Steele: Seasonal changes make gardening a delight

I always look forward to the quieter time of reading and making plans for next gardening season.

Silken strands attached to milkweed seeds.

Although the sun was still shining on Wednesday and plants are still blooming in the garden, winter is nearly here.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to garden year round and not have the seasonal changes we enjoy.

Gwen SteeleIf you are considering converting part of your landscape to a water-wise garden, the Seven Principles of Xeriscape are an easy guide to success.

Xeriscape is gardening with nature.

I suggest when planning your garden, ask the question, ‘What would nature do?’

Pause and think about what you see in the natural environment here.

In particular, think about what nature does when a piece of land is bare as in after a fire.

She doesn’t dump a pile of rocks and gravel on the bare land.

She repopulates it with a diverse community of plants creating a balance between pests and beneficial insects, birds and animals.

Xeriscape is a method of gardening that can be used to create almost any style of garden.

When you come to selecting plants for your xeriscape, check out the plant database at okanaganxeriscape.org” www.okanaganxeriscape.org.

There are 23 search criteria to help you select the right plants for your conditions and the look you want to create.

For a plant fix to brighten a gloomy winter day, browse through the database and look at the large colour photos with each plant profile.

If you are looking for a gift for a special gardener in your life, the Okanagan Xeriscape Association has a new shipment of my favourite xeriscape reference book, Creating the Prairie Xeriscape by Sara Williams.

Williams’ book is perfect for the Okanagan and all the plants are hardy for our climate.

There are close to 900 species in the plant profiles section, with many photos and good descriptions.

Additionally, there are very useful plant tables making it easy to find the plants that suit your conditions.

After 25 years of researching xeriscape, I have found this book to be the best reference.

It has the clearest, easy to follow explanation of the Seven Principles of Xeriscape. Also there are sidebars of quick facts for easy reference.

Williams is an award winning horticulturist who has been gardening for more than 25 years on five acres of sand near Saskatoon—good, practical experience for writing the book.

Cost is $34.95 including tax.

Another idea is a gift certificate for my two night Introduction To Xeriscape class.

Classes will be scheduled in March through to early May.

For more information check the classes page at okanaganxeriscape.org.

Registration cost is $50/person or $90/couple.

A handmade photo card of a flower from the unH2O Garden will be included with the certificate.

Contact me at info@okanaganxeriscape.org for books or gift certificate.

This is my last column until March.

I wish you a pleasant winter and look forward to reconnecting next year.

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