Lifestyle

Steele: Enter the xeriscape garden contest

I would like to encourage everyone with water-wise landscaping in their yards to enter the Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s 2012 Garden Contest.

The contest is designed to showcase gardens where the principles of xeriscape have been used and appropriate plants selected to demonstrate the versatility of xeriscape gardens.

The main objectives are to recognize those who have made the change to water-conserving landscapes, to increase awareness of innovations in landscaping and water use efficiency, and to encourage others by giving them good ideas for their own gardens.

All properties in the Central Okanagan, with any water-wise/xeriscape landscaping, are eligible.

There are four categories. Three categories are the same as last year and are for residential gardens: Best non-professionally created small garden, best non-professionally created large garden, and best professionally designed and installed residential garden.

A new category, added this year, is best professionally designed and installed commercial landscape.

The best garden in each category will receive an engraved metal garden sculpture custom designed by B-line Design.

For professionally designed gardens, the prize goes to the garden owner with recognition in news articles and on the OXA website of the professionals involved.

All winning gardens will be featured on the OXA website xeriscape showcase as well as in this column.

August 31 is the deadline to enter. Everyone who enters is eligible for a draw prize of a gift certificate from Byland’s Nursery. Entries received by Aug. 15 are eligible for an early bird draw prize of a gift certificate from Sagebrush Nursery (xeriscape and native plants) in Oliver.

For details about the contest and for the entry form, go to www.okanaganxeriscape.org.

The judges will be looking for how the principles of xeriscape have been followed in creating and maintaining the garden such as mulching, appropriate plant selection, grouping of plants by water needs, water-wise or no irrigation, water-wise or no turf grass, and good design practices that create sustainable landscapes.

Last year’s winning gardens are featured on the xeriscape showcase on the OXA website.

If you have any water-wise/xeriscape landscaping on your property, I encourage you to enter to share your experience.

Also please encourage anyone you know who has xeriscaping in their yard to consider entering.

The more local, water-wise gardens that are showcased, the more ideas there will be to inspire others on how to make the change.

I’m excited by some ideas I just read in a great new book I found at Mosaic Books, ‘Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 amazing lawn alternatives’ by Evelyn Hadden.

While one chapter is on xeriscaping, much of the book is relevant to water-wise gardening.

There is a good chapter on meadows and one on alternative types of turf grasses and excellent information on how to transition from lawn. Her focus is on drastically reducing maintenance as well as gardening with the climate.

Hadden founded two very informative websites:  www.LessLawn.com and www.lawnreform.org.

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