Design Diary | Hot weather, thriving plants
Updated: Feb 20, 2019
We recently revisited a client’s garden designed 5 years ago and were delighted to see that the planting was thriving despite the unprecedented hot weather.
The plants here have different requirements, but have thrived happily together due to good design and soil preparation.
Lavender’s native habitat is the area around the Mediterranean, which has dry, rocky ground. It thrives on hot and dry conditions, but good drainage is a must.
Not a hot weather plant, but thriving in this garden. It’s very much a case of right plant right place, the shady border next to the house protecting the plant from the worst of the sun.
Roses like plenty of light, however in hot climates partial shade is preferred, especially during the first part of the day. They are deep rooting plants, which allows them to tap into deeper water reserves. Preventing the soil drying out completely is important.
Yew has a reputation for being indestructible given fair treatment. English Yew grows just about anywhere once established, it is very happy in drier soils. Water, rather than heat is a problem for Yew, as it will not tolerate waterlogging.
Hollyhocks grow in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Partial shade is preferable in very hot climates, so ensuring the soil remains moist during an extended hot spell is important.
A grass lawn is hardy. In extended periods of summer drought, turf grasses turn brown and stop growing, but looks a lot worse than it actually is. A lawn will recover rapidly with renewed rainfall. It would take a severe drought to kill off the lawn.
Preparing the soil
Preparing and conditioning the soil is essential before planting. Soil should drain well and retain enough moisture for the plants to thrive. This, along with the correct placement, is what has allowed all these plants with differing requirements to survive this summer’s most challenging conditions.
The lavender was planted in a sunken area, so drainage was installed beneath to ensure it can not waterlog.
The raised border with Lady’s Mantle, Yew and Hollyhocks was filled with topsoil obtained from site and heavily mulched to improve the organic content and hence moisture retention.