The UnH20 Garden Construction
The Story of the Creation of the UnH2O Garden
Situated in front of the H2O Adventure Center at 4075 Gordon Drive in Kelowna.
The site was selected by the Parks Department in response to the OXA requesting a location to build a xeriscape demonstration garden. In the fall of 2009 the site was graded and following our initial hardscape plan, the concrete for the main promenade was poured. The site was then turned over to the OXA. Next, the landscape plan was completed and funding and donations sourced.
The soil on the site was excavation fill; full of concrete waste, gravel, rocks and hard-packed earth. In April 2010 this was removed to a depth of approximately one foot. Good garden soil was then brought in to fill planting areas and crush was brought in for the remaining pathways.
The soil was raked level in each of the planting beds, starting with the Native Plant and Pollinator Gardens and then plants were set out for teams of volunteers to plant following the OXA planting guidelines. Planting of the Mediterranean and Ornamental Grass Gardens followed.
Drip irrigation was then installed, tested and covered with Ogogrow mulch in each of the gardens.
A base of crush was made for the wall of the raised bed. This was soaked, tamped and levelled. Then the garden wall was constructed with built-in benches which were deemed to be aesthetically pleasing and also eliminated the high cost of indestructible free-standing benches. The raised garden was filled with soil and planted.
Large rocks were moved into the rock gardens and those two gardens were planted. One Rock Garden bed was mulched with gravel immediately. The gravel ran out and the second bed waited two months for mulch. There was a marked difference in performance between the mulched and identical unmulched specimens.
Signage and plant labels for the gardens were created and installed.
On September 24th the fence came down. Brochures are available to guide you as you enjoy the colourful plantings and to help you select plants for your own xeriscape gardens (in the garden under the main sign or you can download one here and print it off.) We hope you enjoy the garden and take away some of our passion for beautiful, water-efficient and regionally appropriate landscapes to apply in your own outdoor spaces.
Water in the Garden
The drip system under the mulch minimizes water use. The trees are on their own irrigation zone as their watering needs differ from the rest of the plants.
The Mediterranean Garden, two Rock Gardens, the Native Plant Garden and the Ornamental Grass Garden nearest the sidewalk contain very low-water use plants that will only be irrigated in the first year while they become established. The Pollinator Garden and the Ornamental Grass Garden on the far side of the mulched pathway will always need a small amount of supplemental water during dry periods.
The garden is a research tool. Records are kept by the OXA on water use in each garden and on plant performance. The garden is also used as an outdoor classroom to teach xeriscape classes offered by the OXA. It is maintained by volunteers.