Steele: Spring gardening clean-up for the unH2O garden

Last weekend, many gardeners helped with spring clean-up of perennials and ornamental grasses in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden.

Last weekend, many gardeners, including master gardeners, helped with spring clean-up of perennials and ornamental grasses in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden.

Their assistance was much appreciated in this volunteer maintained garden. The garden, planted in 2010, has grown faster than expected due to very good soil and the nitrogen-rich Ogogrow mulch.

Many plants needed dividing. Saturday provided a day of learning about plant division as well as spring clean-up.

Many plants were divided to avoid overcrowding. Excess plant material has been removed from the garden for potting up for the Xeriscape Plant Sale to be held in the garden in front of the H2O Centre, 4075 Gordon Dr., on April 28, 9 a.m. to noon.

The ideal way to plan renovations is to make notes and take reference photos during the growing season.

What I often rely on is the dead standing vegetation after winter, deciding how much to reduce the plant size before I cut it down.

Some plants are very easy to divide. A single stem of a ground cover plant that has roots along its stems can grow into a new plant. A single rosette with stem from a stonecrop will root.

Once dug up, plants such as bluebells, tall sedums, blue oat and blue fescue grasses are easily pulled apart to make more plants.

Oriental poppies and hollyhocks have long tap roots so cannot be divided successfully or moved.

They are easy to start from seed. Plants with one woody, stem such as lavender, cannot be divided.

Most ornamental grasses have dense root systems so it is easiest to divide the root ball with a sharp shovel while it is still in the ground.

This also works for large densely rooted clumps of perennials.

Two garden forks placed back to back in a perennial clump and then pulled away from each other, can be used in-ground to divide asters, yarrow, rudbeckia Goldsturm, etc.

Here are some tips for spring clean-up.

All perennials that re-grow from their roots can be cut back now.

Evergreen spring bloomers will bloom on last year’s growth so wait until after bloom to give them a good haircut to promote tidy new growth.

Woody perennials such as lavender may be trimmed by no more than one-third at a time.

Ornamental grasses need to be cut back now to about three to four inches above ground.

Comb out the dead material in the evergreen grasses, blue oat and blue fescue, or trim them into a rounded shape taking care not to cut into the central crown.


This spring, I will be teaching the Introduction to the Seven Principles of Xeriscape class on three Thursday dates: March 29 and April 5; April 12 and 19; and April 26 and May 3. Information and registration details are on the Classes page of the OXA website.

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

Most Read