EDMOND — Residents soon will have a model example when it comes to water conservation. In conjunction with Oklahoma State University’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Department, the Edmond Parks and Recreation Department is in the midst of creating a low-water use garden at Bickham-Rudkin Park at 33rd and Rankin streets. The xeriscape demonstration garden is scheduled to be completed by September and will feature low-water use plants. Educational signs will show others how they can cultivate a similar garden at their own home. "I think it will serve as an alternative to high-use water landscaping and as a community display for plants that can survive here in central Oklahoma,” said Earl London, assistant director for the Edmond Parks and Recreation Department. "It will show what types of low water use plants can survive the weather conditions, not only the hot months of July and August, but the December and January severe winter as well.” Xeriscaping is landscaping that uses low-water methods and plants. While it is commonly associated with rocks, cacti and yucca plants, the display garden in Edmond will show that it can include much more.. Junipers, honeysuckles, hollies, sages, cone flowers, sun flowers, butterfly bushes and irises are some of the 80 different types of lower-water use plants that will call the garden home. London said the roughly $65,000 project is beyond the preplanning stages and is about 75 percent complete. While the plants have been ordered from TLC Florist and Greenhouse, the OSU Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and Design Department is currently looking for master gardeners and volunteers to help plant the garden later this summer. Michael Holmes, an assistant professor of the landscape architecture design department at OSU, said his department was heavily involved in the design of the 7,000 square-foot garden. They also will provide information for the educational signs that will be on display. Holmes said they are trying to group similar types of plants in the same area. There will be a low-water use plant area and a moderate-water use area so people can get a sense for what types of plants would work well together. People tend to set up gardens based on what looks attractive and not on what types of plants work well together, London said. The xeriscape garden will show people how to get the best of both worlds. "We want to get people to think about the kinds of plant materials they want to look at for their type of property,” said Steve Commons, Edmond’s assistant city manager.
Did you know?What is xeriscape gardening? Michael Holmes, an assistant professor for the Oklahoma State University Landscape Architecture and Design Department, helped with the planning and design of the xeriscape garden at Bickham-Rudkin Park. He helped shed light on what xeriscape gardening is and the seven basic principles it follows. 1. Proper planning and designing: finding the best area for low-water use plants based on how much sunlight and water they will receive in a certain area. 2. Soil analysis: making sure the soil can retain water and help the plants use water in an efficient way. 3. Using practical turf areas: selecting the right type of turf or grass that will work best with the plants in the garden when it comes to water use. Long, narrow patches of turf are discouraged because they are more difficult to water than square or block-shaped patches. 4. Plant selection: choosing similar plants that will thrive in the designated xeriscape garden area based on water use and the amount of sunlight they will need. 5. Efficient irrigation: low-volume irrigation or drip systems help sustain plants without using more water than necessary. 6. Use of mulches: mulch — a protective cover placed on top of the soil — helps water seep into the plants, keeps it from evaporating too quickly and helps protect a plant’s roots from direct exposure to sunlight. 7. Appropriate maintenance: proper pruning, weeding and fertilizing of the garden.