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Dry weather gardening

Everyone loves summer, bringing long sunny days to spend in the garden. But too many long sunny days can lead to drought, water restrictions, and unhappy gardens. NZPPI gives some practical pointers and some insight into what it’s doing to tackle this issue

This year, many landscapers, gardeners, and nurseries had to deal with consequences of drought, both directly with dry conditions, and indirectly with imposed water restrictions.

It’s not a temporary situation either. Weather and climate are changing across the country, and gardens – and garden designers – have no choice but to adapt to new conditions. This means developing drought-resilient gardens, choosing the right plants, and, just as importantly, making the most of available water, shade, and shelter.

There are many advantages to being able to provide your clients with drought-resilient gardens and plants.

For example:

  • A drought-resilient garden demonstrates their commitment to living with a reduced environmental footprint.

  • They are easy to maintain.

  • They are also cheaper to maintain, especially in areas with water charges.

  • A drought-resilient garden is future-proofed against droughts, climate change, and watering restrictions.

  • And last but not least, a drought-resistant garden is bang on trend right now!

Drought-resilient doesn’t have to mean a big bunch of prickly plants in a fake desert. Good water management can apply to all garden styles including traditional and formal, and many species with relatively low water needs are attractive in their own right. Water-saving techniques include retaining water in the soil with mulch and water crystals; maximising shade and shelter; storing rainwater; and using greywater and run-off.

Ask the Experts

So where can you go to find the plants and inspiration to build an environment that will last? The first port of call should be an NZ Plant Producers nursery (we would say that, wouldn’t we?!), with expertise in what will grow well in a given location, and a supply of reliable, hardy, and healthy plants.

NZ Plant Producers has formed a Water Working Group, triggered by Auckland’s water restrictions. Our Working Group brings plant nurseries and retailers together and has met with Watercare to raise water supply issues common to the plant industry.

We are strongly aware that many businesses, both urban and rural, depend on the plants we produce, and any problems in supply only multiply up the supply chain. So we understand that adequate and predictable water supplies to nurseries and garden centres result in a reliable

supply of plants to landscapers and gardeners.

We are now developing a Code of Practice for nurseries and retailers, identifying ways to use water efficiently and avoid wastage. In return, Watercare is now working with us to see that best-practice businesses get access to survival water during droughts and restrictions.

The Code of Practice is aimed at nurseries and retailers. If you run your own nursery, it is designed for you. Other plant-related businesses will also get practical information on industry best-practice. The Code will be released to NZ Plant Producer members soon.

NZ Plant Producers water allocation work benefits the landscaping industry and is funded by our member businesses. To support our work, you can join as an industry partner member.

For more information go to

NZ Plant Producers biosecurity work benefits the landscaping industry and is funded entirely by our member businesses. To support our work, you can join as an Industry Partner.


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