YOUR GARDEN: Salt of the earth; URBAN JUNGLE SURVIVORS.
PLANTS in front gardens can take a real battering at this time of year, especially when salt from the roads is washed into the soil and sprayed on them.
But salt-tolerant plants is the way to deal with leaf scorch and die back ...not concrete!
These tough plants will put up with all that a busy road can throw at them and will offer some protection to the more vulnerable plants in the rest of your garden.
Impossible to kill plants include Escallonia macrantha, Griselinia littoralis, hebe, Hippophae rhamnoides, tree lupins and olearia - ones that are usually labelled as seaside plants in the garden centre.
They will only thrive in well- drained soil though, so before planting fork in plenty of grit if your ground is heavy.
Planting through gravel mulch will also provide the roots with additional protection from salt spray.
Plants to avoid are conifers and especially junipers, which also succumb to the effects of traffic pollution. Laurel hedges should also be avoided.
However, a hedge is a good idea as it can form the first line of defence in a front garden.
It's no surprise to find that the good old common privet, which has obviously stood the test of time, is one of the toughest roadside plants. Trees that withstand salty breezes include mountain ash, whitebeams and holly.
When planting trees in the front garden it is essential that you are considerate especially if you plant near the boundary, as you may restrict your neighbour's light. Avoid willows and poplars unless you have a really large garden, as these are plants with roots that vigorously seek water and have been known to raid drains during drought weather for an instant supply.
Dust is always a major problem in a built-up area, so to prevent your garden from choking to death choose plants that have few leaves such as cytisus and tamarix and those that are deciduous or have a short growing season such as herbaceous perennials.
Spiky-leaved plants such as phormiums and grasses are also good as the rain can easily wash the leaves clean.
Whatever plants you choose, plan a functional front garden.
If it's to provide off-road parking make the drive wide enough to allow people to get out of the car without standing on plants.
Allow visitors easy access and plan to avoid short cuts being taken through flowerbeds.
Keep weeding to the minimum by planting through a weed membrane such as Plantex and top dress with gravel, which is a noisy surface that also warns you of intruders.
Install lighting for additional security and you'll have peace of mind that your garden will survive the urban jungle.
TOUGH: Tree lupins
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 8, 2002|
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