Choosing plants to minimise watering

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hilberry

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2011, 04:38:32 PM »
I don't live in a truly Mediterranean climate, but I do suffer water shortage in the Spring, Summer and Autumn as my only supply is a well, which is for all the domestic uses as well as the garden. The water table gets very low here due to agricultural usage  In the summer I tend to only water new plantings and occasionally my tomatoes, so everything else has to be dry tolerant.  Luckily, we had some rain this summer, so I collected it in buckets off the roofs.  No major losses , but quite a few plants suffered.  I'm learning to re-plant these into a half shade bed, dappled shade from 1pm onwards.  I'm in the process of studying what to plant, with the help of MGS members.   :-*
Retired artist/potter.  Amateur gardener searching for suitable plants for my hot dry summers, cool wet winters.  Redesigning the garden to have a shady area under trees, so searching also for dry shade plants and ideas for the type of soil needed.  I live in S.Loire Atlantique, France

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Alisdair

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2011, 07:46:13 PM »
The MGS has made a start on putting together comparative information on how much drought different plants can stand, based to start with on the excellent records kept by Sally Razelou at the MGS garden in Attica.
When we started this forum we all hoped that one of its most valuable functions would be to yield a far wider range of information on how different plants perform under mediterranean-climate conditions of varying degrees of summer heat and drought, and I'm sure that we are indeed on the first small steps towards that.
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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Alisdair

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2011, 07:56:55 PM »
Click here to find the link which Jorun kindly arranged to two important articles in The Mediterranean Garden in which Patrick Mills set out a preliminary classification of plants for drought-resistance.
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

David Bracey

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2011, 09:22:21 PM »
In our  Languedoc garden plants were rarely watered.  Plants either survived or failed.

Water should be expensive and metered; it is a rare commodity.

By all means start (another) classification but which mediterranean climate do you use?  MGS member Alec Cobb is already putting to-gether a list of plants for difficult situations with inputs from members.  I`m sure that Olivier would say that his classifications are based on his results - he lives next to the sea and "enjoys" a microclimate rich is salt, petrol fumes from motor boats and therefore relatively high humidity - and any classification is in any case dynamic. 
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

Daisy

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2011, 07:03:53 AM »
From a purely personal view, my own feelings on this subject are mixed.
For most people, information and education on drought resistant plants and water saving measures are invaluable. However, I have to admit to a feeling of frustration when I pick up yet another book on mediterranean gardening to find that it is only written on those lines.
My own garden is tiny. Small enough for me to hand water it all, which I do once a fortnight in summer. (The pots get watered once a week.)
I also have eclectic tastes. I like to include plants from the sub-tropical, to those fully hardy plants that can take the heat of the summer here.
I am fortunate indeed, because I am surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, mountains and the sea-shore. I can walk or drive in my neighbourhood and see a lot of the truly mediterranean plants in the most beautiful setting. But for my own garden, I want something different. Perhaps it is deeply psychological, but I want my garden to go on and on. I do not want it to aestivate for months every year. Long flowering periods and looking good all year round, are extremely important to me for my tiny garden.
If it was a large garden, I am sure my outlook would be very different. But it is not, and I would like to hear about all plants that it may be possible to grow here.
I am surely not alone. There must be many people who have small gardens, or just a few pots. They would like to know about all the choices open to them surely?
I have bared my soul enough now :D :D :D

Having said all that, I would like to recommend a book for any rose lovers out there.
Tea Roses. Old Roses for Warm Gardens
Lynne Chapman
Nolene Drage
Di Durston
Jenny Jones
Hilary Merrifield
Billy West

For those of you who don't know this book, it was written by these Australian ladies and extols the  virtues of these beautiful roses. They thrive in warm climates and do not need any watering after the first year. I have a few in my garden, and with my fortnightly summer watering regime, most of them flower year round.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

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Alisdair

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2011, 07:37:46 AM »
Daisy, Well said!
I think all of us would agree that there should be room on the forum for talking about any plant that can be suited to a mediterranean climate, whether or not it needs supplementary water. Though many of us are keen to promote plants which need no additional water - and that may well be the most important type of plant for mediterranean-climate gardens as water becomes increasingly scarce - we certainly don't want to be Water Police!
My own Greek garden, which is not that big, has one part near the house with automated summer irrigation (we're absent for most of the year, including all the summer months) and another larger part where new plants are watered monthly only in their first year and then have to look after themselves.
So I'm personally interested both in plants that need summer watering and in plants that can do without - and that may well be fairly typical of other forum users?
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

hilberry

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2011, 05:08:48 PM »
Yes, I'm interested in which plants can do without watering in summer.  The problem for me is that here the rain becomes torrential in November!  All my flower beds have to be raised and the soil mixed with sand for good drainage.  Then the drought resistant plants don't get enough water in the summer.  I'm living in two worlds!  I'm just north of the Vendee, which has as much sun as Provence, though a more maritime climate, so changeable.  It's all very interesting, finding out what likes what.

Usually, it's a good idea to look at the gardens of the local people, but here they are very uninteresting. [to me]
Retired artist/potter.  Amateur gardener searching for suitable plants for my hot dry summers, cool wet winters.  Redesigning the garden to have a shady area under trees, so searching also for dry shade plants and ideas for the type of soil needed.  I live in S.Loire Atlantique, France

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MikeHardman

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Re: Choosing plants to minimise watering
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2011, 09:09:59 PM »
There's some interesting and relevant info here - http://www.themediterraneangardener.co.uk/drought-tolerant-plants. That is based on first-hand experience in the south of France.
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England