Plant Combinations: Australian Inspiration

drought tolerant plant combinations

We’re having a heat wave here in Portland, OR, and all over the Northwest in fact.  We’re breaking records for both temperature and number of days, and my husband and I are very grateful that we caved and purchased a window air conditioner last year so we have a room to retreat to when the house starts to feel like the inside of a hair dryer.

Most of my time in our garden recently has been with the hose, making the rounds & paying special attention to the new plants added this year.

I’m grateful that much of our garden was strategically planted with drought-tolerant plants, but as a gardener I’m always adding and editing, meaning there are always a handful of things that need special attention because their root systems aren’t well established.  One day I’d love to have a drip system, but for now I look forward to my time with the hose this time of year — it allows me to think and daydream.

And one of the things I love to daydream about are plant combinations.  In my mind I’m always thinking of my own garden and the gardens I design with an eye towards what plant combinations will not only be beautiful, but also relatively low-maintenance and drought tolerant.  The list is endless, and lately I’ve been looking to Australia for inspiration.

With many years under their belts of dealing with heat and drought, Australian gardeners and their gardens are a wonderful resource for what we might do here stateside.  In particular, I’ve been drawing inspiration from Jim Fogarty, an award-winning landscape designer.  He has a deft hand with garden structures and hardscape surrounded by interesting, elegant plantings.  He has the ability to create gardens that at once feel both abundant and restrained, and I greatly admire that.

With Jim’s beautiful work in mind, here are a few combinations I’ve been dreaming about lately…

Drought Tolerant Beautiful Plant Combination

Clockwise From Top-Left: Artemisia ‘Silver King’, Callistemon Pityoides, Bronze Libertia, Stipa Tenuissima & Chocolate Cosmos

Drought Tolerant Beautiful Plant Combination

Clockwise From Top-Left: Euphorbia Wulfenii, Trachycarpus Fortunei, Berginia Cordifolia, Clipped Boxwood Balls & Orange Sedge.

Drought Tolerant Beautiful Plant Combination

Clockwise From Top-Left: Grevillea Juniperia, Clipped Orb of Chamaecyparis Pisifera, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Agave Perryi & Melianthus Major.

If you’re also interested in keeping track of plant combinations, lists and different ideas to use in your garden there’s a great new App coming out soon called eGardenGo — they describe it as: “A web app with DIY garden recipes for every skill level and personalized tools to organize your notes, photos and plant preferences. You can even create your own recipes. It’s a garden designer…in your pocket.”

Kate McMillan

Author Kate McMillan

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