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.


Oxa Fall Plant Sale  2022

Click to open PDF


Saturday, October 1, from 10 am to 2 pm in the UnH2O Garden
In front of the H2O Aquatic Centre on Gordon Drive

For the first time since OXA was formed in 2009, we are holding a Fall Plant Sale! Normally, we hold our annual Spring Plant Sale at the beginning of May, when people are busy planting up their garden beds for the summer.

Annuals must be planted in spring, so people have become accustomed to thinking of spring as the best time for planting gardens, but that’s not the case at all.

However, fall is a better time to transplant perennials, so they have an opportunity to get established over the rest of the fall, winter and spring seasons, without the stresses that a hot, dry summer puts on new plants.

The sale will feature such drought-tolerant perennials as: Kolkwitzia amabilis, Beauty Bush, Nepeta racemosa, ‘Walker’s Low’; Rudbeckia “Goldsturm’; Dictamnus albus, Gasplant; Oenothera macrocarpa, Missouri evening primrose; Aruncus dioicus, Goat’s beard; Aster conspicuous, Showy aster; Dianthus deltoides ‘Brilliant’ and several succulents and ornamental grasses.

Be sure to check out our Plant Database for more information on the plants available in our sale

Upcoming Xeriscape Class

An introduction to the basic 7 Principles of Xeriscape Gardening.

Presenting the class is Sigrie Kendrick, author of the column Gardening with Nature, and executive-director of the Okanagan Xeriscape Association, as well as a Master Gardener and xeriscape specialist. The class covers many ways to conserve water by choosing drought-tolerant plants, including methods of planting, mulching and watering, as well as making plant choices.

This is a one-hour virtual class followed by question time afterward.

Time & Date:
Thursday, October 6th
7:00 pm

$30 for OXA members
$35 for non-members

Spirit Square Garden in West Kelowna- OXA project
Dig with Sig every Friday in the UnH2O Garden in Kelowna

Dig With Sig–

Friday Mornings at the UnH2O Garden

Meet Sig in our Kelowna demonstration garden at 4075 Gordon Drive, Kelowna in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre between 9 and 11am.

This is an opportunity to ask your xeriscape questions; get ideas for drought-tolerant plants you can plant in your garden; learn about the seven principles of xeriscape; and help out in the Okanagan Xeriscape Association garden.

Our executive-director, Sigrie Kendrick, will be busy weeding, dead-heading, looking for bugs, planting and planning at the UnH2O Garden every Friday. Join her with your questions or just to volunteer, support, and help her out.

You’ll learn as you work with the hundreds of varieties of plants which use less water than many of the species you currently tend to plant in your yard, and you can learn while you hang out with Sig, who is a Master Gardener and a xeriscape specialist, as well as our Gardens Manager.

Plant of the Month- September

Panicum virgatum

Panicum virgatum ‘Blood Brothers’ is a warm season ornamental grass that is beginning to come into its own as night time temperatures drop.

This Canadian switch grass introduction is a sport (chance genetic mutation) from the cultivar ‘Heavy Metal’ and has a clump-forming growth habit. ‘Blood Brothers’ forms a vase-shaped upright mound of bluey-green foliage with blood-red tips which intensify as the growing season progresses. This ornamental grass also features reddish panicles or flowers which mature to a tan seed head.

‘Blood Brothers’ will be happiest planted in full sun and is hardy down to zone 4, so appropriate for our Okanagan environment. Panicum virgatum is not particular about soil quality and is drought-tolerant once established.

Reaching heights of up to 5 feet with a spread of 3 feet this grass makes a lovely addition to the back of mixed borders or rock gardens and is not bothered by passing deer. The seed heads are a favorite with songbirds and the upright form of this grass adds winter interest in the garden. Ornamental grasses are also fantastic for adding a sense of movement to your garden.

Close up of Panicum virgatum
Panicum virgatum - great ornamental grass for the okanagan xeriscape

OXA will have a variety of ornamental grasses including ‘Blood Brothers’ available for purchase at our upcoming fall plant sale which will be held October 1 from 10-2 at the UnH2O Demonstration Garden at 4075 Gordon Drive.

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.

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.

Sprinkler Distribution Uniformity

Take a deep dive into sprinkler Distribution Uniformity how evenly an irrigation system provides water over a given area.

Alternative Lawns

One of the easiest ways to reduce your water use on the landscape is to consider alternatives to the traditional lawn.

Trimming Ornamental Grasses

Trimming your ornamental grasses depends on whether they are Evergreen, Cool Season, or Warm Season varieties.

Seasonal Ornamental Grasses

An important distinction in the world of ornamental grasses is whether they are warm season, cool season, or evergreen.


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.