Please help me with some recommendations for drought tolerant flowering shrubs for my front yard. I want something that has a pretty full canopy that extends to the ground. The point of that is to block sunlight and would eventually kill the grass beneath it. They would be placed around/near the downspout so when it rained they would be able to suck up water. I am trying to replace grass with something that is drought tolerant because they would create a more beneficial environment for other perennials despite the heat of summer because they would create their own microenvironment.
The space is roughly 6 feet wide and 18 feet long. There is a Bell box right on the property line so probably the space would be around 10 feet long.
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners for suggestions regarding drought-tolerant flowering shrubs. Particularly in a xeric garden, the quality of the soil is important so that it will retain as much moisture as possible, therefore, improving poor soil is a must. Add at least 20cm of good organic matter or triple mix to the planting area. Using a 20 cm layer of wood mulch (not bark) on top of the soil will help retain moisture, decrease weed growth and over time will break down and add to the nutrients in the soil.
In addition to the flowering shrubs listed in the following two articles, rugosa roses offer not only beautifully full plants of fragrant colourful roses but they extend the season with large bright rose hips and colourful fall foliage.
When planting each of your new shrubs after removing from the container, be sure to tease out the roots with your fingers so they can extend into the surrounding soil the edges of which have been broken up to entice the roots to enter. Backfill the hole with the native soil and water well. Let the water drain away and water again. Some organic mulch over the top will help retain the moisture.
We hope that these suggestions inspire you and that you enjoy creating your own xeric garden full of colour and fragrance. Do note that newly planted shrubs will need watering until they are established in your garden bed.
We wish you well on your new gardening adventure.