The Dry Garden is one of the crowning achievements of RHS Garden Hyde Hall. It was created in 2001 and aims to show visitors how they can work with the environment and use drought-tolerant plants that won't need to be watered constantly during a long, dry summer. It is home to more than 400 different species of plant.

Garden design

The garden has been built on a south-facing slope covering 1,600 sq m (0.4 acres), using gabbro boulders and subsoil mounded over rubble. The topsoil was mixed with grit and sand to offer a free-draining environment for the plants.

On summer days, with the rolling hills inthe backdrop, the garden looks rather like a Mediterranean outcrop, and it's easy to forget that you are in the heart of Essex.

In spring, the garden shines with luminous golden Euphorbia, while in summer it turns purple as Verbena bonariensis attracts hosts of butterflies and Echium pininana towers high above the garden.

Hyde Hall's Dry GardenDid you know?

When work began on the Dry Garden in 2000, so did the rain! And it seemed to the team at RHS Garden Hyde Hall that it didn't stop until the last plant had been put in place. But since then the garden has thrived through a number of very hot summers, and though the soil has been parched, the plants have continued to do well.

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I enjoy a refreshing walk… my membership gives me free family days out as often as I like.

Mrs Giddings, RHS member

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We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.