Advice & Guides

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting


A border outside the car park has recently be renewed by the garden team. The existing planting and the top layer of soil was removed. 

 

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting

 

 

Rather than use a nutrient-rich topsoil, which invariably contains weed seed, approximately 30cm (12 inches) of locally sourced sand and gravel was added to the area. This weed-free planting aggregate will naturally dry out and form a crust on the surface, making it difficult for weeds to establish. Deeper down, the mixture retains moisture. The plants have been chosen to thrive in these conditions and, although initial growth will be much less than if the plants were planted in a rich soil, they will establish without the need for constant watering and weeding.


New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting


Like the Gravel Garden, the border will not be irrigated (the plants were watered in, but will now have to survive on whatever rainfall we receive). The sand makes it low-maintenance in comparison with the Gravel Garden, where the gravel mulch acts as a perfect germination ground for seeds. It's also easier to remove unwanted plants from the sand. 

 

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting



List of drought-tolerant plants used:

Bergenia 'Bressingham Ruby'
Calamintha nepeta
Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset'
Cynara cardunculus
Cytisus multiflorus
Geranium macrorrhizum 'Ingwersen's Variety'  
Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii
Euphorbia segueriana
Helichrysum italicum
Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'
Nepeta 'Chettle Blue'
Olearia lepidophylla 'Silver Knight'
Origanum vulgare 'Thumble's Variety'
Penstemon palmeri
Poa labillardieri
Salvia x sylvestris 'Mainacht'
Stipa tenuissima
Thymus
Verbena bonariensis



New area of drought-tolerant planting

New area of drought-tolerant planting

Comments (2)

Sand+gravel looks a great idea for discouraging the weeds which inevitably flourish in a gravel-only surface layer. However... how do you deal with the ants? Ants just love dry, warm sand to build their nests....!
Cheryl Blamey | 19/05/2024
Reply from The Beth Chatto Gardens:
Hi Cheryl,
We haven't found ants to be a big problem. Perhaps it's because we use ungraded sand (a mixture of particle sizes) so maybe the ants prefer a more soil-like structure? We shall keep an eye out and report back!
Thank you for sharing this new bed with us,I just said to my husband how wonderful it would be to have a team of strong young gardeners at hand! Iím sure it will soon look gorgeous,weldone.
Caroline | 19/05/2024
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