Steele: Learn to be more water-wise, in Kelowna

A few easy maintenance tips will give you optimum performance from your water-wise plants.

Sedums and sempervivums (hens and chicks)

GwenAre you thinking of making changes so your landscape will be more water-wise?

Then I invite you to join me for a free talk about xeriscape/water-wise gardening Thursday, July 7, 7 p.m., at the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, 4075 Gordon Dr. in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre.

To illustrate the Seven Principles of Xeriscape (an easy guide to gardening successfully with our climate), I’ll give a short explanation of the making of the gardens which are now in their seventh season.

I’ll discuss the plants that are in bloom and their special features.

Our volunteers have just done the mid-season maintenance, so I’ll give a few easy maintenance tips on how to get optimum performance from some of the eighty plant varieties in the garden.

There will also be time to answer questions.

There are five theme gardens to help gardeners select water-wise groupings of plants.

The Rock Gardens and Native Garden contain extremely drought tolerant plants, watered in the first year only.

The Mediterranean Garden thrives with a small amount of supplemental water during prolonged dry summers.

The Butterfly Garden and the Ornamental Grass Garden are irrigated weekly during hot, dry weather.

Plants were chosen for long season of bloom or exceptional foliage, creating extremely colourful gardens that are always changing throughout the Okanagan growing season.

For photos and details of these plants check the plant database at  okanaganxeriscape.org.

It has 23 search categories and more than 350 water-wise plants suited to the Okanagan.

Now is a very good time to assess your landscape.

Make a note of the plants that do well in the hot and dry conditions and ones that do poorly that you may want to replace.

If you are interested in learning more, I will be teaching a two night class Introduction to Xeriscape Gardening in the fall.

For details see the classes page at okanaganxeriscape.org.

You can email info@okanaganxeriscape.org to ask to be notified when the class dates have been posted on the website.

We will have copies of my favourite xeriscape reference Creating the Prairie Xeriscape, by Sara Williams for sale at the talk as well as photo cards of plants in the garden.

Both are fundraisers for the Okanagan Xeriscape Association.

2016 OXA memberships will be available. OXA members receive a 10 per cent discount from seven Okanagan nurseries, a free visit to the Lavender Farm’s extensive display garden, a 10 per cent discount off OXA classes and free admission to OXA pruning seminars.

If you can’t make it then, be sure to visit the garden and pick up the garden brochure from the box to the right of the main entrance sign.

It contains a list of the plants in each theme garden.

Also in the box are information cards about the Make Water Work Challenge.

Enter to be eligible to win a $6,000 yard makeover online at makewaterwork.ca/.