yarrow Achillea 'Moonshine'

This lemon-yellow yarrow (Achillea ‘Moonshine’) is a show-stopper. It attracts bees and butterflies. Photo: Blooming Nursery, Great Plant Picks.

It’s been hot in the Seattle area–already. Will we have another extremely hot and dry summer like last year? Last year was outside the norm, but climate change is likely to mean more heat and less water in the summer. How much will you want to water your yard over time?

Are some of your plants really thirsty? It may be time to replace them with plants that are more tolerant of drought.

Frequent watering is time-consuming and expensive. It uses water that we may need for other things, like:

  • To sip a tall cool drink on a hot day
  • To keep water in streams to help our native salmon, in danger of extinction
  • For farmers and gardeners to grow our food
  • For swimmers, boaters and fishermen
  • And all of the above
Barberry, Berberis x ottawensis 'Royal Cloak'

This stunning barberry (Berberis x ottawensis ‘Royal Cloak’) has luscious burgundy foliage, along with bright yellow flowers in early spring. Very easy to grow and tough! Photo: Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks.

dwarf Hinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana'

This is one of the best dwarf Hinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’. Very slow-growing, its dark green branchlets twist tightly and flatten into small overlapping fans. It will likely not grow more than 2 feet tall. Photo: Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks.

Fortunately, some trusted sources have created lists of plants that do well in our climate of wet winters and dry summers. Here are three that we like. You can find more online.

Don’t forget–these plants are drought-tolerant once established. Every newly planted plant will need regular watering for the first two or three growing seasons. A thick layer of mulch will help to hold in the water, keeping the soil moist longer.

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