Gwen Steele

Easy to grow

Steele: Pledge to reduce your water use this summer

If your water meter is running when you are not irrigating, and all the water in your house shut off, you may have a leak.

Easy to grow
Euonymous ‘Emerald Gaiety’ climbing a honey locust tree.

Steele: Choosing water-wise shrubs

The plant database at okanaganxeriscape.org provides a useful guide to select plants appropriate for the Okanagan.

Euonymous ‘Emerald Gaiety’ climbing a honey locust tree.

Steele: Flower Power gardens should be in full bloom

With spring being hot, dry and three weeks early, plants not normally blooming during the garden tour will be in full flower on June 13.

Morning glory weed (field bindweed) is currently blooming in many lawns and gardens. This noxious weed has an extensive

Steele: Weed now to conserve water and time

Russian/Siberian Elm, Tree of Heaven, and Russian Olive are all invading our natural landscapes.

Morning glory weed (field bindweed) is currently blooming in many lawns and gardens. This noxious weed has an extensive
GlenGrow mulch retains moisture in the Butterfly Garden at the unH2O Xeriscape Garden. Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (yarrow) and Salvia ‘Caradonna’ are blooming abundantly.

Steele: Mulch now to reduce water use

One principle that everyone can take advantage of immediately is to cover all exposed soil with a layer of mulch.

GlenGrow mulch retains moisture in the Butterfly Garden at the unH2O Xeriscape Garden. Achillea ‘Moonshine’ (yarrow) and Salvia ‘Caradonna’ are blooming abundantly.
Corinne Jackson (left) with Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Make Water Work program

Steele: Evolution to conserve water

Taylor’s Guide to Water-Saving Gardening introduced me to the Seven Principles of Xeriscape…I was hooked.

Corinne Jackson (left) with Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Make Water Work program
Deep purple spikes of Salvia ‘Caradonna’ provide contrast for Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’. Feather reed grass is blooming in the background in this June photo at the unH2O Butterfly Garden.

Steele: Pollinator plants at OXA plant sale

Butterfly and Mediterranean Gardens attract a wide variety of pollinators adding a lively dimension to the garden.

Deep purple spikes of Salvia ‘Caradonna’ provide contrast for Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’. Feather reed grass is blooming in the background in this June photo at the unH2O Butterfly Garden.
Red Riding Hood tulips and grape hyacinth blooming amidst newly emerging grass clumps in the Ornamental Grass Garden at the unH20 Xeriscape Garden.

Steele: Ornamental grasses a low-maintenance alternative to lawn

One of the easiest plant groups to maintain, they simply need to be cut back in the spring.

Red Riding Hood tulips and grape hyacinth blooming amidst newly emerging grass clumps in the Ornamental Grass Garden at the unH20 Xeriscape Garden.
Cushion spurge adds vivid

Steele: Plants for an easy-care, sunny, water-wise garden

For the next few weeks I am going to write about my favourite water-wise plant combinations suitable for specific growing conditions.

Cushion spurge adds vivid
Sage buttercups blooming at the beginning of the Paul’s Tomb hike

Steele: Resources for water-wise gardening

If you want to be proactive about drought-proofing your landscape, the Okanagan Xeriscape Association has many resources.

Sage buttercups blooming at the beginning of the Paul’s Tomb hike

Steele: Water-wise gardening research a productive winter pastime

Now that the snow has settled, I can enjoy the quieter time of winter to read, research and plan for next year.

Steele: Falling leaves free gift to the garden

Small maple and birch leaves are my favourites as they decompose quickly without being shredded.

Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’ will bloom from June to frost. Through winter

Steele: Final garden clean-up before winter

Now, two things I really enjoy in winter are watching songbirds…and the plants themselves when they are clad in snow or hoar frost.

Gaillardia ‘Burgundy’ will bloom from June to frost. Through winter

Steele: Giving thanks for life in Okanagan Valley

The abundance of the Okanagan is most evident in autumn.

Steele: Rare open house at Summerland Research Centre

Find out what they do up on the hill in the agriculture research centre and participate in activities in the ornamental gardens.

Steele: It’s time to think about spring

Spring bulbs can be planted right up until the ground freezes, but will get a better start if planted sooner.

Steele: Take a tour of unH2O xeriscape garden

I would love to share some ideas with you so please join me on Aug. 27, 7 p.m., in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre.

Steele: Capture your water before it turns to dust

Capture your rain water to drastically reduce your reliance on treated drinking water to irrigate landscapes.

Steele: Different trees create different types of shade

I seldom water the weeping willow or the dry garden underneath it. It has a very well-established root system to access deeper ground water.

Golden rain tree (Koelreuturia paniculata) is an excellent

Steele: Drought tolerant trees ideal shade providers

Mature trees are a hub of activity in any established garden or backyard.

Golden rain tree (Koelreuturia paniculata) is an excellent