The dry garden is a water efficient garden. But beware, it is not suitable for all soils or all climates. Clara and Olivier Filippi, nurserymen specializing in plants for dry gardens, explain the basics to us.
What is a dry garden?
It is a garden that uses plants that are very resistant to drought. There is therefore no need for watering once the plants are well established, that is to say that their roots are deeply anchored in the soil.
In which regions can you make a dry garden?
The dry garden is mainly intended to be installed in the Mediterranean basin but not only. It is an answer to a climate or soil problem when a traditional garden is difficult to build. You can make a dry garden on the Atlantic coast, in Brittany, in the Channel Islands, in some places in the Paris region, on the hillside, for example, but only on very well drained soil. It must be sandy or stony or rocky on a rocky slope.
Why make a dry garden?
To avoid consuming water. It is a modern gardening approach, in which we try to limit inputs such as water or fertilizers. It is very easy to make an ecological garden from a dry garden.
What type of plants are found in a dry garden?
We find all Mediterranean species, such as myrtle, arbutus, oak, pistachio, rockrose, pine, cypress or olive. And also many aromatic plants: lavender, thyme, rosemary, savory, marjoram, oregano ... A dry garden looks like a scrubland, also with pebbles and rocks.
Where to start your dry garden?
First, plant in the fall, at the start of the wet season. If the soil is not sufficiently drained, it is necessary to add sand and pebbles so that the plants find an environment close to their original conditions. Then comes the stage of choosing plants. You should not be enthused by a large and pretty plant, which has probably been forced to fertilizer. Better to choose small, bushy and compact plants, which will anchor more easily in their new soil. Take the time to choose plants suited to the climate and soil of your region, and ensure their resistance to cold if you are in a cold region.
Precisely, where can we find information on dry gardens?
On our site jardin-sec.com, for example. In the "Photo Library" then "Scenes of dry gardens" section, you can view many plants, choose the ones we like and then look in the descriptions of the catalog if they suit our climatic zone. I also wrote a book, "For a garden without watering", which gives a wealth of information. And for those who do not wish to make their own dry garden themselves, they can turn to professional landscapers who specialize in dry gardens by searching on Google.
How do you maintain a dry garden?
Maintenance is minimal. Some plants like lavender need annual pruning. Other than that, weeding is replaced by mineral mulching like gravel, which limits the germination of weeds.
Does a dry garden change its appearance in winter?
Yes, its appearance changes from season to season. Besides, a dry garden is beautiful all year round, and that is one of its additional advantages. Indeed, it mainly consists of plants with evergreen. There is an extraordinary diversity of textures and colors of foliage, with which we play to personalize our garden. To know more : www.jardin-sec.com "For a garden without watering", Actes Sud editions.