Xerophytes are plants that are xerophilous, which means they have special features that enable them to survive in very dry environments. One of my favorite xerophytes is the Bristlecone Pine, which I wrote about some years ago, calling them Gnarly Patriarchs.
Some of the plants in my home landscape are considered to be xerophilous, though to maintain a xeriscape such as I have it is not necessary to have nothing but xerophytes. A xeriscape, in addition to featuring drought-tolerant plants, uses deep mulches and other means of conserving water besides those that are built into the plants themselves.
In a patch by my driveway, enclosed on all sides by concrete, Mexican Evening Primrose blooms and thrives all summer with a little water once a month or so. It thrives so well that such an enclosed space as it lives in here is usually the best spot for this plant, unless you are okay with it taking over the whole garden.
The picture at right is of warrigal or New Zealand Spinach, an edible green, growing alongside a yellow mystery flower [since discovered to be toadflax], both of which I consider quite xerophilous, as they lived in my back yard for months last summer with no water, and never so much as wilted.
That root xeros comes from the Greek, for dry. My current project is to incorporate more of these unthirsty friends into a plan for my front yard, and I hope to have them planted by the fall.
Yesterday the sun never did come out. They say our summer is 4° cooler than average, but it seems worse than that, especially when the morning fog continues all day. It’s making me slow and dull this morning.
I was busy in the kitchen yesterday, so it didn’t bother me too much. The lack of bright light made it possible to take flower pictures, so I did catch my new hyssop plant that has reached 4 feet! I bought the hyssop back in April, in a 2″ pot as I recall, but I can’t find a picture of it as a baby for comparison. It did grow fast.
Next to the hyssop is an echinacea flower from which someone took a big bite off one side. My garden is so untidy it’s hard to get a good picture of anything without there being a random brick or weed or untrimmed dead flower protruding on the nice thing I’m trying to feature. But I cropped most of the ugliness out of the picture at left.
The New Zealand Spinach I was so pleased to find at the plant sale has done beautifully. This is what it looked like back then:
Earlier this month I made some Creamy Green Soup using the first pickings, shown in this bowl, which you can’t really tell is 16″ in diameter. Creamy Green Soup is a recipe I got from Laurel’s Kitchen long ago. It is infinitely variable, depending on your whim and what greens you have around. This last time mine had split peas, this spinach, onion and garlic and basil in it….maybe some other things, certainly butter. It’s nice to add a little cream or cheese, too.
The nasturtiums I planted all over the back yard are doing famously. I remembered at least once to put three colors of their petals in a salad. Now I really must go upstairs and do some ironing. Maybe it will help warm me up on this wintry summer day.