Steele: Garden that likes heat

The hot summer weather may have finally arrived.

This draws my thoughts to the Mediterranean Garden in the unH2O Xeriscape Garden in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre, 4075 Gordon Dr.

It is stunning. In addition to flowers blooming, the billowing mounds of plants are accentuated by variations in foliage colours and textures.

Plants in this garden will be very happy in the sudden onslaught of heat.

They only need watering once or twice in the summer during periods of hot, dry weather that lasts more than about three weeks. Planted in 2010, the garden has filled in leaving little space for weeds to grow.

Any bare soil is dry so it’s more difficult for weeds to germinate.

This low maintenance garden (about eight person-hours to keep it looking its best all season) has an abundance of flowers from spring to frost.

OXA volunteers do a major clean-up in early spring, and after frost.

In March, the garden is tidied and any plants that need it are divided.From late June through September, some plants are deadheaded to encourage repeat blooming.

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ blooms abundantly from early April. Plants are trimmed down to new growth when it appears in the centre in early summer. Then they flush out with more bloom until frost. Beginning late in June, lavender blooms for about a month. When spent flower stalks are removed, plants are given a haircut to shape them. By summer’s end lavender blooms again.

Coreopsis ‘Golden Gain,’ has deep-yellow daisy flowers contrasting with the blue spikes of catnip and lavender. Fine, bright-green foliage contrasts well with the silver-gray of catnip and lavender. Plants bloom vigorously for about a month, then are easily sheared back about one inch, to encourage another flush of flowers.

Although the tops are killed by frost, Sedum ‘Matrona’ is left standing until spring. Its seed heads add beautiful structure to the winter garden.

Early spring flowers include brilliant chartreuse-yellow cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma), and spring bulbs: ‘Fire of Love’ dwarf tulips, narcissus species and grape hyacinth.

Low-growing Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera missouriensis) has large lemon yellow flowers from June to frost. Visit the garden at dusk to see them glow like light bulbs.

Sedum ‘Postman’s Pride’ has deep burgundy leaves and stems which provide a striking contrast to the silver foliage of lavender and catnip and the green evening primrose leaves.


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