It is also much easier to manipulate soaker hoses (rather than pipes of an expensive system) to fit around plantings that need more water and avoid those that are more drought tolerant.
I have such a soaker system in my back gardens to keep them looking good, but my front lawn has to rely on rainfall which we have none of for weeks.
All I can say is that I can certainly tell the lawns and gardens that do have the luxury of irrigation systems of some sort.