Garden Smart!

Piece by our FabMags Intern – Kwazi Dlamini (Third Year Journalism Student at the Durban University of Technology) 

After being asked to come up with a story idea that will be relevant to all our readers, the first thing that came to mind was the idea of saving water.  Most of you are probably tired of hearing this over and over again, but this is different approach.

Well, we all know that our beloved province KwaZulu-Natal has a deficiency of water. Spring has begun and folks are wetting their garden forks (excuse the pun) to plant. So, with that – and our drought – in mind, here are five drought tolerant plants that will help you save water and time!

  1. Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina)

Usually referred to as “Lamb’s ear”, this is a species of Stachys. Cultivated as an ornamental plant which you can put in your garden or even indoors. You can put it there and forget about it.  Lamb’s-ear blossoms in late spring and early summer; they die in cold conditions like winter but they are easy to grow back, preferring partial shade to complete sunlight, well-drained soils that is not rich in nitrogen.

  1. Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

These plants also prefer well-drained sandy soils, which we have a lot of in KZN. They require very little water and bloom from May to September. It can also grow in a gravel soil and requires full sun.  It’s called the Butterfly weed because butterflies are attracted to it because of its colour.

  1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is great for your garden because it’s an evergreen plant and it is palatable, bringing great taste to your food.  It grows well in sunny conditions and also can survive dry conditions.  The rosemary can be a perennial plant but can be very sensitive to cold conditions.

  1. Stonecrop (Sedum)

Sedum is also cultivated as a garden plant because of its attention-grabbing and attractive appearance and hardiness. The sedum can differ in requirements because of various species within it family.  Some can stand cold temperatures but cannot tolerate heat, some survive in heat but cannot endure cold conditions.

The thick leaves on this plant help it hold water in dry conditions so that it can survive dryer conditions, they blossom in soil that can drain water well.  Its leaves can also be eaten but some species like rubrotinctum are reported to be poisonous.

  1. Coneflower (Echinacea)

Coneflower is easier to grow as it does not require most of your time and needs less water which can help you save few litres.  The plant attracts a lot of butterflies and birds that if you have cultivated it in your garden it will look like the Mexican Angangueoa in winter with butterflies hovering all over the place.

It can also grow continuously and thrive well in sunny conditions.  It is drought resistant and is deer-resistant, great news if you’re in an estate where deer frequent.

These five plants are a must have in your garden this spring they will help you save a few litres and save you time – nobody likes spending time watering the whole garden, especially if you are a busy person.  These plants will make your garden look like the Garden of Eden.

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