Local lifestyle columnists

How to have an attractive yard during drought times

By From page C4 | April 06, 2014

We are all aware that we are in a drought situation this year,  yet we still want our yards to be attractive.

Here are a few plant suggestions to help in accomplishing that objective. All will take sun and moderate to little watering, once established.


With so many varieties to choose from, it can be hard to pick one. They come in almost every color you might want. Most have long spikes of flowers that bloom from spring into fall. If you want to attract bees and butterflies to your yard, this is the plant to pick. Hummingbirds especially like the color red and the tubular flowers on Salvia (aka Sage).

Veronica Scrophulariaceae

For sunny gardens, this plant also comes in a variety of colors: White, pink, rose, light to dark blue. Because of the range of sizes – from 1 inch to 2 feet depending on the variety – they can be used in many situations. Some have tubular flowers, others have clusters of loose blossoms. There are even prostrate varieties you can use between stepping stones.

Here are two varieties of this plant that take little to moderate water:

  • V. pectinata is a prostrate variety that grows 3 inches high with blue flowers.
  • V.incana grows to 1 feet high and also has deep blue blossoms.


Daisy-shaped flowers that bloom from late spring into late summer make this welcome plant to any garden. If you deadhead this plant, it will bloom longer. Yellow, maroon, orange and white are colors you can find for coreopsis.

C. grandeflora grows 1 to 2 feet high. “Flying saucer’” has single yellow flowers that bloom over a long period. “Sunburst” has semi-double flowers. You might see this tough variety along some roads for beautification.


“English lavender” blooms in early spring. But there are other varieties of lavender that bloom from spring through late summer. All lavender attracts bees and butterflies as well as putting off a pleasant aroma of lavender in the garden.

Try “Irene Doyle” and “Goodwin Creek Grey.” Don’t let the name lavender fool you into thinking that is the only color it comes in, you can find white as well. Two white ones you might like are “Edelweiss” and “Melissa.”

When planting any of these plants, they will all take full sun. As with new plants some water will be required to get them started, but don’t overwater them. Check the soil before watering to see if it’s dry.

If these are not to your liking, think about succulents, they are a very drought-tolerant plants. There are many different ones to pick from and some of them bloom. They make great container plants grouped together.

There are also ornamental grasses that add color and texture to a garden. When picking ornamental grass, make sure that the one you pick is not invasive.

We can all still have an inviting yard during this drought period. If you are not sure what plants are drought tolerant ask your nursery person for help in choosing the right one for our area and your garden.

Betty Victor is a Master Gardener with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fairfield. If you have gardening questions, call the Master Gardener’s office at 784-1322.

Betty Victor


Discussion | 4 comments

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  • Rich GiddensApril 06, 2014 - 8:14 am

    Your typical citizen is not interested in making homes or gardens look attractive. They are interested in creating unattractive dried up weedy lawns, breeding pit bulls and dismantling junk cars and spreading the hazardous wastes all over the front yards. And that's a good reason not to buy a home here and to leave!

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  • GemmaApril 06, 2014 - 3:53 pm

    The people who have been buying on my street are interested in keeping their yards up.The two across from me started planting as soon as they moved in, and one of the yards, on the corner, is very pretty.There aren't any dismantled vehicles or pit bulls either.I can think of one house on my street that has an ugly house and yard, out of approx 20-25 houses.The rentals next to me looks better now that it's a rental, than it did when the previous owners lived there. Try to stay positive Rich. Things can get better.

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  • mescApril 06, 2014 - 9:15 am

    Wish there were photographs with this article. If not in the print paper, then here online. (searching now to look at the plants) I always enjoy the articles from a Master Gardener. These are so enjoyable. Places to go, Plants to see. Ideas for my yard. Thank You.

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  • Terrill T. CrookshankApril 06, 2014 - 3:31 pm

    My Auntie Betty taught me when I was a child that Jesus gave me pink feet...... And that not all women come with pink feet. Me being her nephew!;pink feet? Terrill T.C a.k.a Relic

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