In the summer, plants often suffer as a result of rising temperatures. Like us, they need adequate hydration. However, mediterranean plants usually cope well with little water – cistus / hebe and ornamental grasses. Miscanthus, some festcues and bamboo are resistant to these conditions. Those with fleshy leaves – succulents and alpines.
In fact, these plants tend to be deeply rooted so they source their own moisture and can often survive in poor soil as well.
Rosmarinus officianlis (Rosemary) is a herb but effectively used as a shrub. It does like full sun and generally problem free. A light prune after the frost is advisable. The plant will look killed off but underneath there will be hidden growth. If it’s pruned too soon, it will affect its regeneration. It offers aromatic leaves and flowers at varying times based on your climate.
Stonecrop (Sedum) is a very good choice in free draining soil. It does like full sun and is self sufficient and low maintenance. The plant can cope with partial shade but not full. The only maintenance to be done is to remove dead growth in spring. Periodically, dividing the stonecrop will increase numbers and help with the vigour of the plant. It doesn’t cope well in wet soil though and susceptible to root rot. It is gaining in popularity as cover used on roofs encouraging biodiversity.
Lamb ears (Stachys byzantina) offer attractive silver leaves that are velvety to the touch. It does flower, but its textural qualities are more what it’s known for. A ground cover or mixed border plant, it does like full sun. It is, however, particular about moisture. It will not cope with over watering and well drained soil is needed.
Cistus (Rock rose) – this evergreen requires little maintenance save a light prune after flowering. The plant prefers well drained soil and often found in rockeries because of its resilience to poor conditions. Full sun is preferred and will provide with you with flowers all through summer. An interesting fact – the flowers only last one day but colour in such profusion, you don’t notice they’re shortlived.
Hebes are generally hardy evergreens. H. ‘summer blue’. The only maintenance is retain its shape and remove the flowers. The flowering time usually is summer through to autumn. If you have a less hardy variety. H. Tricolour, a variegated one, you need to take out any dead, diseased or damaged wood as spring appraoches. It may flower until December. H. ‘Simon Delaux’ also flowers late into winter.
Ceanothus (Californian lilac) known for its drought tolerance and provides an abundance of colour from spring to summer. C. ‘Marie Bleu’ flowers later. The plant prefers a drier soil. A full sun aspect too. It is an evergreen, the only maintenance is to remove dead, damaged or damaged growth. Other than this, no major pruning is necessary. It’s self reliant and prefers no fuss. The leaves are attractive, the flowers and the fragrance too. Normally the flowers are indigo blue, although certain varieties like ‘Marie Simon’ are pink.