Choosing plants to minimise watering

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GillP

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« on: October 08, 2011, 02:53:07 PM »
Fabulous colour but in the Languedoc, S France,  I find that it requires more summer irrigation than I am prepared to give!
LATER NOTE ADDED BY ALISDAIR: this posting was prompted by John Fielding's posting on Salvia patens, which you can see by clicking here.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 09:19:54 AM by Alisdair »
Gardening in the Languedoc, southern France.
Nursery proprietor

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Alisdair

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 03:38:16 PM »
A big welcome from our forum to Gill, a plantswoman whose specialist nursery is very popular with MGS members in France.

We grow Salvia patens in the UK but have decided against taking plants to Greece - too hot and dry in summer for it.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 03:42:29 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 04:13:54 PM »
I thought when posting this that these replies would come up. I realise that there are plenty of plants that will always need irrigation in a mediterranean climate but that on a small scale gardeners will want to grow. I assume that we are not expecting no irrigation at all from our members even at Sparoza!
If I did live in the Med I would probably want at least a small oasis of green (and flowers) say in a sheltered courtyard where I could grow a few such plants if they were happy there.
So I suppose I am saying that I think it is OK to post such material and then warn about the difficulty of cultivation and possible substitutes.
Another aspect of species such as this is there possible use in hybridising to produce more drought resistant plants.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 04:52:30 PM »
John, we'd never want to stop you putting your gorgeous pictures of interesting/beautiful plants on the forum, but let's remember that it is really a mediterranean plants and gardens forum, and that the ideal plants for it are ones which thrive naturally in a mediterranean climate instead of finding it hostile, and don't need much summer watering, if any.  ;)
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2011, 05:13:26 PM »
Yes Ok, but I am bound to stray outside the box! I can't help it!!!!!
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2011, 05:16:38 PM »
Naughty boy  :o
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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oron peri

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2011, 06:14:21 PM »
Sorry to interfere....You are both right...

It is true that the MGS should be the first to give an example of growing plants with no use or a minimum
use of water.
But i also understand John that would like to grow plants that need more water and
personally i dont see a problem with it if it is done on a small scale [Or if you  live in England..].

The sad fact is that very few people like our members really take this matter seriously.
Looking around the Eastern Mediterranean, where we would  have probably be limited to grow only Succulent and catus as we have a dry seoson that last for almost 8 months now, but the fact is that when people finally can affored themselvs to buy a privat house with a garden they really feel like having a super blooming garden.
Probably 90% of the gardens are watered regularly some to the point they transform to a tropical climat.

I feel there is a very long process a head of us and it will still take many years to educate people differently.  

« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 06:25:17 PM by oron peri »
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Living and gardening in Tivon, Lower Galilee region, North Israel.
Min temp 5c Max 42c, around 450mm rain.

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John J

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2011, 06:38:32 PM »
To take up Oron's topic of water in the Eastern Med. A few years ago at one of the UNDP sponsored lectures I attended the speaker, who had been studying climate change on the island for years, spoke about the gradually increasing temperatures and the decreasing precipitation. When he answered questions at the end his response to a query about how Cyprus would look in the future was along the lines of:- "If you want to know what Cyprus will look like in 2050 look at Cairo, in 2075 look at Bahrein". Obviously not something that we'll be around to see but a grim outlook for our children and grandchildren.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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Alisdair

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2011, 06:58:37 PM »
Water pricing doesn't always help to show people the true cost of using large amounts, either. Our water in Greece costs less per cubic metre than our metered water does in this part of the UK.
(If we go on in this vein we're going to have to split this topic and move chunks of it to a general discussion about water use....)
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2011, 08:04:33 PM »
Yes by all means do move the relevant portion across. At least we're back on track!
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

ezeiza

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2011, 11:56:12 PM »
 "If you want to know what Cyprus will look like in 2050 look at Cairo, in 2075 look at Bahrein".

Obviously he was a maniatic optimistic. As things go, we WILL see it.

Umbrian

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Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2011, 06:44:11 AM »
I think the replies regarding watering ensuing from the Salvia patens topic should be moved to the "WATER" heading as I am sure many members have thier own ideas on this thorny subject and it should produce a lively and informative discussion.
I try to only plant subjects that can cope with the conditions I can offer them but realise that many people live with much severer conditions even though falling under the general heading of "Mediterranean". I am able to collect sufficient rainwater to help out certain things in times of stress but of course if your rainfall is very low this is hardly an option. My main aim, since coming to live in Italy, is to help people I come into contact with to choose the right things so that they can have an attractive and sustainable garden. Many local people admire the English style of gardening and do not realise that it not really suited to their climate. Incomers, especially those without a large knowledge of plants, find it difficult to adapt and want to plant the things they have grown up with and love. With the gloomy prospect of there being less and less precipitation in the years to come education is surely the answer?
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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Alisdair

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2011, 09:13:20 AM »
This discussion was prompted by John's notes in the perennials section on Salvia patens - which needs too much summer water to be ideal for mediterranean climates.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 09:47:40 AM »
Alisdair and all, perhaps this discussion could lead to accumulating advice from members through discussion to produce a list of plants that by agreement are excellent drought resistant plants for the mediterranean climate and are also ornamental. Or a total list of plants grown with a points system for all the features that are important. E.g. drought tolerance, ornamental value, flowering season, disease resistance, degree of maintenance (e.g. pruning to keep a good shape or flowering), availability. This could be discussed thoroughly before it is instigated and could be expanded if other aspects come up of importance.
A plant such as Salvia patens may get a big fat 0 but it would be useful if people could just check on a comprehensive list before making decisions.
I am aware that such information already exists in books including the one by Olivier Filippi but here is an opportunity for gardeners all over the mediterranean gardening world to produce a definitive list which could be regularly updated and improved. The updated version could also be available on the web site.
As with the discussion groups set up for the improvement of the society I feel if this were undertaken by the forum in the same way the best results would be achieved.
Every ones thoughts about this?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 08:12:54 PM by John »
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Janet Ibbotson

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2011, 10:24:03 AM »
Sounds like a great idea to me and you all more than qualified to do it - unfortunately I am not.  Can I add wind resistance/thrives in an exposed position to John's list.  I also agree with his earlier comment about a small oasis of green in a courtyard, or in my case in pots around the door, especially if grey water is used.  I feel I've earned it when the rest of my garden (apart from the veggies) gets little or no Summer watering.
Janet Ibbotson
MGS Member currently based in Skopelos, Greece but also gardens in Norfolk