The Okanagan Xeriscape Association

the Okanagan Xeriscape Association UNH20 Garden project June 2020


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 Garden in 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.

We would love you to join us! Find out more.


Our first online xeriscape class will be held in June, presented by OXA’s executive-director Sigrie Kendrick.

Introduction to the Seven Principles of Xeriscape for Beginners is an overview for those new to xeriscape gardening in the Okanagan.

Time & Date:
June 22nd from 7 – 8 pm

$30 Non Members
$25 OXA Members
$50 Couple from the same household

Registration is limited to 25, so register early!

Plant of the Month

Centranthus ruber

Jupiter’s Beard

Centranthus ruber, commonly known as Jupiter’s Beard or Red Valerian is a fantastic pollinator plant that has its origin in the Mediterranean. Despite being native to an area so distant from the Okanagan, this plant is a great addition to our gardens here in the valley.

This perennial features attractive grey-green foliage with carmine-red blooms, and reaches a height of up to three feet.

Centranthus tolerates poor, dry and infertile soil and may border on weedy in well-irrigated areas, but any babies are easy to pull or hoe. Whenever this plant is in flower it is completely covered in a wide variety of pollinators and can be pruned after bloom to encourage a second flowering later in the season. Deadheading Centranthus will produce flowers from spring to frost.

Later in the year, the fragrant blooms are followed by interesting seed heads similar to those of dandelions. Centranthus ruber is not prone to pests or disease but like so many xeriscape plants, it may suffer crown rot in overly-wet soils.

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.

Soils of the Okanagan Part II

A good understanding of the composition and texture of your soil is key to successful xeriscape gardening

Garden Design

A well-designed landscape is a balance: of size, shape, colour and texture. Repeating groups of similar plants throughout the garden creates a sense of continuity and will be more pleasing to your eye.

Plan Your Garden

Whether planning a small condo patio or a large acreage, a renovation to an inherited space or the blank slate that comes with a new build, planning your garden is paramount.

Soils of the Okanagan Part I

A good understanding of your soil is one of the keys to successful gardening.

Allium for the Xeriscape Garden

Allium can provide wonderful additions to the xeriscape garden

Hedge Alternatives- Part 2

This is the second in a pair of blog articles on hedge choices for the Okanagan. This article will address non-native options.

Hedge Alternatives- Part 1

There are many alternatives to the ubiquitous water loving cedar hedge. This entry suggests some native plant choices.

Mulch Flammability

This blog will cover a set of flammability tests conducted by OXA on organic mulches commonly available in the Okanagan

Mulches for Okanagan Xeriscaping

Mulches are an important part of xeriscaping. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of common mulches


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 our UnH2O Demonstration Garden – a 4,000 square foot garden, planted in 2010, which includes five theme areas to illustrate xeriscape possiblities.

Xeriscape Stories

Our Xeriscape Stories includes photographs and stories showing xeriscape in action right here 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 of interest and a directory of xeriscape gardens to visit in the Okanagan.
We would like to thank the Okanagan Basin Water Board and Okanagan WaterWise for their support and funding

Did you know that the 2nd largest use of water in the Okanagan is used on 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.