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Suggestions for front block paved drive

My octogenarian mum is still a keen and very competent gardener (digging to plant potatoes etc) but is struggling with her front garden. It consists of an empty block-paved area approx 4m x 3m with a narrow but well-planted, low-maintenance border along one edge. It’s in full sun most of the day with no nearby trees for shade. Now she no longer has a car I suggested some large, long pots along the front of the house would be pretty, but without a tap at the front to assist watering, my mum is reluctant.
Any suggestions for plants, pots, watering solutions or any other flashes of inspiration to solve this problem, or should I drop the subject and be grateful she is still enjoying the back garden?


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,942
    Hi Bluejay - it's always tricky in that kind of situation, but you could use something like sempervivums in tall pots. They'll survive on nothing and would need virtually zero attention. I appreciate that they're not everyone's cup of tea though. Some alpines and plants like Cerastium and Aubretia will do quite well with minimal watering too, once established, but they will need it occasionally. 
    The other alternative to save her watering, would be to install one of those little irrigation systems with a timer, which would mean she could have some perennials or annuals of her choice. I'm not sure if that's feasible without a nearby tap, unless you could install one - they aren't terribly expensive.
    I'm sure someone here will have experience of using irrigation for all sorts of planting. We have no need of it here!  :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Could you lift a block here and there and put in the sort of drought hardy plants fairy girl suggests, or lift blocks in one place to make a border?  That way they'd need less watering than they would in pots.  Or simply scatter seeds of centranthus ruber and Erigeron which will flourish in the tightest crevices.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,909
    Fairygirl said:
    Hi Bluejay - it's always tricky in that kind of situation, but you could use something like sempervivums in tall pots.
    I've got sempervivum in terracotta strawberry planters with Erigeron karvinskianus in the top. Looks nice.

    Otherwise it would be a great spot for herbs and lavender which would need fairly minimal attention.

    Maybe you could install a waterbutt out there for her. You can get ones with built in planters that are self watering.

    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,964
    Buddleja do amazing for me, in a dry rocky area of my Utah garden. If you could lift a square or two, they would be quite happy without water once established. You could come around in late winter and hack it back to a few inches tall.. fairly zero maintained otherwise.
    Utah, USA.
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