The Okanagan Xeriscape Association


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.



A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who helped make the OXA Spring Plant Sale the best ever! We had a great turnout and are so grateful to everyone involved:

  • Wild Bloom Nursery – for the sale of great xeric plants and the donation of facilities
  • XEN Nursery – who joined us to sell native plants
  • Troy Gangl, TRON Traffic – for the donation of traffic calming & control services
  • Okanagan Master Gardeners – who joined us to offer gardening and plant expertise
  • Mario Lanthier, CropHealth Advising and Research of Kelowna for the donation of plants
  • Make Water Work and the Okanagan WaterWise program of the Okanagan Basin Water Board – they are big supporters of OXA.
  • All the wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable, hardworking volunteers who made the sale fun and informative. Not to mention all the hours preparing for the sale!

We will see you in the fall at our OXA Fall Plant Sale!

OXA XERISCAPE 2023 plant Sale

We sent a lot of plants off to new homes after our sale!

Xeriscape expert Gwen Steele put together this great Planting and Maintenance PDF to help you take great care of your xeriscape plants.

Dig with Sig

We invite you to join us in the UnH2O Xeriscape demonstration garden to see what is blooming and help get the garden ready for the season.

This popular weekly drop-in allows you to work with Sigrie Kendrick, OXA’s executive director and master gardener, helping with garden maintenance. At the same time, you can ask questions to learn more about drought-tolerant plants, gardening with nature, and xeriscape landscaping. It’s a win-win!

You do not need to be an OXA member to join us in the garden –  simply come along with gloves and a trowel.

We are there most every Friday from 9 am – 11 am.

Do you follow us?

If not, you really should check us out! Our social media pages are super informative and fabulous to follow especially for current events and seasonal information on everything xeriscape. Sharon Spring, OXA Vice President and Director of Social Media, does incredible and passionate work in creating content to promote OXA and xeriscape.

Follow us and take a good poke around through previous posts for gorgeous photos and great content.

OXA instagram

Plant of the Month- May

Bergenia cordifolia

Bergenia cordifolia, commonly known as pigsqueak or heartleaf Bergenia is a herbaceous perennial native to Russia grown primarily as a groundcover.

This perennial is hardy in zones 3-8 and is tolerant of a wide range of soils and light conditions. Reaching a height of 1 to 1 1/2 ft with an equal spread, this perennial features rosettes of large leathery leaves which are useful in flower arrangements.

Bergenia cordifolia blooms in April to May with dense panicles of small dark pink flowers held above the foliage by stout 16-inch stalks.

Bergenia cordifolia is not typically bothered by deer, insects or disease.

The common name of pigsqueak comes from the noise produced by rubbing the leaf between thumb and forefinger.

Find out more about Bergenia cordifolia and other great xeriscape plants in our Plant Database

Bergenia cordifolia -  Pigsqueak
Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Conserve Water with Xeriscape

Consider allocating a portion of your garden to native Okanagan plants which thrive in our semi-arid valley.

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.


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.


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.