The Q&A Archives: Driveway Gardening

Question: What plants will survive and thrive with the heat/dryness of being next to my asphalt driveway? (Yes, I'll water, but don't want to be out there every other day with my hose!) It's a Western exposure. I'm allowed a 2 foot strip. I want color, and was leaning toward verbena, but understand it's not considered a perennial in the (just north of) Chicago area.

Answer: The best way to ensure that plants can handle heat is to make sure the soil is well prepared with ample organic matter -- this will help it hold moisture longer. You should also be sure to mulch your plants with several inches of organic mulch to help keep the soil cool and retain moisture. Finally, the most effective way to water is to water deeply but less often rather than a daily sprinkling. Having said that, some perennial plants to consider are: crocus, creeping thyme, dianthus, gaillardia, achillea, coreopsis, purple coneflower, daylily, sedum and iris.

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