Innovative Landscaping for Water Conservation (2 Grants)
Organization: Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens
The Summerland Ornamental Gardens comprise the leading publicly accessible botanical collection in the Okanagan and are one of its top public attractions. The collections contain native and introduced ornamental plants set within a unique dry land ecosystem and include Canada's first and largest Xeriscape or water conservation demonstration landscape. Residents from throughout the Okanagan region are the principal visitors to the Gardens together with tourists from outside the region. The Friends of the Gardens provide horticultural, technical, and educational support for this unique collection. With a WCQI grant in 2012 they introduced and demonstrated leading edge, applied science based water conservation practices and technologies that can serve as a regional model for sustainable community and home-based water conservation landscaping in the Okanagan. This was achieved through a reduction in use and increase in efficiency of their traditional irrigation system.
In 2013, the Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens went a step further, demonstrating an ecological model for water conservation landscaping. This model used innovative passive on-ground and in-ground rainwater retention and storage technologies that percolate moisture into the soil during the growing season using rain as the sole water source. They also installed plant communities comprised of native species from the basin and other semi-arid regions and tested select drought-tolerant plants offered through local nurseries. The Friends demonstrated their work through multiple workshops and other public outreach events.