Steele: Xeriscape plant sale at H2O Aquatic Centre garden

This is the second of my two-part series about the Okanagan Xeriscape Association plant sale.

The popular event is coming up this Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre, 4075 Gordon Dr.

Proceeds from the plant sale help cover expenses for the volunteer-maintained garden.

There will be hundreds of water-wise plants to choose from.

Last week’s article included native and rock garden plants that will be at the sale.

You can read it in the Tip of the Month article at the bottom of our association’s website home or on the Capital News website, under Lifestyles.

Mediterranean- themed plants at the sale will include a children’s favourite, giant lamb’s ears. It has big, velvety-silver leaves and grows in full sun or part shade. With very few blooms, it makes a great low maintenance groundcover or backdrop/contrast to other plants.

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ catnip gives a stunning show of blue from May to July and again late summer if dead-headed.

Add elfin thyme between stepping stones for an inviting path through the garden.

Two plants that are hummingbird magnets are red coral bells and Jacob Cline beebalm. Both grow well in part shade.

For butterflies and pollinators, choose the long-blooming Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, gaillardias, and Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’ as well as the non-spreading Achillea ‘Moonshine.’

To contrast with the yellow blooms, add deep blue Salvia ‘East Friesland.’

There are several large pots of hardy rugosa roses, off-shoots from our ‘Hansa’ and ‘Blanc de Coubert’ bushes.

Grasses include feather reed grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), blue oat grass, blue hair grass (Koeleria glauca) and blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis). All are clump formers.

‘Stella d’Oro’ daylilies are nice companions to the grasses.

Eighteen-inch Sedum ‘Arctic Fire’ has attractive foliage all season and deep pink blooms in late summer/fall. It’s easy to grow and very drought-tolerant.

OXA memberships will be available.  Benefits include a 10 per cent discount on plant purchases from nine local nurseries, a discount on OXA classes and workshops, and free admission to OXA member’s events.

You can register for the next Introduction to Xeriscap’ class scheduled for Thursday, May 8 and 15, 7 to 9 p.m. More details are on OXA website.

Registration forms and information about our exciting summer workshop Using Rainwater as a Resource (Aug. 16), will also be available.

At the same table, a fundraiser will allow you can purchase beautiful photo cards of flowers from the unH2O Garden.

The new, revised edition of the excellent xeriscape resource book, Creating the Prairie Xeriscape by Sara Williams, will be on sale. In the 22 years I have been studying, practising and teaching about xeriscaping, it is the best complete reference I’ve ever found for this area. Profits will go to support the OXA.


The Summerland Ornamental Gardens plant sale is Sunday, May 4. For more info see the website

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