August 2022 – Drought resistant plants
We hope you managed to keep your gardens alive during this exceptionally hot and dry Summer. By now we are more aware of how our devastatingly extreme climate can be and it is of course a concern to us all looking to the future.
Luckily, Bressingham was fitted with a 50 mt deep artesian well back in the 1960s which has made it possible to irrigate and save the gardens over the past 2 months with no rain, very high temperatures and constant wind.
Gardening in the heat has been a struggle for the whole team, then Covid hit us all.
So, although one might feel slightly uneasy to brag about the beauty and lushness of the gardens under such circumstances, hearing and reading our visitor’s comments about the relief, serenity and joy they got from their visit, puts everything back into prospective and gives us new purpose.
This month, in fact, the drifts of Agapanthus, Crocosmias, Salvias, Asters, Phlox, Heleniums, Kniphofias, Helianthus, Hydrangeas, Rudbeckias and Monardas (to name a few) are absolutely stunning and we really hope you’ll hop in the car and drive over to see us, and why not, maybe stay with us at Bressingham Hall or our Glamping Bell tents.
These South African perennial plants are equally suitable for borders and large containers. Agapanthus look great when planted with drifts of ornamental grasses, sun-loving rudbeckias and solidago. Most agapanthus are hardy and their leaves die down in winter. Evergreen forms are more tender and usually need the shelter of a greenhouse from early winter to spring. You can tell them apart by the leaves, evergreen ones having larger shorter leaves.
Full sun and a well-drained soil are the secrets to success with agapanthus, they are drought-tolerant plants and able to cope in a gravel garden that isn’t watered after the first year of planting.
Divide congested clumps of agapanthus every four or five years. Lift the plants and carefully divide the crown with a sharp spade, making sure that each section has at least two growing points. You may need to use two garden forks back to back to divide very established clumps. This can be done in spring or after flowering in autumn.
VIEW SOME OF OUR AGAPANTHUS
Asters enliven the garden in late summer and autumn, providing valuable late-season nectar for bees and butterflies. These upright plants grow 1 to 6 feet tall and their star-shaped flower heads range from purple to white to blue.
Asters are best planted in the fall. In cold climates, plant at least 6 weeks before the Autumn frost to allow the plants to get established. Aster is versatile: Depending on the height, it’s suitable for borders, rock gardens, or wildflower gardens. As well as being a valuable pollinator plant, its tasty seed heads are sought by cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, and many other seed eaters.
Verbena bonariensis has tall, narrow, sparsely-leafed stems on top of which flattened heads of bright lavender-purple flowers appear in late-summer. It’s perfect for bringing height to an ornamental border and also works well in prairie-style planting schemes with ornamental grasses. It’s a superb butterfly plant, rivalling even buddleja. Verbena is a varied genus of plants, mostly native to South America. They tend to be short-lived, but the abundance of nectar-rich flowers more than makes up for this. Hardy garden verbena varieties include the popular Verbena bonariensis and its shorter-growing cultivar ‘Lollipop‘, along with architectural Verbena hastata and Verbena rigida, which works well in pots. Verbena likes free draining soil and full sun.
VIEW SOME OF OUR VERBENAS
Rudbeckias have become one of our most popular garden plants in recent years, and it’s not surprising – bushy plants produce masses of colourful flowers with a long flowering period from July to October.
Rudbeckias are characterised by their colourful daisy-like flowers surrounding a prominent conical disk. They can be annuals, biennials or herbaceous perennials, the annuals grown as half-hardy annuals, sown indoors in warmth. The annual varieties may survive from year to year if left in the garden, but flowering may be reduced in subsequent years.
Perennial varieties can be planted at any time of year, although autumn or spring are the best times.
VIEW SOME OF OUR RUDBECKIAS
Stipa tenuissima is a compact, evergreen ornamental grass. It has upright clumps of airy silver green foliage, topped with feathery flower heads in summer, and sways gently in the slightest breeze. In late summer, the plant turns a beautiful buff colour.
It is an incredibly useful plant in the garden, as it combines well with pretty much all other plants – other grasses, perennials and annuals. Dotted throughout a sunny border, it can unify a planting scheme. It’s an excellent choice for a gravel garden, a naturalistic or prairie border, a coastal garden or a contemporary urban garden. It also works well as ground cover and grows very well in pots. It’s very low maintenance, drought tolerant and is rarely affected by pests and diseases. It does self seed a lot, which is not a bad thing.
VIEW SOME OF OUR STIPA
Bringing warm colour to borders from mid-summer into autumn, these sun-loving perennials are tough, hardy and easy to grow. These daisies come in a choice of rich, fiery hues – yellows, deep oranges and reddish-coppers – opening from mid-summer. The centres become more prominent as the flowers age and the petals curve backwards. The upright, leafy, branching stems emerge from sturdy clumps.
VIEW SOME OF OUR HELENIUMS