Dry shade shrubs in drought

Plants die. Get over it.

Just because you grew the plant from a teensy cutting and it has grown into a mighty and lovely mediterranean shrub, doesn’t mean it will live forever.

That is the sum total of my research.  Santolinas are not long-lived perennials. Cut back hard. If they don’t revive. Replace.

So this is a short blog post!

Let me distract you from dying plants in full sunshine and walk further up the path to see some success stories.


The shade garden. Which isn’t. Well, part of it is in deep, deep dry shade. And the same plants make do in blazing sunshine.  None of these shrubs are watered now and I’m thrilled how well they are coping.

It’s my little lush oasis in among the brown bits.

The hemerocallis aren’t happy but will come back next year. But all the prunus and privet are coping nicely. And as are the iris foetidissima. Euphorbias unblemished, all is well. Some of the euphorbia robbiae are  bit sunburnt, but not dying like the santolinas.

Well, the santolinas here – Primrose Gem – are mostly alive but unshapely and in need of a good prune. I must add it to my list.

And most amazing of all; I have a box ball that is unaffected by the dread caterpillar moth plague.


I ought to erect a sign and sell tickets.  ‘Come children;  come see what a box ball used to look like before they were all ravaged by the 2017 plague.’


I have even made time to peel back the honesty (lunaria) seedheads. They positively glow in the gloom.


So all is not a disaster.  It just feels that way.  I shall spend my time productively by sharpening my secateurs and get hacking.

And the ballota? Cut back in autumn to reshape. Marvellous!