OXA Plant Sale 2022

Gardening with Nature

Article by Sigrie Kendrick

Exciting Xeriscape Plants available at OXA annual sale

The annual Okanagan Xeriscape Plant Sale— our primary fund-raiser— is set for May 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 840 Old Vernon Rd. in Kelowna.

OXA was formed in 2009 and in its early years, was only able to offer plants for sale that had been propagated from the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden created by OXA on Gordon Drive in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre.

As our organization has grown, we are now able to source new and different cultivars, significantly expanding the selection of drought-tolerant plants available for sale. All are carefully selected and have been propagated from either seed or baby plants, and have been successfully grown in gardens throughout the Okanagan Valley.

As a self-professed plant addict, poring over wholesale seed catalogues in the depth of winter, dreaming of spring, makes it extremely difficult to refrain from ordering it all.

But I asked myself, ‘What is a constant challenge for gardeners?’

Solomon's Seal 'Giganteum' and lamium xeriscape planting

A graceful Solomon’s Seal, or Polygonatum commutatum ‘Giganteum’ shows off in bloom at the back of this dry, shady xeriscape garden, with a variety of Lamium and a Bergenia in front.

One challenge that resonated with me was growing in dry, but shady beds, so OXA will be offering several plants that perform well under those conditions.

A truly stunning perennial for those dry, shady spots is Polygonatum commutatum ‘Giganteum’ which is often referred to as an architectural plant in the garden because of its graceful shape.

Commonly known as Solomon’s Seal, it features showy pale green fern-like leaves that stand out in a shade environment and provide interest throughout the growing season, even while not in bloom.

The blooms of Polygonatum commutatum appear in late spring and also stand out in the shade. They are a creamy white, with a tubular, bell-shaped form and are pleasantly fragrant, drooping beneath the ferny foliage. Those are followed in fall by deep purple berries.

Solomon’s Seal is best planted towards the back of the border due to its size, reaching up to seven feet in height in ideal conditions. Native to Eastern North America, it is poisonous, so makes an excellent choice for gardens browsed by deer.

Solomon's Seal 'Giganteum'
Goat's Beard- great shady loving xeriscape plant

Another spectacular choice for a dry shade garden is Aruncus dioicus, commonly known as Goat’s Beard.

This is also a large perennial reaching 4-6 feet tall with a spread of 2-4 feet.

Aruncus dioicus is often confused with Astilbe as it features similar foliage and flower form.
The showy plumes of creamy-white flowers bloom from early to mid-summer and attract both bees and butterflies.

Aruncus dioicus is hardy in zones 3-7, so is an excellent choice for shade gardens throughout the Okanagan.

A fantastic under-storey plant which can be treated as a living mulch under these two behemoths is Lamium maculatum.

Commonly known as Spotted Dead Nettle, it is a mat-forming herbaceous perennial that serves as an effective weed-suppressant.

This year OXA is offering the cultivar ‘Beacon Silver’, featuring silvery heart-shaped leaves with a green edge. ‘Beacon Silver’ blooms in shades of lavender in late spring and is extremely long blooming, continuing sporadically through to autumn.

Lamium maculatum spreads quickly as the stems will root where they touch the soil. This tough perennial is virtually pest and disease-free and not favoured by deer.

Lamium, spotted dead nettle xeriscape ground cover

Peruse our plant database for more specific information on these and the many xeriscape plants well-suited to our semi-arid environment.

As a group blog and forum, we really appreciate your contributions and comments and hope to create a blossoming community of xeriscape gardeners well as a valuable archive of articles.

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