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Steele: Water-wise landscape enhances Kelowna industrial area
The winner of the Best Commercial Landscape in the 2013 Okanagan Xeriscape Garden Contest was Cellar-tek.
In 2011 the owners of Cellar-tek approached Lisa Masini, of Waterwise Landscape Design.
They asked Masini to design an environmentally friendly landscape that reflected their leadership in sustainable practices as well as an attractive front to their business that would welcome customers while improving the look of the neighbourhood on a largely concrete-ridden commercial street.
The design addressed the need to keep dogs and people out of the beds, prevent graffiti on the southern wall, and create an exciting approach to the main doors of Cellar-tek.
The hardscape incorporates two low garden-block walls around the planting beds with a series of black metal tubular railings accentuating two large west facing beds and the south facing bed beside the entrance.
Black metal lattices along the south wall provide a structure for Clematis ligusticifolia, a fast-growing native white clematis.
To create simplicity, a limited number of plant species were used. An innovative combination of native and non-native plants provides four season interest.
All the plant species chosen are drought tolerant, needing only up to maximum of seven inches of supplemental watering per year, once established.
Brown-eyed susans (Gaillardia aristata) bloom profusely from June to frost. They have naturalized to fill in.
Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) has vibrant silver foliage similar to lavender. Its yellow bloom is a highlight in August and September.
Sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata) shrub keeps its attractive silver foliage year round.
Heuchera cylindrica is an evergreen mound with stalks of white flowers in spring.
All of these Okanagan native plants are available from local native plant nurseries.
A specimen of Ravenna grass (Erianthus ravennae) forms a focal point on each side of the entrance. These provide winter interest, so are not cut back until spring.
Dwarf Mugo pines provide a touch of evergreen.
Royal Burgundy barberry shrubs provide a burgundy foliage contrast.
Crocus and fritillaria bulbs bloom in spring.
The landscape was designed with drought-tolerant and low-water plants to avoid the need for an irrigation system. Plants were hand-watered the first year to become established.
A small amount of supplemental hand watering was needed in 2012 and less in 2013 for the barberry shrubs, ravenna grass, and clematis.
Moisture is conserved by a two inch depth of fluffy cherry bark mulch applied in 2011, with a top-up of two inches of fir mulch in 2013.
Annual maintenance required for this landscape is approximately 15 hours which includes watering, weeding, cutting back perennials, weekly garbage pick-up, and spring and fall clean up.
June 2013 comment to Lisa Masini received the following comment from Cellar-tek executive Peter Glockner this past June: “The landscaping looks beautiful! We’ve had lots of compliments from other building owners and winery owners who pop in and I’m certain that your landscaping has a lot to do with the overall appeal and impression they get from the place.”