Summerland gardens go with the flow

Project aims to reduce water use by up to 30 per cent at Summerland Ornamental Gardens

  • Aug. 2, 2012 10:00 a.m.
Eva Antonijevic

Eva Antonijevic

The Friends of the Summerland Ornamental Gardens Society is hoping to help Okanagan residents balance their desires for a beautifully landscaped yard with the reality of living in one of Canada’s driest regions.

To this end, the gardens will soon be launching a multifarious pilot water conservation project that Eva Antonijevic, the project’s manager, said will reduce the gardens’ water use by 15 to 30 per cent while educating and demonstrating to the public what can be done to save water.

“In the Okanagan, we have limited water resources and we feel that our gardens aren’t really up to scratch to be used as a demonstration for residents that are all now starting to be charged here for water usage, and we’d like to lead by example,” explained Antonijevic.

The project, which received funding from a number of organizations throughout B.C. and the Okanagan region, is broken down into a number of phases. The first, which will be happening over the next fortnight, is an irrigation audit to determine how much water the gardens use now. The second phase will be the installation of a number of water meters to track water use of different beds, allowing people to see the water use of different kinds of plants.

As well as stepping up the water measurement for the gardens, staff will be doing a massive overhaul on the plants’ lifeline during the hot summer months. The gardens’ 40-year-old “mishmash of irrigation” will be updated, with new heads being installed in some areas and drip lines being used in others. Drip lines are one of the most water-efficient methods of irrigation.

There will also be a number of low-water demonstration beds to cater to different people’s desires for their gardens.

“We’re going to be filling several transitional gardening beds that still have a traditional esthetic, a cultivated and proper kind of a garden, but still planted with low-water plants,” said Antonijevic.

As well, the gardens also features a demonstration two-acre xeriscape garden, which consists entirely of plants that, while beautiful, can naturally survive and thrive in the harsh climate.

Complementing these efforts, the gardens society will be holding public workshops on different ways to make one’s garden more water efficient, from using irrigation calculators to growing native plants to the region.

The lessons the gardens society are trying to impart on the Okanagan population are much needed, said Corinne Jackson of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, one of the funders of the project.

The Okanagan region is a special place, she explained, where there is less water per person than anywhere else in the country. However, people who live in the region use more than double the water of their counterparts across the nation — 675 litres per day, as opposed to 329. Of all the water used, roughly 25 per cent of that goes to outdoor use.

Jackson said people need to face the reality of living in a hot, dry climate, rather than keep their gardens alive with unsustainable water use, adopting water conservation practices and choosing native drought-resistant plant material that are not only beautiful but water efficient as well.

“Look at where we live. We don’t live in Vancouver or Seattle where they get much more rain and where you can expect to have the English country garden,” she said. “That’s not natural here. We should be proud of the beautiful sense of place where we live. It’s beautiful, and we just need to learn to live with what we have.

“If everyone did their part to conserve and use less, we would be in a much better situation. I don’t think we’re in a sustainable place right now,” she added.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Granfondo is going ahead in Penticton this September. (Western file photo)
BREAKING: Granfondo is a go in Penticton

Axel Merckx pushed the event to September in hopes of a ‘full Fondo experience’

A former client credits her 33 years of sobriety and happiness to all the care she received over the years at Pathways.
LETTER: Client credits 33 years of sobriety to Pathways staff

“Nothing could replace Pathways either in efficiency or in value for cost.”

Overhead lights have been installed at the Oliver skatepark so kids can enjoy the park longer during winter hours. (Argon photo)
Community lights up Oliver skatepark, calling it a ‘game changer’ for youth

Both the dog park and Small Wheels Skatepark have lighting now

Pathways
LETTER: Pathways chair says ‘wet houses’ can be part of solution but only with proper supports

Sherry Ure says we need to all come together and help our neighbours

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

(Black Press Media file photo)
COSAR called to rescue missing skier near Big White

Fortunately, the skier found his way out of the area

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

YouTube.
LETTER: Stop torture of horses

Summerland woman calls for the end of shipping of live horses to Japan

A group of men pose for a photo at the Griffin Lake internment camp. (Submitted)
Volunteers wanted to help commemorate internment camps in Shuswap

There were six camps along the Highway 1 cooridor between Sicamous and Revelstoke.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Carson Meikle prepares a hot beverage while his mother, Jenna Meikle, is busy in the background at The Night Cafe, located at 146 Lakeshore Drive. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Artistic Shuswap entrepreneurs branch into culinary arts with The Night Café

Adam and Jenna Meikle grateful for ongoing community support

Most Read