Garden Contest 2011

Reprinted from an article in Kelowna Capital News October 7, 2011

On September 24th the awards ceremony for the Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s first Xeriscape Garden Contest was held at the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at the H2O Aquatic Centre. This coincided with the first anniversary of the opening of the garden. The contest, open to all residents of the Central Okanagan, had twenty entries from Peachland to Rutland.

There was tremendous variation and creativity in the gardens. Some had been growing more than two years but most were quite new. Many are works in progress with success in one area leading to plans to do more. All entrants were encouraged to enter again next year to show their further progress with xeriscaping and the maturing of their gardens.

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. Most said they entered because they wanted 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
  3. use of mulch and ease of maintenance
  4. freedom from perennial weeds; maintenance of paths, structures and cultivated areas
  5. low water use – type of water system, decrease from former use
  6. aesthetics – harmonious blending of colours, shapes and textures
Xeriscape Garden Awards recipients: Nancy and Murray Ramsden; Donna Cook; and Genevieve, Greg and Sandy Hyslop.

Xeriscape Garden Awards recipients: Nancy and Murray Ramsden; Donna Cook; and Genevieve, Greg and Sandy Hyslop.

Winners of the best small garden were Sandy and Greg Hyslop and children. Tied for runner up were Wayne Goreski, and Pam Rouse.

Winner of the best large garden was Donna Cook. Runner up was Craig Grondstahl.

Winners of the best professionally designed garden were Murray and Nancy Ramsden. The garden hardscape was jointly designed by Synergy Landscaping, PMC Stonebuilders and Waterwise Landscape Design. Softscape was designed by Waterwise Landscape Design who also designed the garden of runner up, Kathleen Achenbach.

Winners received a metal garden sculpture specially handcrafted by B-line Design with an engraved recognition plaque incorporated into the sculpture.

Early Bird draw prize of two yards of mulch and delivery donated by Classic Compost ( went to Rachael Fleming.

All entries were eligible for the Grand Prize Draw of $500. This went to Pamela Rouse.

Local Landscape Architect, Gabe Ross was thanked for assisting with the judging.

The contest was a great success. Watch the web site next spring for details of the 2012 contest and be sure to take lots of photos as you make water saving changes to your gardens to be ready to enter.

* Individual Garden Contest 2011 stories can be found in the right sidebar