Water conservation efforts urged

With 24 per cent of all Okanagan water used on household lawns and gardens, valley residents are encouraged to reduce outdoor water use.

Their neighbours were aghast when they scraped away the front lawn and replaced it with sand, peat moss and a pile of big rocks, admits dietician and fibre artist Janet Armstrong of Vernon.

It was 1992 and no one in the Okanagan had even heard of xeriscape.

Her partner, Lloyd Davies, is the passionate gardner.

“Lawns take time, water and energy, so I wanted to look at alternatives,” he said. “As a science guy, I recognize that we live in a semi-desert, so it just made sense. Anyway, flowers are prettier than lawn.”

A retired Okanagan College biology professor, Davies grew up in Peachland so he knows how naturally dry the valley is, and is familiar with the drought-tolerant plants that grow on the hillsides — outside irrigated yards and farms.

Some of those native plants, including saskatoons, columbines, bitterroot, balsamroot, nodding onions, chocolate lilies, penstemons and a variety of grasses, have found their way into various corners of their colourful landscape, surrounding their renovated 1940s-era home.

Today, that xeriscaped front yard is a riot of lush growth and colour that they enjoy year-round from their verandah and windows.  And, other than a little hand-watering in mid-summer, they never use the hose on it.

It’s a different matter in their vegetable garden, but it has been built carefully and situated for maximum water retention and sunlight, and much of its moisture comes from rain barrels that catch runoff from the roof at each downspout.

Davies has also built a sturdy complex of compost boxes, filling them with yard and kitchen trimmings, and using the result to fertilize and mulch all his garden beds, conserving natural moisture around each plant in the process.

They planted a drought-tolerant lawn in back that goes dormant in summer, staying green – but not growing or requiring water.

With 24 per cent of all Okanagan water used on household lawns and gardens, and less water available per person than anywhere in Canada, valley residents are encouraged to reduce outdoor water use this summer.

Take the pledge to Make Water Work at www.MakeWaterWork.ca and enter to win $5,000 in WaterWise yard upgrades.

Take the pledge to:

o Water plants. Not pavement.

o Water between dusk and dawn.

o Leave lawn five to eight centimetres (two to three inches) tall.

o Leave grass clippings as mulch.

o Top dress with compost.

o Change out some lawn for drought-tolerant turf and/or native and low-water variety plants.


Make Water Work is an initiative of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and its Okanagan WaterWise program.



Just Posted

Concert raised funds for Agur Lake Camp

Tim Nutt was headline act at Comedy Night Fundraiser in Summerland

Summerland music promoter wins national award

Paul Biro honoured at 2019 CCMA Awards in Calgary

PET OF THE WEEK: Teddy wants a quiet home of his own

Older cat enjoys evenings spent binge-watching Bonanza

Fill a bag and help those in the South Okanagan in need

The annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive takes place this week in Penticton and Summerland

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Penticton man with multiple driving infractions loses appeal on ‘harsh’ sentence

Driver has been convicted multiple times, including for criminal negligence causing death

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

WHL action returns to Okanagan, Rockets GM anxious for season’s start

Big off-season changes, the Memorial Cup; it’s all coming together for Bruce Hamilton

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

Lake Country aims to find happy-medium in Airport Inn shutdown

Airport Inn residents will have until Oct. 5. to find a new home unless an appeal is approved

Okanagan resident recalls recovery journey after heart attack

Gerry Bakker shares his experience after his heart attack 16 years ago at the age of 48

Most Read