What does Xeriscaping mean?

Discussion in 'Gardening for Water Conservation' started by jimweed, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    Is this a real word? Jim.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It means growing only drought-tolerant plants, so that (apart from initial establishment) you never need to water the garden, even in semi-desert regions.

    From Greek ξερος (xeros), dry, + [land]scaping.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Ahh! that must be what they encourage us to do here in Oz. given the water situation. Things one learns.

    Liz
     
  4. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    Very interesting Michael, thank you for the info, I really had no idea.

    It sure looks like a great word for Scrabble!

    Jim.
     
  5. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Here's a section in my xeriscape garden. This area never needs water even in the driest summers. Winters are very rainy (Vancouver Island) and good drainage is essential.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  6. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    LPN, Looks more like your from Lantzville Arizona! Nice garden. Gotta have a skull if ya gotta xeriscape garden, cool touch.

    I guess weeds have a hard time thriving in that garden, and if you don't have to water, I assume xeriscaping is becoming a more common. Thus the new thread.

    Jim.
     
  7. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    A desert garden qualifies, but any species that's happy with the local precipitation regime would qualify as a 'xeriscape' plant. For us in Florida, one of the handiest is Helianthus debilis, the native beach sunflower. It really lives at the beach and has a creeping habit that means a single plant can spread to cover a substantial area. Thompson & Morgan are selling seed of what seems to be the bushier Gulf Coast variety.

    Our climate is hot & soggy in the summer, dry and coolish in the winter.
     
  8. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Guys: I believe that the word ' xeriscape' is actually a copyrighted word owned by an organization that coined the word a few years ago for the purpose of describing a (then) new idea in gardening.To use the dry gardening term in a publication might require a license. Don't know how you chek it out, but I remember having a problem with having used the term some15-18 years ago.
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It's mentioned in Wikipedia: [WIKI]xeriscaping[/WIKI]. The word Xeriscape is trademarked (different from copyright), but not xeriscaping.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    USPTO web site has information about patents (P) and trademarks (T), both generally and specifically. I use it to get descriptions of patented plants.
     
  11. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I followed Ron B's suggestion and checked the USPTO website. Their search system turned up a Service Mark for "Xeriscape Creations" owned by Green Lizard Landscapes in Nevada, plus two "dead" usages. Nothing for the word "Xeriscape" by itself.

    1 78950802 XERISCAPE CREATIONS TARR LIVE
    2 78601432 GET XRATED XERISCAPE GARDENING TARR DEAD
    3 74232790 THE XERISCAPE NURSERY TARR DEAD

    http://www.xeriscape.org/ claims "Xeriscape" is a trademark of Denver Water.
     
  12. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    My advanced state of maturation made me a little confused re: copyright/ trademark, whatever. Thanks for the follow-up and clarification. I appreciate it. There was just something about it that was still hanging around in the recesses of my mind. Chuck
     
  13. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Whatever. I think the folks in Denver (which relies on water from the oversubscribed Colorado River Basin) were simply being urged to replace their "traditional English gardens" with something a bit more in synch with the rather dry Denver climate. I admit to having had a very "English" but very tiny garden when I lived in Cody, Wyoming. The Camassias and Asiatic lilies were memorable.
     
  14. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member

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    Even here in rainy ole Vancouver we have watering restrictions in the summer. I finally dug out the annoying strip of lawn by the sidewalk that gets brown every summer and am having fun trying out this concept. It sure looks a lot more interesting than dying grass.
     
  15. unther

    unther Active Member

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    More than simply planting only species that don't require any supplemental irrigation, a broader concept of xeriscaping involves grouping plants and parts of one's garden according to water requirements. The idea being not necessarily that one never irrigates (except while plants are becoming established)--although this is certainly not a bad idea, especially when one employs rain barrels and the like--but that one isn't always watering one's entire garden. For example, my Penstemon certainly don't need nearly as much water as my tomatoes, so it wouldn't make much sense to irrigate them in the same way. I'd build my rock garden in a mostly sunny spot and plant all my Penstemon, Eriogonum, Sedum, cacti and such there and then plant the veggie garden in a small area that gets morning sun and maybe a bit of early or mid-afternoon shade--the rock garden can totally fend for itself and I can give the veggies only as much water as they need. If I want a small area for plants that like more moisture, maybe I'd grade part of my garden such that I'd have a small catch basin that collects runoff. If I decide that I absolutely must have a lawn (for the record, I hate lawns and am gradually eliminating mine), then I'd decide why I want it and how I expect to use it and then plant and maintain ONLY that much of it--any pre-existing lawn not necessary for the defined function is eliminated. Xeriscaping is as much about appropriate and responsible water management as it is about water conservation.
     
  16. atyee07241945

    atyee07241945 Member

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    we live in Northern New Jersey and we believe in drought tolerant plants to cut down on the water useage. I have dug up the lawn on the apron and replaced with Myrtle and a varigated clippings of ground cover we rooted before hand. This is an ongoing long term project. I am currently trying to figure out an elegant way to shrink the size my front lawn. I have already created two small areas for planting carpet roses and other bushes. I have collected odd rocks and have built two small drywalls to demarcate this area. I figure to keep up the rock collecting and maybe build a low drywall around most of the lawn. High traffic Drought tolerant grass is my answer to the lawn for now.
     
  17. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I read that the water was scarce there this year.

    Probably a good year for people to apply xeriscaping in part or whole.
     
  18. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    It is an often held fallacy, that it is essential to xeriscaping to employ dry-land plants. While they are very drought resistant, they often do little to protect the ground from moisture loss.
    I have already have significant water savings from converting our last remaining piece of front lawn into a rock garden, even though I only planted it last May. Such ground covers like the various thymes, snow in summer, various aubrietas as well as a wide variety of sedums (though not all) provide a very dense blanket of shade over the soil, which prevents sun and wind from drying it out, while giving off only a minimum of water through evapo-transpiration. Once a solid cover of these generally flat rooting ground covers has established itself, it is quite feasible to plant other, deeper rooting, perennials or shrubs right through them, giving them the benefit of the water preserving capabilities of the ground covers.

    I am going to try to attach a picture taken on Dec. 5 2007, after the first significant snow dump had come and gone. You will see, that this particular patch of landscaping is still very colourful, even in winter, when nothing blooms, compared with dry land plantings. [I have never attached any picture on this site before, so if your monitor explodes, be forewarned :)]

    Although it is now February, and the place has seen more snow and cold it still looks almost exactly as in December. As you can see in the picture, the ground is not yet completely covered, but I expect that to happen by June or July. By then weeds, which are now still germinating around the edges of the different patches of ground cover, will no longer be able to do so anywhere.
     

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  19. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you re the other types of plantings. I do that with our low growing natives and of course mulches be they rock , pebble, barks, shavings etc. This all helps to establish a good growing medium for the less drougt tolerant. Looking at your area it looks similar, wine tourism etc but we are probably a bit warmer in summer and you are way colder in winter. We don't get snow maybe a teaspoon once every quarter of a century. Our problam has been that we are only allowed to hand water twice a week for about an hour. We have been lucky with a few good falls of rain this summer. It's actualy raining steadily now. Like you my lawn is no longer, even tho the remmants are doing a good job at trying to stay. But then it never was a proper lawn more like converted paddock. Bit by bit I am planting it up. It will never look beautifuly formal but a cross between a bad hair day and masses of flowers with paths to connect the various garden rooms and the neighbour's large trees and the view as back drop. I am trying to alter my garden so it is self sufficient as I am not as agile as I was and I want it so that others are safe to trim it and work in it. I currently have a very garden savvy fellow to help about once a month.

    Liz
     
  20. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Best wishes in Victoria! Southern Florida is now under serious water restrictions, so maybe we'll see some second thoughts about lush lawns.

    To a surprising extent, we can have rather lush gardens with only minimal irrigation. My Archontophoenix and Carpentaria palms from northeastern Australia are thriving.
     
  21. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes the area the palms come from is VERY wet at the moment. They got our rainfall down here for one year in a day last week. They are floating off the map as we speak. Australia is a strange place in that half the place is in drought or fire while other areas are flooded. Parts of the north of Australia and areas like Sydney have really coped it with the rain (Monsoon).

    Hurricans are doing the western Australia coast at the moment as well. At least it has helped with getting the inland rivers flowing again. It will be a stunning place when the waters recede and the wildlife and plants take off with a rare drink.

    Liz
     
  22. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Liz,
    "I agree with you re the other types of plantings. I do that with our low growing natives and of course mulches be they rock , pebble, barks, shavings etc. This all helps to establish a good growing medium for the less drought tolerant. Looking at your area it looks similar, wine tourism etc but we are probably a bit warmer in summer and you are way colder in winter."
    You appear to know a lot about our Okanagan Valley, especially coming from "down under". Yes we are indeed semi arid with about 350 mm (14 inches) annual rain fall and top out at about 40^C (~104^F) in summer and -15 to -18 (0 to 5^F) in winter.
     
  23. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Florida's winter bursts of cold air mean that we sometimes have "red flag warnings" for fire hazard even as rain is pouring down. Dry air the next day can render the vegetation flammable.

    Meanwhile, Lake Okeechobee is drying out due to drought while Palm Beach County immediately to the east has suffered a remarkably wet year. All weather is local...

    Okanagan Valley's winter temperatures don't sound bad. I remember watching students at the University of North Carolina walking to class on a 0 degree F morning. None of them had adequate clothing.
     
  24. GranInOregon

    GranInOregon Member

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    I am in Oregon, Salem, so we have about the same weather. I would love to know what you do have planted; especially this "Xeriscaping." I had no idea what it was until coming here. Do you trade seeds? I'm new tonight and trying to locate that area. That's how I found this. I need all the help I can get from those who are experienced. I am really interested in the succulents and flowering cacti but did not know how they could survive in our rainy weather, like, 9 months out of the year.
    Any wise words of wisdom?

    Linda
     
  25. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Linda,
    When (or if) in Portland, the Leach Botanical Garden and (I think) the Berry Garden should have some good examples of how to grow trough and rock gardens. Leach has a lot of Penstemons.
     

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