OXA Projects– The UnH20 Garden
The UnH2O Demonstration Garden started with a dream to show people the beauty and functionality of xeriscape gardening. The Okanagan Xeriscape Association wishes to thank everyone for their contributions that made the dream a reality and welcomes everyone to visit the garden, situated in front of the H2O Adventure Center at 4075 Gordon Drive in Kelowna.
The goal of this public garden is to show the beauty and versatile range of garden styles that can be achieved using xeriscape principles. Xeriscape is much more than rocks and cactus. It is a garden landscape that requires little to no supplemental water from irrigation. This is an important concept to embrace in a near-desert valley.
The 4,000 square foot garden, planted in 2010, has five theme areas to illustrate possibilities in a xeriscape. The Mediterranean Garden, two Gravel Gardens, the Native Plant Garden and the Ornamental Grass Garden nearest the sidewalk all contain very low water use plants only be irrigated in the first year while they became 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 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 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. As with all gardens, this one will evolve over time.
We hope you enjoy the garden and share our passion for beautiful water-efficient and regionally-appropriate landscapes to apply in your own outdoor spaces.
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 leveled. 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 un-mulched 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.
THANKS TO OUR DONORS
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of the Environment; the City of Kelowna; the Okanagan Basin Water Board; and with the assistance of the local landscaping industry and many volunteers.
We wish to thank the following donors for their generous contributions of materials and labour:
Waterwise Landscape Design
Construction Labour & Equipment
Eco Edge Landscaping
Lifeforce Landscape Maintenance Co
Tostenson Excavating Services
Synergy Landscape Design– bobcat usage and plants
YMCA-YWCA – labour and classroom space
Waterkind Consulting- design
Van-Kel Irrigation- parts
Blue Fox Nursery
AG Appel- soil
Classic Compost- soil
City of Kelowna- Ogogrow
BC Rocks- crushed gravel and feature rocks
OK Builders Supplies- garden block
Basalite Concrete Products- garden block