Lifestyle

Steele: Free xeriscape garden tour

This is an invitation to join me at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, for a free guided tour of the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, located in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre, 4075 Gordon Dr.

I will highlight plants in bloom, the creation and evolution of the garden and answer your questions.

The garden was created in 2010 by the Okanagan Xeriscape Association with financial support from the Government of Canada provided through the department of the environment; the City of Kelowna; the Okanagan Basin Water Board; and with the assistance of the local landscaping and horticulture industries and many volunteers.

It is maintained by volunteers from the Okanagan Xeriscape Association. More volunteers are welcome. It’s a good place to learn and enjoy the company of gardeners. The most colourful gardens this week are the Mediterranean, native plant and rock gardens. None receive any supplemental irrigation.

Sedums, thrift (Armeria maritima), and Turkestan onion (Allium karataviense) blooms draw the eye to the rock gardens. Orange arnica (Arnica fulgens) is glowing deep gold in the native garden. The mock orange and ocean spray (Holodiscus discolour) shrubs should flower by Tuesday. The cheery yellow brown-eyed susans will continue to bloom all summer. They look magical peeking through the blue bunch wheat grass.

The Mediteranean garden is dominated by a swath of bright blue Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low.’

This is complemented by varying foliage colours and textures of plants yet to bloom: lavender, Coreopsis ‘Golden Gain’, santolina, and Sedum ‘Postman’s Pride’.

Garden brochures, including a listing of plants in each garden, are beside the main garden sign. Plant labels and brochures help to identify plants you might want to grow.

Check www.okanaganxeriscape.org for slide shows of the colourful gardens, the story of building the garden, and a copy of the garden brochure. I will have my favourite xeriscape gardening book, Creating the Prairie Xeriscape by Sara Williams, available for $35. I’ll also bring a flat of very healthy hen and chicks for sale at $2 each.

I look forward to meeting you in the garden on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, tickets for the Kelowna Flower Power Garden tour, June 15, are on sale now. Details are at www.flowerpowerylw.ca . There are nine beautiful gardens to tour including the large and colourful xeriscape garden that won OXA’s xeriscape Garden contest in 2011. I will be at this garden with OXA’s information booth.

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