July 12, 2009

Staying Alive: Agastache During A Drought

Where's the rain now? After too much rain early in the season, we've now gone weeks without any significant rainfall. Digging in the soil, it is totally dry. Water doesn't soak into the ground in such baking heat in the full sun gardens.

This dry weather is another reminder that planting drought-tolerant plants is the wisest. Agastache is my favorite perennial for these tough, summer conditions. Another bonus is the fact that it is deer and rabbit resistant.

I've added several new varieties this year. My favorite for color is the new 'Summer Sky' PPAF that has blue-purple spikes on dark foliage. The blue comes through better in person than in a photo where it is surrounded by raspberry pink flowers.

The form of 'Summer Sky' is a beautiful, low grower of 20 inches that looks great in a companion planting with agastache of different heights and flower shapes. I like it with the additional companions of echinops 'Ritro' and the annual cleome 'Spirit Violetta'.

I have found only two of these plants at local nurseries. Both are at the top of the deer resistant garden in full sun for ten hours a day. This agastache is rated for the warmer zones of 8-10, but if 'Summer Sky' overwinters well here in zone 7, I'll do my best to add more of this agastache to the top border.

Photos and words by Freda Cameron; Location: home garden; July 2009
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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