Steele: Time to give gardening tools a rest

It's a quiet time to look over garden notes and photos and make plans for next year.

  • Nov. 27, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ looks interesting even in the snow.

This week’s first snowfall marks the end of the gardening season.

Although I love gardening, I’m glad I live in a colder climate to have a quiet time to look over my garden notes and photos and make plans for next year.

With the intensity of last summer’s drought, there are lots of changes to consider.

Last week, I gave some planning tips to minimize maintenance tasks.

I hope that, and other columns you have saved will help you focus on water conservation and maintenance reduction as you dream and plan for next year’s gardens.

To assist with your plans, I invite you to explore the Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s website

For inspiration, the ‘Xeriscape Galleries’ illustrate projects other gardeners have done.

Under the ‘unH2O Garden’ page you’ll find the story and photos of the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden being built in 2010, as well as slide shows of the five theme gardens illustrating changes through the seasons and growth from year to year.

The garden brochure is also there. Plants in the gardens were selected for long bloom and/or long season of interest. They are a good starting point for selecting water-wise plants.

The ‘About Xeriscape’ page has details about the Seven Principles of Xeriscape and a Landscape Assessment Tool.

The most visited page on the website is the plant database.

Please read the database explanation page before you begin using it. The plant information will be more meaningful and the navigation easier.

There are 23 search criteria to choose from.

Plant lists generated from the criteria you choose are listed alphabetically by common name. If you wish to sort by Latin name, click on the heading ‘Latin name’.

Then all the plants of the same species will appear together, rather than scattered throughout if the list is sorted by common name.

On the ‘Resources’ page, there are lists of great books related to water-wise/sustainable gardening.

My top pick for xeriscape information for this area is ‘Creating the Prairie Xeriscape’ by Sara Williams. Contact me at if you want to buy a copy. It’s a great Christmas gift.

Another gift idea is a gift certificate to my class Introduction to the Principles of Xeriscape.

Information can be found on the ‘Classes’ page. Classes begin again in March through to May.

This is my last column for 2015. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to share my gardening knowledge with you and write about gardening events.

I’ll resume writing the column next March. Best wishes for a happy and successful gardening New Year.

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