Steele: Take a tour in the unH2O xeriscape garden

Come see the late summer highlights in the five theme gardens and get your questions answered.

Join me Monday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, 4075 Gordon Dr., in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre, for a free guided tour of the garden.

I’ll be talking about late summer highlights in the five theme gardens and answering your questions.

The xeriscape garden is full of colourful blooms. This is a good time to visit the garden to get ideas for plants to add to your own garden to keep it blooming, with little additional water, through late summer and fall.

The unH2O Xeriscape Garden illustrates six points to consider ensuring that a garden looks good through to frost.

Long blooming plants: Look for the easy-care perennials such as Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, Echinacea ‘Magnus’, Coreopsis verticillata, and Aster frikartii.

Late blooming plants with good foliage: The gardens include three tall sedums blooming in August and September.

Plants are about 18 inches high and have excellent foliage throughout the season. Best known, sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ looks like a small blue-green shrub with broccoli-like buds mid summer.

The pink flowers open in August and change to red then rust through fall. Plants have great winter structure as well.

Sedum ‘Matrona’ is similar with burgundy-edged blue leaves and burgundy stems.

Sedum ‘Postman’s Pride’ has the darkest burgundy foliage, an excellent contrast to silver leaves.

Ornamental grasses: Their foliage provides varying shades of blue and green to show off colourful blooms and also creates restful transitions and changes in texture.

Blue oat grass, and blue fescue bloom in June and provide year round blue foliage.

More June bloomers, bronze tufted hair grass and blue gramma grass have attractive ‘flowers’ maturing to beautiful seed heads.

Taller ‘Heavy Metal’ switch grass blooms mid-August and provides movement with even the slightest breeze.

Most ornamental grasses provide winter interest and only require maintenance in spring when they are cut to just above the ground.

(Warning: Be sure to choose clump forming grasses, not spreaders).

Repeat blooming perennials: Lavender, yarrows, and catnip will bloom again at the end of summer if dead-headed after their first flowering.

Spring blooming plants with good foliage: Shrubs berberis ‘Cherry Bomb’ and ‘Diabolo’ ninebark have outstanding burgundy foliage. Evergreen Iberis ‘Little Gem’ is a miniature mounding shrub. ‘Dusseldorf Pride’ thrift forms an evergreen pincushion.

Long blooming annual fillers: Empty spaces in a new garden can be filled with easy-care long blooming annuals such as petunias.

For more ideas, check the plant database at Include the bloom month category in your search criteria.

I look forward to seeing you at the garden next Monday evening.

Reminder: Deadline to enter OXA’s Xeriscape Garden Contest is August 31. All entries are eligible for draw prizes. See OXA’s website (above) for details.

My next xeriscape classes are Oct. 15 and 22 or Oct. 17 and 24.

Details and registration information are on the OXA website.

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