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Water Worries and Drought Tolerant Plants

Water Worries and Drought Tolerant Plants

A Summer Update from Shipka

This summer has been incredibly hot and dry, and even some of the older and more established trees have looked under strain. With increasing periods of hot and dry weather and pressure on both the mains water supply and our perennial source from the river, designing our gardens to be as resilient as possible seems the best way forward. During this post, we’ll be looking at the challenges we’ve faced this season with our usual water supply and take a look at some useful drought tolerant plants that have faired well in dry and hot conditions.

Our project is located in the town of Shipka on the foothills of the Balkan mountains in central Bulgaria. As such our gardens have a gradient that means we can benefit from a gravity-fed perennial water source, a local mountain stream.  The stream water can be diverted into purpose-built cement channels that run down the sides of many of the streets and under roads, making this water accessible for many households. It can also be diverted into the fields. It’s an incredible system although somewhat neglected. All of our gardens were designed to take advantage of this resource.  In the image below you can see the main path of the stream through the mountain, and then the diversion created. The highlighted plot here is one of our gardens, Phronesis. There is approximately a 3m drop from the north to the south of the plot and the slope is more or less even from east to west.
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The mountain stream can be diverted into the site from the north
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Olduvai IV: Courage
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