The best way to conserve water and keep your garden looking good at the same time is to cover bare soil with groundcovers. They act like a living mulch keeping the soil cool and minimising evaporation. Here are three indigenous examples that’ll add colour as well. And best of all they’ll grow from slips so if you spot them in a friend’s garden, ask for a couple of cuttings
1. Aptenia cordifolia (brakvygie) spreads to 15cm and has lush fleshy leaves and brilliant cherry red flowers. Frost tolerant and water wise, it grows in sun and semi-shade.
2. Stachys aethiopica (katbossie) is frost tolerant and tough and has spikes of white or mauve flowers. Spreading to 30cm, it’ll grow in shade under trees, but with watering; it will take some sun. Trim and feed it after flowering.
3. Cineraria saxifraga (wild cineraria) is half hardy, likes semi-shade and bears single yellow flowers throughout the year; the blooms show up well against the bright green leaves.