Gardening in the Extremes: Creating a Weather-Resilient Garden


More and more, gardeners have been frustrated by damage wrought by late-season blizzards, hail, torrential flooding, fires or drought conditions. What can you do to mitigate some of these events?

5 Simple steps to help weather-proof your garden

Weather Resilient GardenOne of the keys to a weather resilient garden is to
select drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant plant
varieties.

1. Plant drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant varieties. These plants are naturally adapted to high-stress conditions, and will survive much better in times of scant rainfall.

2. Use native and Old World plants from areas of the planet with difficult climates. Plants native to the Great Plains of the US are especially durable, having adapted to weather extremes that are common in this large region. Old World species from the steppes (prairies) of Eurasia and South Africa are also particularly resilient. In general, plants in the mint family (Laminacea; Salvia, Stachys, Nepeta) and ornamental grasses are quite tough.

3. Be sure you have healthy soil. By applying natural and organic fertilizers, composts and trace minerals, you feed the soil’s microorganisms and add nutrients. We recommend Yum Yum Mix soil food, and Planters II Natural Trace Mineral Fertilizer. It is also vitally important to inoculate your lawn and the soil around your plants with micorrhizal fungi (Plant Success Granular or Soluable) to colonize plant roots with these essential beneficial fungi.

4. Mulch. In more arid climates, help your plants conserve moisture by adding a generous 1” to 2” thick layer of mulching material. For waterwise plants use crushed gravel, pine needles or crushed nut shells. For plants that enjoy richer soils and more water, use composted bark, shredded bark or coarse textured compost.

The Weather Resilient GardenThe Weather Resilient Garden gives in-depth, practical advice on creating a beautiful and resilient landscape

5. Create buffers and barriers. Plant or build windbreaks to shield your plants from the elements or use buildings that provide protected microclimates to buffer your landscape.

Horticulturalist Charles W. G. Smith’s excellent book The Weather Resilient Garden, a Defensive Approach to Planning and Landscaping is a wonderful resource. Smith describes the traits of a weather resilient garden as possessing ‘praus,’ a combination of flexibility and strength. He offers simple suggestions on how to look at your property and the plants you choose with a fresh set of eyes.

The book gives in-depth, practical advice on helping your garden recover from extreme weather events and tips on creating a beautiful and resilient landscape. The book also includes a list of 100 of the most weather-resilient plants.
ISBN: 978-1-58017-516-6 | Paperback | SKU: #HAH4BB1 | $19.95

© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republication is prohibited without permission.

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