On June 3 an informative and productive xeriscape workshop took place at the Hedley OAP Hall. The event was attended by 18 people and included a hands-on planting experience outside of the hall. A delightful luncheon was provided by Lynn Wells and other volunteers after the hard work of preparing the soil and planting was finished.
Toni Boot of Grasslands Nursery in Summerland shared her expertise in the art of xeriscape with the participants. Xeriscape is a landscaping method developed for arid and semi-arid climates. It is a superb method of landscaping for an area such as the Okanagan. In these times of water shortages, restrictions and higher water rates, it allows for the creation of aesthetically pleasing landscapes but with low water usage and easy maintenance work. Xeriscape follows seven applied principles which are:
1) water conservation
2) soil improvement
3) create limited turf area
4) use of appropriate plants
7) maintain your landscape
More than 50 per cent of outdoor water use goes into watering lawns. By reducing turf areas we reduce our watering needs in a big way. Even dedicating a portion of your lawn area to xeriscape will help with conservation. It is also pollution free and creates an inviting and familiar habitat for your local birds, bees and other interesting creatures.
An area 3’ by 55’ was planted along the northside fence of the OAP hall property. After lots of shoveling and removal of rocks and weeds the plants were set into place following a design created by Toni. The native/waterwise/drought-tolerant plants were donated by Grasslands Nursery. They include the mysterious smokebush, the ever-popular potentilla, the silvery fragrant big sage, the strikingly lovely apache plume, interesting ornamental grasses, succulents and more.
As with anything worthwhile, patience will pay off. In another two to three years the young plants set along Hedley’s OAP fenceline should be very impressive, attacting butterflies, bees and tourists. This project fits nicely into place with Hedley’s new Spirit Gardens initiative which was created to beautify and food share fresh produce grown in public places throughout the town. Grow Hedley, grow!
A big thanks to Toni Boot for coming to share her knowledge and enthusiam for xeriscape, and also to Lynn Wells for organizing the event and providing fine food to hungry participants, and to the Hedley OAP Hall for use of the space.