Here in the Northeast, we experienced one of the hottest summers on record. In Connecticut (where we make this wonderful podcast), we broke a 38-year record for most consecutive days over 90°F. Add to these steamy temps a record low rainfall, and this summer turned out to be pretty miserable—and not just for Steve, who always likes to have something to complain about, but for our plants. Therefore, we thought it was a good time to take stock and see which plants of ours simply made it through. Our selections include species we never expected to be drought-tolerant and cultivars that seemed to fair better than others. Given the topic, we had to reach out to David Salman, a renowned horticulturist from New Mexico, to see what plants made it through a decade old high-intensity drought (after a year’s respite in 2019) in his backyard. Surprisingly, he says, quite a few.
Expert testimony: David Salman, chief horticulturist for High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
‘Boogie Woogie’ variegated sedum (Sedum ‘Boogie Woogie’, Zones 3–9)
‘Opalescence’ garden phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘Opalescence’, Zones 3–8)
‘Apple Court’ painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum ‘Apple Court’, Zones 5–8)
‘Visions’ Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions’, Zones 4–8)
Lotus Moon™ pearl bush (Exochorda x macrantha ‘Bailmoon’, Zones 3–7)
Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris, Zones 4–8)
Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum, Zones 6–10)
‘Gro-low’ sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-low’, Zones 4–9)
EXPERT TESTIMONY PLANTS
Prairie zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora, Zones 4–9)
Woodland beargrass (Nolina greenei, Zones 5–9)
Dwarf silver-leaf sage (Salvia daghestanica, Zones 5–8)
Pink cotton lamb’s ear (Stachys lavandulifolia, Zones 5–8)
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