John Lawrus had a vision: a three dimentional, drought tolerant plants and cactus garden from all around the world. It is perfectly suited to the climate of the Cayman Islands.
The new Xerophytic Garden will be a model for gardeners in the Cayman Islands who want to grow cactus or other low-maintenance plants that require little water.
“Xerophytic refers to plants that are well suited to dry (xeric) conditions, such as cactus and certain succulents,” explains John Lawrus, the botanic park’s general manager. “This display garden will show both native, regional (Greater Antillean) and exotic plants that are tolerant of dry conditions.”
“Using plants or ground covers as a substitute for lawns, incorporating the use of organic and inorganic mulches and the selection of drought tolerant plants which will be displayed in our garden, will provide a lower-cost garden alternative that limits the amount of water usage and the high costs that can be associated with it, as well as reduced maintenance,” he says.
Xerophytic plants may have adapted shapes and forms or internal functions that reduce their water loss or store water during long periods of drought.
The benefits of a xerophytic garden include the following:
- Lower consumption of water.
- Less time and work needed for maintenance effort, with gardening simpler and less stressful.
- Xerophytic plants, in appropriate planting design and soil grading and mulching, take full advantage of rainfall retention.
- When water restrictions are implemented, xerophytic plants will tend to survive and thrive, while more ornamental plants may be unable to adapt.
Xeriscaping means using local plants and drought tolerant plants that can grow and sustain themselves with low water requirements and tolerate heat and drought conditions. This does not mean only cacti and thorny succulents found in arid environments, but to any plant that can survive in this kind of environment such as ornamental grasses and flowering perennials. You can have a xeriscape without sacrificing color, texture or structure – the normal elements of any landscape. Salt Tolerant plants can be xeriphytic but they can also sustain an added tolerance to salt.