Steele: Giving out xeriscape garden awards

I was excited to see the tremendous variation and creativity in the gardens.

On Sept. 21, the awards ceremony for the Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s Xeriscape Garden Contest was held at the H2O Aquatic Centre.

The contest, open to all residents of the Central Okanagan, had 11 entries.

I was excited to see the tremendous variation and creativity in the gardens. Most had been created in the past one to seven years.

One was created in 1988 when the home owner requested no lawn and no watering to drastically minimize maintenance.

Many are works in progress with success in one area leading to plans to do more.

Entrants commented on how their new gardens surprised them with big water savings and reductions in maintenance time.

All were very excited with the results of the conversion to xeriscape.

There was a general desire to share their experiences to help others make the change.

Judging criteria for the contest included:

1) health, vigour, suitability and variety of xeriscape plants

2) suitability of design to its site and usage, creative use of hardscapes, runoff prevention and habitat restoration/preservation

3) use of mulch and ease of maintenance including appropriate spacing to minimize pruning

4) freedom from perennial weeds, maintenance of paths, structures and cultivated areas

5) low water use—type of water system, decrease from former use, minimal or no turf; and

6) aesthetics—harmonious blending of colours, shapes and textures, seasonal change, plantings in proportion to property and buildings.

Local landscape architect Lindsay Clement was thanked for assisting with the judging.

Winners received an engraved garden ornament made by B-line Design and a $100 gift certificate donated by a nursery.

Each runner-up received a donated draw prize. OXA is very grateful for the support of donors.

Winner: Best professionally designed and installed residential landscape: Carol Drury, designed by Waterwise Landscape Design (Sagebrush Nursery)

Runner-up: Ann MacDonald, designed by Wendy Cary (two hours pruning from Bartlett Tree Services)

Winner: Best small garden: Wayne Goreski (Bylands)

Runners-up: Dianne Schneiders (‘Creating the Prairie Xeriscape’ book from OXA) and Ray Kirsinger (gift certificate from Green & Bear It).

Winner: Best large garden: Jane Youngberg (Wild Bloom Nursery)

Runner-up: Caroline Loesgen (Classic Compost—two yards of mulch and delivery)

Winner: Best commercial landscape: celler-tek, designed and installed by Waterwise Landscape Design (ILR Nursery)

Runner-up: Northwood Retirement Resort, designed and installed by Prestige Lawn and Landscape Services (pruning tools Bartlett Tree Services)

Stories and photos of the gardens will be added to the gallery page our website www.okanaganxeriscape.org.

Also watch this column for more news, with before and after pictures of some gardens.

•••

Reminder: Friends of the Summerland Ornamental Gardens Autumn Garden Tour takes place Saturday, Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information check out the webste www.summerlandornamentalgardens.org.

Tickets are also available at Summerland Ornamental Gardens.

In Kelowna: Free eco-friendly bicycle tour of lawn-free front yards, Sept. 27, 28 and 29 organized by Turf the Turf.

See the website turftheturf.wordpress.com for more details.

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