Monday, June 13, 2011

Xeric plants for the waterwise garden

I've become obsessed with the mail-order xeric gardening website High Country Gardens. I began looking at the site before we even moved into our new house, writing down my favorite plants and imagining where I'd put them. Realizing that I could spend our life savings on plants, I asked for gift cards for my birthday. I got a couple gift cards as house-warming gifts and one for my birthday, so I was set to order without breaking the bank.

High Country Gardens stops shipping today (June 13th) due to the heat of the summer. They begin shipping again once it cools down in the fall. I was getting a little worried because June was upon us and we still weren't ready to get the plants ordered. Luckily, we were able to devote the entirety of this past weekend to landscaping, so I got the plants ordered last week. Some of the plants on my list were sold out, so I had to re-think my order. I ended up getting a good amount of plants ordered and I'm really excited to get them planted. They should arrive any day now. We will be working every week night this week to get the plants planted and the river rock hauled to the landscaped area.
These are some of the plants I ordered:

I ordered three types of Penstemon:

Penstemon palmeri (Pink Wild Snapdragon)

Up-close picture of the tall spires of Penstemon palmeri

Penstemon pinifolius (Tall Orange Mix Pineleaf Beardtongue)

Penstemon strictus (Rocky Mountain Penstemon)
 Two types of Salvia:
May Night Salvia

Blue Flame Salvia
 And many other flowers:
Nitrogen-fixing Purple Prairie Clover
Sundancer Daisy

Arizona Sun Blanket Flower

Veronica oltensis (Thyme-leaf Speedwell) - groundcover

Jupiter's Beard

Wild Four O'clock
All of the above plants need very little water except what is needed to get them established the first summer. All of them thrive in low-fertility, well-draining soil. I imagined that the "fill dirt" we bought to fill in the area we edged and landscaped this weekend would be just that - low fertility and rocky, well-draining soil. However, the soil we got ended up being very clay-based. That worries me quite a bit, but some of the flowers I'm getting do well in almost any soil, including clay. Others, like the Penstemon, really need well-draining soil to thrive. I added some rocks to the clay where those would be planted in hopes that they will help drain some excess water. I may also get a bag of sand and/or gravel to mix with the soil as I'm planting the pants. I'm crossing my fingers that all will survive and thrive in the area we plant them, but trying not to get my hopes up. Either way, in a year or two, at least some of these plants will be thriving and looking gorgeous. I can't wait to get them in the ground soon!

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