The Butterfly/Pollinator Garden at the unH2O Xeriscape Garden is full of bloom. From bottom: Lychnis calcedonica (Maltese Cross), ‘Paprika’ yarrow, Salvia ‘Caradonna’, ‘Moonshine’ yarrow, Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s Beard), and Persicaria polymorpha (the tall white bloom). To the left the garden is backed by blooming feather reed grass. -Image: Gwen Steele

Free presentation at the unH2O Xeriscape Garden

Gwen Steele will discuss the plants now in bloom and how to maintain them

This is an invitation to join me on Thursday, June 14 at 7 p.m. in the unH2O Xeriscape Garden at 4075 Gordon Drive in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre.

The focus of this free presentation will be on plants in bloom, their special features and how to easily maintain them for optimum performance. There will also be time to 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 assistance from local landscaping and horticulture industries plus many volunteers.

It is maintained by member volunteers from the Okanagan Xeriscape Association. More volunteers are welcome. It’s a good place to learn and enjoy the company of gardeners.

The original garden was comprised of five theme gardens to help gardeners select water-wise groupings of plants that appeal to them.

This year we have made a few major changes.

1) The lower Rock Garden has been emptied (plants were sold at the plant sale).

It has been converted to an alternative lawn demonstration.

It’s worth visiting regularly to see this new ‘lawn’ evolve. New soil was added as well as a curved stepping stone path and a few big ‘sitting’ rocks.

About a month ago many, very small, native white yarrow plants were planted. They have settled in and suddenly started rapid growth.

By autumn the yarrow lawn should be filled in and ready to walk on. To add interest, elfin thyme was planted along the stepping stone path.

2) The raised planter has been emptied. Plants were sold or relocated in the garden.

To add some height and shade, it has been planted with ‘Twisty Baby’ locust, a small tree (to twenty feet high by ten feet wide) whose contorted bare branches add winter interest to the garden

On either end, dwarf burning bushes (Euonymus alata) will grow to about five feet high and wide.

Between the tree and shrubs, two Euonymus fortuneii ‘Gold Splash’ (a yellow/green-leafed, shrubby, ground cover) have been planted. They grow in sun to part shade so will be fine if shaded by the mature locust.

3) To create more shade and illustrate another small water-wise tree, a multi-stemmed Amur maple has been planted near the north end of the Mediterranean garden. It will grow to a nice umbrella shape ten to twenty feet high and wide.

The other water-wise, small shade trees in the gardens are ‘Ivory Silk’ lilac tree and Koelreuteria panniculata (Golden Rain tree).

Thanks to Bylands and Eco-Edge Landscapes for donations for these projects.

The Kelowna ‘Flower Power’ Garden Tour is Saturday, June 16. Check www.flowerpowerylw.ca/ for details.

This year OXA will have an information booth, on the tour, in a xeriscape garden in the Hall Road area.

Gwen Steele is executive-director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association. Learn more about Gardening with Nature and plants for the Okanagan on the website at www.okanaganxeriscape.org

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