The Okanagan Xeriscape Association

Welcome

You have just opened the door to a whole new way of looking at your landscape, whether that’s the yard around a house; the landscaping around your condo; the entrance to your business; or the welcome to a new home or subdivision you’ve built.

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association is a registered charity founded in 2009 to help people Garden with Nature, conserving water and energy in the process, but creating beauty.

Join us.
Support us.
Enjoy our website and extensive plant database of waterwise plants.
Come to a class or workshop.
Visit our Xeriscape Demonstration Gardens in Kelowna and West Kelowna.
Learn while volunteering. Ask questions of our experts.

By learning more about xeriscape, you are learning how to create colourful, attractive outdoor spaces while minimizing your use of water—a resource that’s in short supply in the arid Okanagan climate, as well as elsewhere.

That means you save money on water, but at the same time, when you employ xeriscape principles you also save money on pesticides because you’re growing plants that suit their natural environment so they are less vulnerable to insects and diseases.

OXA UnH2O Garden June 2022

We would love you to join us! Find out more.
info@okanaganxeriscape.org

Events

Xeriscape Horticulture for Professionals Workshop

Presented by the Okanagan Xeriscape Association and featuring Egan Davis, this full-day intensive workshop is a rare chance to grow your skills if you are interested in professional xeriscape landscaping, permaculture, or using native plants in landscapes.

Egan will be talking about meadow-making and the long-grass movement, and other local experts will be presenting on healthy soil, slope stabilization/erosion control methods, and how to use xeriscape and native plants in a low-water landscape. It’s also a great chance to network!

Date: Friday, February 10, 2023
Time:  9 am – 5 pm
Location: 1171 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna
Tickets: $165 per participant including coffee, tea and snacks, followed by a lunch buffet. Available through Eventbrite

stephen boisvert from Chicago, United States, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Egan Davis, horticulturist

Egan Davis is the manager of parks operations for the City of Richmond. He has a background in horticulture education, managing botanical collections, and has worked in nursery and greenhouse production and landscape construction.

He has international horticulture experience, including working at Gothenburg Botanical Garden and Klinta Gardens in Sweden and on botanical expeditions in North America, Eurasia and New Zealand.

Closer to home, he has worked for VanDusen and UBC Botanical Gardens, Park and Tilford Gardens, the BCRPA and HortEd.ca

Plant of the Month- January

Crassula

The genus Crassula is a diverse group of succulents native to many areas of the globe, with most of the species in cultivation originating from South Africa. The genus includes both branching shrubs, rosette forms and stacked varieties in a wide variety of colours. One of the branching varieties, Crassula ovata, is the common house plant known as a Jade plant.

Crassula perforata ‘variegata’ is one of the stacking varieties and features fleshy triangle-shaped grey green leaves with red or yellow margins. Crassula perforata ‘variegata’ will quickly reach a height between 12-24 inches with a spread of 6-8 inches. This species will be topped with pale, small, star-shaped white or yellow flowers in the spring. These succulents prefer to be sited in a full sun location which will significantly improve their leaf colour and bloom time. This species is hardy to zone 9 so not hardy to our growing zone here in the Okanagan Valley and therefore must be brought inside in the fall when temperatures dip.

stephen boisvert from Chicago, United States, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Sedum in the UnH2O Garden in Kelowna, BC

Crassula are easy to grow but as with all succulents, prone to root rot if over-watered so always keep these on the dry side especially during the winter months when they are dormant. Crassula perforata ‘variegata’ is extremely easy to propagate by stem cuttings inserted into the soil or leaf cuttings laid on top of the soil.

While these succulents are not hardy to our low winter temperatures, they are members of the stonecrop family Crassulaceae which includes many species hardy to the Okanagan such as the native Sedum divergens currently sleeping under our blanket of snow.

Our Blog

Our new blog, On The Dry Side, is an opportunity to share information on how to garden with nature while conserving water in the Okanagan Valley.

As a group blog and forum, we welcome your contributions and comments and hope to create a blossoming community of xeriscape gardeners as well as a valuable archive of articles.

Prune Shrubs Properly

Basic pruning requires little more than the removal of dead, damaged, or diseased wood to maintain the health of the plant.

Planting in the right spot

There are no absolutes in gardening. What I consider in some situations to be ‘garden thugs’ are ‘landscape heroes’ under other conditions.

Leave the leaves!

Leave the leaves! Don’t stress over fall garden clean-up. Just leave the leaves on the ground where they fall.

Spring Bulbs

Fall is the ideal time to get a jump on next year’s garden by planting a pop of colour in the spring garden.

Fall Planting

Fall is a much better time for planting perennials. Find out all of the benefits in this article.

Hot Weather Gardening

Hot weather can be tough on even xeriscape plants. Here are some tips on how to help them survive.

Removing a Lawn

One of the first steps towards xeriscaping is to remove as much of your lawn as possible. Here are some options for lawn removal.

Family Members Don’t Always Look Alike

OXA’s annual plant sale will offer two Persicaria species you might not even recognize as being related.

Plants for Dry Shade

OXA’s annual plant sale will offer several plants that perform well under the challenging conditions of growing in dry, but shady beds.

Learn

About Xeriscape

What is xeriscape and why it is perfect for the Okanagan environment? Learn how you can start conserving water in your own landscape.

7 Principles of Xeriscape

Find information on how to xeriscape for both new and established gardens, including a complete description of the Seven Principles of Xeriscape.

Xeriscape Classes

Current information about our Xeriscape Gardening Classes which run twice a year, in the spring and fall, as well as any other special workshops, classes or events.
Use our Okanagan Plant Database to help you find the best plants for your garden. Search criteria includes plant types, heights, spread, water/light conditions, bloom months, bloom colours, foliage colours and special features .

Get Inspired

The UnH2O Garden

A complete guide to each of our UnH2O Demonstration Garden themed beds– a 4,000 square foot garden, planted in 2010, which includes six theme areas to illustrate xeriscape possibilities. (See the Get Inspired tab in our main menu)

Xeriscape Stories

Our Xeriscape Garden Stories include photographs and stories showing xeriscape in action right here in several gardens in the Okanagan including winners from our 2011 and 2013 Xeriscape Garden Contests.

Resources

Informative resources, including an extensive list of the best books on xeriscape for our climate, links to websites, and a directory of xeriscape gardens to visit in the Okanagan, including our UnH2O and Spirit Square Garden.

We would like to thank the Okanagan Basin Water Board and Okanagan WaterWise for their support and funding

Did you know?

  1. There is LESS water available per person in the Okanagan than anywhere else in Canada
  2. The Okanagan has one of the highest rates of water use per person in Canada
  3. The 2nd largest use of water in the Okanagan is for watering our household lawns & gardens

Here’s a reminder to check out the Make Water Work website to make your pledge to reduce water waste. Xeriscape is a very effective way to make water work.