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Kingswood Gardening News – July 2018

Drought resistant plants

By Sarah Wilson

My last newsletter was written after weeks of rain, following a very cold winter, both of which had left us with much to do to get the garden “summer ready”.

Now we have had weeks of really hot weather and not a drop of rain so our gardens are looking very parched and many plants are really suffering.

In this hot weather there is a group of plants, which do need watering – these are any trees or shrubs, which have been planted in your garden for less than two years. They will not have a good root system and need your help to get hold of the water they need to live. For a smallish tree you should provide a bucketful or watering can full of water at least twice a week.

It is a good time to consider putting more drought tolerant plants into your garden. There are many suitable plants, most of them originating in the Mediterranean or North America. Drought resistant plants have certain characteristics:

  • The leaves may be silver coloured and have a furry surface. Examples of this are Stachys byzantina and Perovskia. If you don’t want tall spires on your Stachys you can use a new low growing variety called “Silver carpet” which doesn’t have any flowers.
  • The leaves may be fleshy such as Sedum spectabile, Sempervivum or Aloe
  • The stems may have viscous sap or aromatic and volatile oils to help the plant maintain its turgidity. Examples of these are Lavender, Rosemary and Euphorbia.
  • Shrubs and trees with small green, shiny leaves such as box, yew, Pittosporum and myrtle.


Other useful plants are the daisies – from the tiny Erigeron karvinskianus to the very tall Echinacea and of course the old favourites Helenium, Rudbeckia and Michaelmas daisies – now called the unpronounceable Symphyotrichum.

Erigeron karvinskianus



Finally there are lots of lovely grasses, which love the heat and drought and can really enhance a late summer garden. The ones, which do best in my garden, are Stipa gigantea and Miscanthus.

For a really stunning display why not try a combination of Cortaderia selloana (Pampas grass) and late summer Lilies (Lilium henryi). This is a border at Great Comp gardens in Kent. Well worth a visit in August or September.

Lilium henryi

Dr Sarah Wilson, a long time resident in The Warren, regularly opens her garden in the summer months with the National Garden Scheme.

To contact Sarah please click here

Kingswood Gardening News – May 2018

Making your garden really special this summer. By Sarah Wilson March and April were really dismal months, except for a few days of beautiful weather in late April, so you have probably kept out of your very muddy and cold garden! At this time of year you can really enhance your garden with spring blossom […] Continue reading →

Kingswood Gardening News – March 2018

Introducing native plants into your garden. By Sarah Wilson In Kingwood we are fortunate to live in an area surrounded by native woodland and we have many remnants of the historic landscape of the medieval Kingswood in our gardens. In local deciduous woodland there is birch, beech, hazel, ash and hawthorn – all trees which […] Continue reading →

Kingswood Gardening News – January 2018

Winter scent and colour in your garden. By Sarah Wilson If you do brave the cold and rain this month it is nice to have something with colour and scent in your garden. Not only will this please you, but it will also ensure that birds and insects have something to eat over the winter […] Continue reading →

Kingswood Gardening News – December 2017

December in the garden and presents for gardeners. By Sarah Wilson In December most of the plants in the garden are green although the brown seed heads of grasses and perennials are still standing despite the high winds. There are however quite a few colourful and scented flowers hidden in sheltered corners providing winter food […] Continue reading →

Kingswood Gardening News – September 2017

Shrubs with autumn colour and lessons learned from this summer in my garden. By Sarah Wilson As we approach autumn we look forward to the reds and oranges of our trees and the berries of late summer but do you have any shrubs, which are at their best in late summer?  In my garden are […] Continue reading →

Kingswood Gardening News – August 2017

High summer in your garden By Sarah Wilson Many thanks to everyone who helped or visited our garden this summer – over the summer we have made £1800 for the NGS and £825 for the Childrens Trust. The NGS supports a number of charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Parkinson’s UK and the MS […] Continue reading →

Kingswood Gardening News – July 2017

Midsummer Jottings By Sarah Wilson July and August colour I was anxious that for my open garden on Sunday there wouldn’t be much colour in the garden as I rely on shrubs and perennials for colour and only had a few non-hardy plants such as scented Pelargonium in pots. I needn’t have worried because I […] Continue reading →