An on-going project which involves copious experimentation as we determine what plants are able to survive the very dry summer conditions, particularly in view of the competing 40 metre long cyprus hedge. The hedge is 3.6 metres high and 3.4 metres thick, and is listed on the local Heritage Register.
In later 2013, I finally spent the money and purchased a mobile scaffold with a platform height of 3 metres. My ageing body was no longer safe on top of the ladder for hours on end!
We've lost a good many of our selections in the heat waves of the past couple of years. The summer of 2013 was notable with it's maximum temperature on this property of 47.3C. We were forced to shade some of the younger plants with white polystyrene boxes, and spot drip watering with 3L plastic milk bottles. Unfortunately many still did not survive.
Our research indicated that the humble pomegranate was an ideal candidate for small trees. The leaves always look fresh and green, and the brilliant red fruit add colour all through the warmer months. We also planted double bi-colour and white specimens along the front of the house. Next to the hedge, in the most moisture challenged beds, we have also used a couple of miniature versions of the red single.
Selected salvias are widely used, but we've found that we have to distance them from the hedge, and only the tougher varieties seem to survive without watering assistance.
Various succulents have been used, being particularly useful as a foliar colour and form contrast to the herb like perennials.
More recently , many bulbs - daffodils, species tulips, monet tulips, crocuses, sturnbergias and irises etc have been included to produce a bit of colour in the cooler months.
Our search (with a lot of trial and error) continues.