Steele: Great time for garden changes

Fall planting gives plants a head start to grow a better root system before next summer’s drought.

What a relief to have clear skies, a good rainfall and cooler temperatures. September air feels gentle and refreshingly moist.

Colours in my garden are now vibrant. My favourite season has begun.

My energy and enthusiasm have returned ready to change my garden to prepare for next summer’s drought.

After observing your plants, gardens, and water bills this summer, many of you may also want to make changes.

Fall is an excellent time to do this when your memory is fresh.

Fall planting gives plants a head start to grow a better root system (than spring planting) before next summer’s drought.

Suggestions for water-wise gardening information:

1) For tips for successful fall planting, making some changes, and to see what’s in bloom, I invite you to join me next Wednesday, Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. I’ll give a free class in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, 4075 Gordon Dr. in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre.

Be sure to get a garden brochure with the plant list for all five theme gardens.

2) This fall there are two sessions of my two night Introduction to Xeriscape class: Wednesday, Sept. 16 and  23, or Thursday, Oct. 1and 8. See details and registration information at okanaganxeriscape.org.

It’s a great way to find out how to plan and make changes to an existing garden or to create a new water-wise landscape.

People new to the valley or to gardening find it especially useful to find appropriate plants and methods to garden successfully in the Okanagan.

Using power point, I show an extensive collection of landscape examples and plants to illustrate the principles of planning and design, soil preparation, practical turf areas, efficient irrigation, appropriate plant selection, mulching, and timely maintenance.

Additionally there’s a comprehensive handout to take home.

I’ve been promoting the xeriscape principles for more than 20 years as I feel they are the easiest, most cost effective guide to creating a successful garden.

By request, I’ve adapted this class into a one day workshop and presented it in Merritt, Williams Lake, and Canoe Creek. This spring I went to Prince George and this fall will go to Kamloops and Nanaimo.

The drought conditions in much of B.C have increased interest in water-wise gardening practices.

3) For an excellent xeriscape reference, I recommend Creating the Prairie Xeriscape, by Sara Williams, available from the Okanagan Xeriscape Association for $35.

I’ve been studying xeriscape literature since 1992. This is the best book I’ve ever found and perfect for the Okanagan.

William’s convincingly illustrates that xeriscaping a space does not require the use of gravel, rocks and landscape fabric.

Photos and landscape plans show how colourful and varied a xeriscape can be. She makes it easy to get started and learn by doing.

Williams promotes xeriscaping for many applications such as condominiums, urban yards, farms, acreages, and public spaces such as parks, parking lots, schools and libraries.

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