Xeri-what? In the gardening world, xeriscaping is one of the best ways to conserve water. The root word, xeric, means that something (like a plant) requires very little water–not that you can make a photocopy of it. While the concept of xeriscaping is very popular in dry areas of the west and southwest United States, it is a fairly new idea for Middle Tennesseans. However, with drought becoming more common as climate change affects the planet, wise homeowners will learn to conserve water using thecore principles of xeriscaping.
Benefits of Xeriscaping
First, xeriscaping can give your home a lovely appearance even during the hottest, driest parts of July and August. This is because xeriscape designs choose drought-resistant plants, which look even prettier under the blazing hot sun, seldom wilting or scorching.
Second, this type of design will help you lower your water bill. Xeriscape gardeners plan the entire landscape to minimize water needs. The lawn is planted with tough, drought-tolerant grasses to help absorb rainwater and prevent run-off. Mulches are applied liberally to conserve moisture and protect the fragile roots of plants.
Third, xeriscapes usually rely on native plants because they are naturally resistant to local pests, reducing the need for expensive fertilizers. Our native plants in Middle Tennesseethrive because they can handle the extremes of Tennessee weather and do well in the hard, clay soils here. The Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council has afree online publicationto help you garden with native plants.
Fourth, xeriscaping designs are very low maintenance. Because they have little need for watering, pruning, and spraying, after your xeriscape is established, you will have little to do in the garden. Use thisonline guideto help you plan your xeriscape maintenance chores.
Good XeriscapingPlants in Tennessee
Cactuses probably come to mind when you think about plants with low water needs. While there are cactuses with lovely flowers, many flowering perennials, attractive shrubs, and cheerful annuals have low water needs and are native to the Tennessee area.
Marigolds, sunflowers, and zinnias are three very popular annuals that fit perfectly into xeriscape designs. These flowers have bold colors and are available in a enormous variety of sizes and habits. Planting lavendar, rosemary, and oregano can incorporate some tasty culinary and fragrant plants into your landscaping plan.
Purple coneflower is one of the most popular perennials in Nashville-area gardens, and many people are pleasantly surprised to find that it works in a xeriscape as well. Irises, the Tennessee state flower, are very tolerant of dry soils, and sages and daylilies are popular choices to add beauty and interesting shapes to your landscape. Better Homes and Gardens offers aslide showof many drought-tolerant perennials to assist you in planning your xeriscape.
Shrubs and Grasses
Butterfly bushes come in a variety of colors and thrive in poor soils and dry areas. Butterflies love the purple, pink, and white blooms on this easy-to-find shrub. Junipers are evergreen shrubs that can add some structure to the bare bones of your landscape. Additionally, the ever-popular rose is perfect for hot, dry areas. This article from Fine Gardening talks about manyshrubs that can handle dry, hot summer weatherbetter than many.
Xeriscapes are not just for arid Nevada and drought-stricken California. These designs can reduce your workload in the garden, save you money, and help native wildlife. What’s not to like about xeriscaping?
Do you have a xeriscape?
Do you already try to garden with draught-resistant plants? Or do you plan on incorporating some of xeriscaping’s principles in your home’s garden design? Let’s talk about this intriguing form of gardening! Leave your comments below, and we’ll be sure to respond. Let’s save the planet together!