Xeriscape gardeners happy to share their experiences

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association held its first Xeriscape Garden Contest this year. Gardeners were excited to share experiences and their delight in the resulting reduced maintenance and lower water use.

Most commented that their new landscape is much more aesthetically pleasing. I was impressed with the creativity and different approaches used.

Awards and draw prizes will be presented Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.,  in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Gardens (in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre), 4075 Gordon Dr. Everyone is invited.

At 1:45 p.m., I will be giving a free guided tour of the garden. It will be approximately 45 minutes with an opportunity for asking questions at the end.

This is the first anniversary of the garden opening.

I encourage you to come out and see the exuberant fall colours and to observe the myriad of different pollinators busily at work.

The annual “killing frost” could happen any time so don’t wait to pay a fall visit to the garden.

One of the contest entries, the Achenbachs, began with a front yard of poor lawn and an unkempt water thirsty cedar hedge.

The lawn, weeds, and cedars were removed.

A few weeks later more weeding was done before bringing in high quality topsoil for planting areas.

Plants were chosen for low maintenance, and low water needs. They are well spaced to allow for mature size.

A drip watering system was installed with custom emitters used to accommodate plants with different water needs.

The soil was then mulched with three inches of Ogogrow.

With two exceptions, the xeriscaping principles have been followed well.

The existing birch tree will need extra water, especially as it is surrounded by gravel.

The theme of the garden is ‘Japan meets Okanagan.’

The garden includes a very water thirsty Japanese Maple.

For the record, I strongly recommend against using them as they do not do well in our heat and dry air.

This one is getting extra water, is well mulched and a distance away from the hot reflective rocks so it may manage. It would be happier in a shaded spot.


This fall, I will be teaching my introduction to Xeriscape class, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the H2O Aquatic Centre.

The class dates are Tuesday, Oct.4 and 11, or Wednesday, Oct.  5 and 12.

The class provides practical information and examples for those who want to make changes to a current landscape as well as for those new to gardening in the Okanagan and for people creating a new landscape.

For more information check the OXA website below or contact me at 250-762-6018.

Gwen Steele is executive-director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association.



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