Lifestyle

Steele: Church chooses sustainable landscaping

The new  Centennial Garden at St. Michael’s  Cathedral is nearing completion.   - Gwen Steele/Contributor
The new Centennial Garden at St. Michael’s Cathedral is nearing completion.
— image credit: Gwen Steele/Contributor

After years of building their new hall, St. Michael’s House, the congregation of St. Michael and All Angels Cathedral were ready to begin the task of re-landscaping the whole church property.

They wanted landscaping that would enhance the striking heritage building and transform the land into a place of beauty for people and nature.

Following a presentation I gave at the church, demonstrating the versatility and the benefits of xeriscape, the landscape committee decided they wanted a landscape designed using the Seven Principles of Xeriscape.

Having an attractive, long-lasting, water-wise landscape on a highly-visible, busy street corner would also fulfill their desire to give something to the community.

Last winter, Anthony Krakau, owner of The Garden Beautifier, donated his time and worked closely with the landscape committee. The congregation were thrilled with his design.

Krakau’s company is currently working on the installation.

The first phase, well underway, is the Centennial Garden on Richter Street. Plans are to open this garden to the public in 2013, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the historic old stone church.

It features a labyrinth in a peaceful, treed setting. The lawn is Eco-Turf, a newly available product from Clement Turf Farms. Once established, the turf will need watering as little as once a month, and mowing every two weeks or less often.

The garden has berms planted with many deciduous and coniferous shrubs and small trees to create a feeling of privacy and to reduce noise from the road.

The gardens will be irrigated by the most up to date water-conserving irrigation system available. This includes a drip irrigation system. All plants will need water until established after which some will need some supplemental irrigation during prolonged hot, dry weather.

Irrigation is controlled by a Rainbird Smart Controller from Pro Source Irrigation. It incorporates local government weather statistics as well as information from its own weather station. Each zone can be programmed for the type of planting and soil type. It automatically adjusts the watering by season and weather.

In addition to water conservation, there is a focus on enhancing the tree canopy in Kelowna. Over 30 trees, both large and smaller species, are being planted. Large deciduous trees are strategically located to provide summer shade to buildings, and a large patio. Leaves will drop in the fall to allow much needed sunshine inside in winter.

Poor, compacted soil has been replaced with good screened top soil. All plantings are mulched with Nature’s Gold to provide nutrients, hold moisture and reduce weeds.

The garden has also been designed for easy maintenance, to be done by a group of eager garden parish volunteers.

The congregation is very excited about their new water-wise landscape.

I am sure these beautiful gardens will inspire many of them, and others in the community, to make some changes at home.

www.okanaganxeriscape.org

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