Be wa­ter-wise with in­dige­nous gar­den

Lesotho Times - - Property -

WE all know what to do in the home to re­duce wa­ter us­age, but did you know that you can also limit the amount of wa­ter you use in your gar­den with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the aes­thetic?

Mimi Rupp, founder of Stone etc., says the rule of thumb is to plant in­dige­nous plants in your gar­den, as they are ac­cus­tomed to our cli­mate and can sur­vive the of­ten harsh con­di­tions. Mimi shares some wa­ter­wise gar­den­ing tips…

1. Fa­mil­iarise your­self with in­dige­nous plants Wa­ter-wise gar­dens fo­cus on plants that thrive on lit­tle wa­ter and cer­tain char­ac­ter­is­tics that make them wa­ter ef­fi­cient. By fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self with these char­ac­ter­is­tics, you’ll be able to make a well-in­formed de­ci­sion re­gard­ing what you should and shouldn’t plant.

Look for… Plants with small or nee­dle-like leaves These min­imise the sur­face area for wa­ter to evap­o­rate. Ex­am­ples of such plants in­clude er­i­cas, most aca­cias, rose­mary, ori­g­anum and thyme.

Plants with few leaves Some plants re­duce wa­ter loss by shed­ding their leaves dur­ing drought. Ex­am­ples of these in­clude the ka­ree tree, aca­cias and buf­falo thorn.

Plants with grey fo­liage These kinds of plants de­flect the sun’s rays, which keeps them cooler thereby re­duc­ing wa­ter loss. If you want to cre­ate a sus­tain­able gar­den us­ing plants with grey fo­liage in­vest in laven­der, arteme­sia, arc­to­tis and gi­ant honey flower.

Plants with hairs Hairs slow down air move­ment past the stom­ata, which re­duces wa­ter loss. A few hairy plant op­tions to grow in your gar­den in­clude the sil­ver tree, lamb’s ear, beach salvia and he­lichry­sum.

Plants with suc­cu­lent leaves Home­own­ers should opt for suc­cu­lents be­cause wa­ter gets stored in the thick, fleshy leaves, re­served for later use. Ex­am­ples of these in­clude cras­su­las, aloes, echev­e­rias and vy­gies.

Plants with leaves that close The leaves of some plants close when they are wa­ter stressed. This re­duces the amount of leaf ex­posed to sun­light and re­duces wa­ter loss. To save wa­ter, add aca­cias, Jerusalem sage and rock rose to your gar­den.

Plants with waxy leaves Waxy leaves pre­vent mois­ture loss so if you want to save on gar­den­ing costs in­vest in euony­mus, kalan­choe and In­dian hawthorn.

Plants with lighter leaves When wa­ter stressed, plants with lighter leaves on one side turn the lighter side up­wards to re­flect the sun away. If you’re look­ing for such wa­ter savvy plants, why not try wild olive trees, gaza­nias and in­dige­nous bud­dle­jas.

Plants with strong in­ter­nal

skele­ton sup­port Plants with a strong in­ter­nal skele­ton sup­port the leaf and pre­vent wilt­ing dur­ing dry spells. Ex­am­ples of these in­clude stre­litzia, restios, agaves and New Zealand flax. Plants with volatile oils Volatile oils in the stom­ata form an ex­tra layer of pro­tec­tion against wa­ter loss. This is com­mon with Mediter­ranean plants, and in ar­eas that ex­pe­ri­ence hot, dry sum­mers. Ex­am­ples of these in­clude rose­mary, laven­der and sage.

2. Prac­tise sus­tain­able gar­den­ing When it comes to sus­tain­able gar­den­ing, group plants with sim­i­lar wa­ter needs to­gether and wa­ter these zones sep­a­rately.

A layer of mulch over the bed will keep soil moist for longer, and adding com­post will in­crease or­ganic mat­ter which im­proves the soil’s nu­tri­ent level and wa­ter-hold­ing ca­pac­ity.

— Prop­erty24

Plants with nee­dle-like leaves min­imise the sur­face area for wa­ter to evap­o­rate.

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