The Garden Community for Garden Lovers



Has anyone ever heard of xeriscaping?

I, certainly, hadn’t – until just yesterday…but, it has been a big thing in the US, since the 1980s.

Basically, it’s a way of gardening which uses plants which are native or perfectly suited to the conditions of your garden, in order to preserve water and wild-life. It also reduces the use of fertilisers, weed-killers and hydro-carbons (power-mowers and the like)…so that the garden is in complete harmony with old Mother Nature.

“Hah”, I hear you say, “We’ve been doing that for years!”…

…and you’re absolutely right!! Nothing thrives in the wrong conditions, does it?

But, I’m thinking that I’m going to embrace it…

My motives are not entirely noble…

I happened across it whilst researching how to replace my (ahem!) “lawns” with alternative planting…such as sedums or thyme…

…and, although, I would like to be able to say that I’m fed up watering, it’s not really applicable…at the moment…lol

But, the plan is, I’m going to begin by cutting great big islands in both big “lawns”…and planting lots of things which like it there, such as lavender and alchemilla. They will be surrounded by sedums and other succulents, which will be lower and lower growing as I, eventually, remove all the grass…leaving only stepping stones between what was there before and the borders!

I know! No pictures! The only pictures are in my head!

But…you can get the general idea at

(sorry, don’t know how to create a link)

This is, definitely, the way forward for me! :)))

More blog posts by karenfrance

Previous post: Wanted, Ark, anything considered but must float...

Next post: SOS Meadowland!



Nice idea, Karen, but you need to be a bit careful with native plants. If they thrive in the local wild against all the competition, just think how they are going to l-u-r-v-e you garden with all the competion removed.
Good luck, however, and I am sure that we will; get some pictures in due course.

20 Jun, 2013


Lol! Thanks Bulbaholic. I'm not going to introduce any more weeds, aka, really native enough of them already!!!

Just "common or garden" ones which thrive :)

20 Jun, 2013


Hi Karren,
Why not do as ive done and use the grass/lawn area's as the backdrop for the rest of the garden,
ie ive the rose bed approx 45 feetx 6feet, another cut out bedding area thats got three trees in it acer/flowering cherry/ & Laburnam, plus bulbs and per/Geranium, this bed is cut in the shape of a sole of a shoe, no hard lines but curves,

The pool area, beds all around it ie Lavender on one complete length of the pool, phontinia across the complete end another bed with lilies along the other side of the pool and the roman end has a mixture of topiary, lavender, geranium, and bulbs,
The lawn area because of all the verious beds/borders and trees in the lawn takes that wide space feel away
and by using the likes of an arbour with climbing rose's or what ever really adds to the lawn fitting in but not taking over.
And the more features you have in the lawn areas the less lawn to cut.

20 Jun, 2013


,You have been busy doing some research, mean business,it seems...sound a great idea..and I can imagine the pictures in your head..:o) That's going to keep you occupied for a while..but something nice to think about ,sitting in your garden room,or outside on your chair..lovely :o)

20 Jun, 2013


Whoa! Karen, I think that's a marvellous idea and beats my gravel ideas hands down! Sedums, Lavenders etc.....wonderful!! ;)))) p.s. I am loving the Oxe-Eye Daisies in my garden at the can't beat them!

20 Jun, 2013


Cant remember his name but the chap who has the
ornaments on his fence does this. Been quiet for a while.

20 Jun, 2013


Thanks Dungy :)

I don't know if you've seen the lay-out of my garden...but, there's some of it is pretty, "formal (ish)"... ...and,deliberately, done - at the time, for better or worse.

I don't have the land that you have...also deliberately. We down-sized in the last move, because it was too much for me...

So, it's two ovals of weeds aka "grass" with quite nice borders, linked by a rose arch...probably measures around 20m x 5m.

And, up until this year, (it's only the side garden - but, it's the biggest one), it has taken me 2 hours to water every night! Let alone the mowing of those sorry patches...

So, that's just why I am going to cut features...just as you suggest...

...I'm just going to Xeriscape ' the same time!! :)))

20 Jun, 2013


Oooh! Hallo girls! You can tell that I'm quite taken by this! lol! :D

I DO mean business, Bloomer!! I just want the whole blooming lot to look after itself...even if it's just for a wee while...! :))

I really, really think that this can work for me, lawn, no mowing - but, still green!! :))
Off to check out oxeye daisies for the beds! :))

Diane, I did a GoY search of xeriscape - but, it only came up with one entry...from 2008...from the US! If you remember who he was, could you let me know? :)

20 Jun, 2013


Heehee! You're right, J...I have just acquired a few sedums...not for there though! For the filter-bed make-over...another!

My quest is for an easier life...and I think sedums are the answer! They just love it here!

The lavender is tentative,...I find them quite difficult, on the whole...but, the blue/grey thing, if I can find the right plant (and it has to be the right plant - or it wouldn't be xeriscape! lol!) will be just perfect. Like Russian Sage...maybe...! :) x

20 Jun, 2013


What about Thyme Karen? or prostrate Rosemary? I just love the way herbs release their scent in your part of the need to touch can smell them on the evening air.....heaven!

20 Jun, 2013


Yes! I'm thinking thymus grows really well here! :)

Prostrate rosemary...alas, no...lost mine in the winter :(

20 Jun, 2013


....sad....;) Some Thymes do ok here...others not so good.

20 Jun, 2013


They all look a bit shabby in the winter, don't they?

I thought my creeping rosemary was doing fine...then, suddenly...mort! But, it had been -10° for four days - and at the beginning of March...not good :/

20 Jun, 2013


oh flippin heck! HOw did you survive! We didn't have -10 all winter! Are you sure you'd not prefer to move back to Dundee? lol! Shabby in the winter....yes, definitely. Some don't recover for me, but this little one I bought last year has come back whatsits name again?...ah, yes, this is it....Thymus serpyllum 'Highland Cream' (syn. 'Hartington Silver'). Very small, creeping type with near white flowers and tiny variegated foliage. Trouble is though...what would it look like in the winter....not great. How about some sempervivums?

20 Jun, 2013


Its a great idea Karen, what a lot of hard work you're going to have!
Have you thought of golden marjoram? Gold all winter and makes a bigger clump in summer and the bees and hoverflies love it. And how about geranium macrorrhysum?

Diane, were you thinking of Noseypotter? I sent him a pm last week wondering if he was OK but haven't had a reply. Anybody know?

20 Jun, 2013


I don't know about Nosey Stera, sorry, but Golden Marjoram is a cracking suggestion....a great overwintering plant!

20 Jun, 2013


Lol! I'd like to say, "Why would I want to move back to rainy old Scotland?"...but, as it's chucking it down - encore!!! - I'm in no position! lol!

That was the only winter we got, Karen...late, swift and deadly...

Sempervivums are now on the list! :))

20 Jun, 2013


I don't think it's going to be as hard as trying to deal with that grass, Steragram (well, maybe to begin with)'s horrible and I hate it!

I grow ordinary marjoram and it does well, so I'll bear it in mind! :)

It's full, full, full sun on most of that garden, not sure about geraniums.

Except this year, that is... that who it was? I like him...I hope he's okay...

20 Jun, 2013


I love santolinas, J...I tried to get them last year, but, couldn't even order them!

Not sure if they'd cope with our cold wet winters, though...

...what else has that same colour and is completely hardy?
And low! :)

20 Jun, 2013


Sounds like a good plan Karen. It will be interesting to see what you choose. Don't know enough to make suggestions though.

20 Jun, 2013



20 Jun, 2013


Just remembered,.... I asked a question once about a ground hugging plant for part of the garden. Bulbaholic suggested Azorella.
He comments that his is walked on regularly.
If you Google it, there are a few sites that suggest it as a lawn alternative. It does look good!

20 Jun, 2013


May have been Noseypotter - someone upset him and he left for a while, then came back with a new name.
Hywel knows what it is.
There is a moon on his fence. Anyway, he spent a lot of time on his garden, and there is no lawn.Seems to work well.

21 Jun, 2013


Hello everyone and thank you for your suggestions!

I woke up this morning, wondering which plants would be truly in the spirit of xeriscape. (I think I was getting too stuck on the lavender/russian sage idea) They have to be really at home, so that they do what's required...

...and, suddenly, I realised...poppies! They're everywhere! As are hibiscus, clematis, iris (this garden was infested with them), valerian, alchemilla...and sedums...

There are loads of, unintentional sedum roofs around here...

Thyme, rosemary and marjoram are definitely on the list. I wonder if I'll be able to find the golden one...

Doesn't mean that I can't have other things in there, as well, though...azorella, ox-eye daisies and helianthemums would all work...and, maybe, helicrysum would be okay, if it was sheltered by everything else in winter.

OH is home today...and the ground is soft (to say the least!), it might take me a while to acquire all the flora - but, I could get him digging, so that it's ready. :)

21 Jun, 2013


Having just spent a lot of time yesterday doing it, remember that with Dungy's suggestion, the more beds/borders you create, yes, you'll have less grass but the more lawn edging you'll have to do!

21 Jun, 2013


I use plants that are bone hardy these days, and that more or less look after themselves hardy geraniums do well, the smaller ones with pretty foliage, thrift, I have a tub of Santolina that has been there for years, I can't believe it hasn't died with the cold, wet, sunny windy conditions....I chop off the flowers give it a dash of gromore once a year and let it get on with I do with most things now.....

Good luck my dear......keep it simple is my advice. :0)))

21 Jun, 2013


Hi Digginfit...the grand plan is to get rid of the grass altogether, over a year or two, and just have low-growing sedums...I know there'll be more edging, in the meantime - but, I don't mind that so much. The shears are nice and easy to get out, use, and put away again - compared to the cumbersome lawn-mower (OH's, it's a "man's mower"!lol!)

Yes, you're right, Pam. I'm trying to make my life easier, in the long run. Actually, there are quite a few different geraniums which grow wild,, maybe, I could find a good one to scramble though other plants. They'd get a bit of shade then, wouldn't they?

Think I'll take a tour of the grandmeres' gardens and see what else they've got :)))

21 Jun, 2013


Good idea x

21 Jun, 2013


Sounds like a great idea to me Karen, I can imagine a mix of gravel and stepping stone paths a bit like Michaella's. I gave up fighting with my bottom garden and slope a long time ago and only grow things that I know need attention once a year to tidy them up ( apart from some dead heading in between). Gravelling my front garden was one of the best things I've done, sooooo much easier now. I read Beth Chatto's Gravel gardens and it was a real source of inspiration.
How about adding Cistus to your list, there are lots to choose from, evergreen silver leaves and they've come through -10 in my garden with no problem :o))))

21 Jun, 2013


I've just discovered that thalia dealbata was last night's feast, Pam :(
But, happily, I've found a home for the koi. Just waiting for a reasonable day...then, they're off to a pond with no plants and a biological filter...where I know they'll be pampered :) x

Annie, I know exactly what you mean, when you say, "fighting". It's a constant, time to work with Mother Nature, instead of against her, methinks! I've been looking on a website called Houzz. Ah! Houses and Gardens to die for...all by designers - and mostly American...but so inspirational. I found it when I was doing the garden room.

I'll have a wee look at Cistus, then, I'll get OH to dig those holes! Then a proper plan can be made. Might even get a special price for ordering multiples :)))

21 Jun, 2013


Multiples is a good word Karen :o))

21 Jun, 2013


Well done Karen, happy fish and less stress for you.......

21 Jun, 2013


Thank you Diane. I'll PM Hywel.

21 Jun, 2013


I think xeriscaping may be the way for us to go in the Cerdagne ... the garden isn't going to get consistent care so non-invasive plants which are happy to cope with the conditions are on my wish list. It already has lavender, irises, snow-on-the-mountain, a honeysuckle and two or three roses.
I have potted up some primulas and thyme this week, and taken cuttings of hawthorn (possibly the first steps to an attractive and protective hedge), rosemary and sage ... can you see a small herb garden forming? I think golden marjoram may go well with these too.... apparently it keeps goblins away as well! I hope gnomes like it, I have a yen to rehome a gnome in the Cerdagne, lol!

23 Jun, 2013


Try hardwood cuttings later in the year xela, ts supposed to work easily and quite well

You be careful and get a happy gnome... :0)

23 Jun, 2013


Will try both, Pam.
I have one or two hardwood cuttings in pots from last year but they were not taken with the Cerdagne in mind so probably plants that are not suited to the conditions there.

23 Jun, 2013


Im doing that from the first day in my garden.

26 Jun, 2013


the word in greek is ΞΕΡΟ=XERO XERI=DRY

26 Jun, 2013


last time I water this xerorisedbeds was 40days ago.

26 Jun, 2013


Aah! But, you have a head start,'re Greek!

The rest of us are still learning! lol! :)))

I must confess that I don't know the whereabouts of the Cerdagne, Xela...but, the less watering the better - as far as I'm concerned...
...will Gnomes be safe there?! lol! ;)

PS...have started a dry (no pun intended) run...

26 Jun, 2013



27 Jun, 2013

Add a comment

Recent posts by karenfrance

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    31 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    15 Jan, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Jul, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Oct, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Mar, 2008