Gwen Steele

Volunteers setting out plants for the Okanagan Xeriscape Association Plant Sale in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

Steele: Great chance to buy plants

Two major garden plant sales take place in Kelowna on Saturday, put on by Kelowna Garden Club and Okanagan Xeriscape Association.

Volunteers setting out plants for the Okanagan Xeriscape Association Plant Sale in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
Okanagan sunflowers are abundant on the hillsides.

Steele: Enjoying Okanagan’s natural beauty

April 22 is Earth Day, a perfect time in Kelowna to reflect on how best we can be stewards of this land for future generations.

Okanagan sunflowers are abundant on the hillsides.
Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

Steele: Planting ornamental grasses

This week is about ornamental grasses and long-blooming, pollinator plants.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’
Native bumblebee feasting on nectar and pollen from Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’ in September in the unH2O Xeriscape Garden.

Steele: Help pollinators with the flowers you choose

Bees are most attracted to the colour blue and, second, to yellow.

Native bumblebee feasting on nectar and pollen from Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’ in September in the unH2O Xeriscape Garden.
Mass planting of ornamental grasses and sturdy

Steele: Reduce landscape maintenance

Certain principles provide the easiest guide to creating a successful xeriscaped garden/landscape.

Mass planting of ornamental grasses and sturdy
Healthy specimen of blue fescue grass

Steele: Adapting to water restrictions

Water restrictions are likely to be the norm every summer from now on.

Healthy specimen of blue fescue grass
A bumble bee collects late-season pollen and  nectar from Gaillardia (blanket flower). These xeriscape plants feed pollinators from June to frost.

Steele: Seed saving project underway

This series of projects will create a Public Art Pollinator Pasture in a section of the Brent’s Mill Heritage Park.

A bumble bee collects late-season pollen and  nectar from Gaillardia (blanket flower). These xeriscape plants feed pollinators from June to frost.

Steele: Fall provides free compost materials

I save labour in fall and spring and the cost of buying and getting mulch transported to my place.

Steele: Build up your garden soil

The better garden soil is, the healthier plants will be.

This pollinator feasts on late blooming garlic chives.

Steele: Xeriscape principles negate the need for pesticides

Larval forms of many pollinators such as lacewings and hoverflies are voracious carnivores feasting on pests such as aphids.

This pollinator feasts on late blooming garlic chives.
Colourful native bumblebee feasting on pollen and nectar from fall-blooming Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’.

Steele: Fall brings an abundance for pollinators in the Okanagan

Plants pollinators seem most interested in are asters, ‘Autumn Joy’, lavender, catnip and white garlic chive blooms.

Colourful native bumblebee feasting on pollen and nectar from fall-blooming Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’.
Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) are native to Okanagan grasslands.

Steele: Create easy-care garden with native plants

Okanagan native plants are well adapted to our climate and provide food and shelter for birds and wildlife.

Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) are native to Okanagan grasslands.

Steele: Great time for garden changes

Fall planting gives plants a head start to grow a better root system before next summer’s drought.

Portulaca will open every sunny day until frost. Dwarf lavender flowers last until September overlapping with the deep pink blooms of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that continue to frost.

Steele: Coping with drought restrictions

Here's a look at how long term, drought-stricken areas like Australia cope.

Portulaca will open every sunny day until frost. Dwarf lavender flowers last until September overlapping with the deep pink blooms of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that continue to frost.

Steele: Take a break from the heat—go hike in a meadow

The beauty of wildflower meadows, alpine lakes, and amazing rock formations filled us with joy and peace.

Steele: Drought-friendly plants that thrive parched

Learn about drought-resistant gardening with Introduction to Xeriscape, Sept. 16 and 23, or Oct.1 and 8.

Drought-friendly plants still thriving

I suspect that the weather we are experiencing is going to be the norm so I am converting to plants that thrive in drought.

Almost any landscape style can be successfully designed using xeriscape  principles.

Steele: Drought climate gardening tips

Find out how the Seven Principles of Xeriscape can help you to garden successfully in the climate extremes

Almost any landscape style can be successfully designed using xeriscape  principles.

Steele: Things to ponder before deciding to use rock mulch

Rock mulch is a good choice in fire sensitive areas where wood chip and bark mulch are a fire hazard.

The low growing

Steele: Dealing with water restrictions

A whopping 24 per cent water use goes mostly to keep lawns unnaturally green in the Okanagan's semi-desert climate.

The low growing