Posted: 31/05/2016 at 09:57
Aym - go and visit Beth Chatto's garden. It's in Essex and she gets very little rainfall and has done that experimental dry garden which is just fabulous. Even OH got excited when we visited last week. There's one at RHS Hyde Hall too but it's at the top of a mini hill and contains large rocks and is somehow less cohesive than Beth's.
We visited Hyde Hall last Thursday -
and Beth Chatto's on Friday -
She did lots of soil preparation first and then watered the plants in after planting and now they have to cope with whatever rain they do or don't get. She also has a damper garden with a natural spring feeding her "canal" garden which is a series of long ponds. She has a plant nursery with perennials sorted by dry or damp and priced form £4.60 a plant. I just bought 6 individual plants I haven't seen here and plan to grow them on in pots and then divide and plant out when they're big enough.
I would be very wary of buying plants at sell-off time at Chelsea. They've been forced on or held back for the show and then kept in pots for the duration and then have to survive a journey home and new conditions. Stressy and no guarantee of surviving in your garden.
I did buy seeds at Chelsea - clematis koreana, fancy primulas and so on - and some new lily bulbs - £5 for a bag of 3, all perfumed.