Steele: Popular OXA plant sale this Saturday

Steele: Popular OXA plant sale this Saturday

45 xeriscape plant varieties available at this year’s sale at H2O Garden on Gordon Drive.

This Saturday, May 5, plan an outing to OXA’s very popular xeriscape plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon in the H2O Garden in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre, 4075 Gordon Drive.

The sale has over 45 xeriscape plant varieties, mostly propagated from the unH2O Garden.

See www.okanaganxeriscape.org for sale details and a full list of plants.

Okanagan native plants at the sale include: giant wild rye, pussytoes, orange arnica and showy aster.

There is an excellent selection of hen and chicks and an abundance of sedums that make good (non-walkable) ground covers. Penstemon ‘Red Rocks’ could be added to these for season-long bloom.

New this year, are pots of bulbs in bloom for sale:

Grape hyacinth combines well with other bulbs and spring bloomers.

Turkistan onion is low-growing with stunning leaves and white flower heads.

To coincide with the rapidly growing interest in planting pollinator gardens to make nectar trails throughout Kelowna, we are featuring some great pollinator-attracting plants.

The unH2O Garden is full of pollinator plants making it the perfect northern anchor point for the 2017 nectar trail pilot project created through public and private gardens in the Mission neighbourhood.

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Walker’s Low catnip) is a bee-magnet, blooming from April through to frost. It’s also extremely drought-tolerant. It grows to about 24×24 inches.

Perennial salvias, Caradonna and East Friesland have deep blue/purple spikes in May and June and again at summer’s end. They grow 12-18” wide by 16-24” tall depending on conditions.

Coreopsis ‘Golden Gain’ has small, single, deep yellow daisies floating on a mass of fine foliage 18×18” from June through September.

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ grows to an attractive, shrub-like mound 18-24” high and wide. Blooming August to October, its large, flat flower heads are a magnet for late season pollinators.

Echinacea ‘Magnus’ (purple coneflower) has large, dark pink flowers and grows to 24-36” high and wide. Its seed heads are popular winter bird food.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ produces large yellow daisies from June to September and also has attractive black seed heads for winter bird food. It grows to 24×30” and needs more water than the rest of the plants listed here.

For a great, low-maintenance combination, mass plant rudbeckia with Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ (feather reed grass). It has a vertical growth habit. Seed stems stand about 5’ tall and the plant is 2-3’ wide.

Check www.borderfreebees.com/resources/ for a wealth of information to help you create your own nectar garden and learn about wild bees. Visit their information booth at the sale.

SeedCo will be at the sale with a selection of Okanagan native plant seeds for purchase, most of which are great for pollinators.

After loading up at OXA’s plant sale check out Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens plant sale May 5 and 6 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At the sale Kathryn McCourt will be giving a free workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. each day entitled “Okanagan Gardening for Newcomers”.

Check www.summerlandgardens.org/whats-happening/upcoming-events/ for more free workshops.

Gwen Steele is executive-director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association.