KubotaoftheOzarks

Xeriscape your way to gardening efficiency

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Master Gardeners of Greene County on a work day in the Xeriscape Garden in Springfield.

Master Gardeners of Greene County on a work day in the Xeriscape Garden in Springfield. Already, the fall berries are in abundance.

If you’re concerned about increasingly hot summer temperatures, decreasing rainfall and the increasing cost of water to sustain your plants — but still want to have a beautiful garden, xeriscape gardening might be for you.

“Xeriscaping is an excellent way to plan a landscape that has minimal maintenance, efficiently uses resources, and minimized the impact of the landscape on the environment,” says Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with the University of Missouri Extension.

Xeriscaping includes planning and designing a garden for water conservation, creating practical turf areas, selecting low water plants, using soil amendments and mulches, irrigating efficiently and correctly and also maintaining the landscape properly.

“If you want to see a great example of xeriscaping, we have one in Springfield at the corner of South National and Linwood,” says Byers.

The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden was established in 1992 by the Greene County Master Gardeners to demonstrate the efficient use of water in landscaping while at the same time providing an interesting and attractive area for strolling and relaxing in an urban setting. It is located on South National Avenue and Linwood, just south of the Springfield Art Museum and just north of National Avenue Christian Church.

A xeriscape garden is divided in to three zones: high water use zone which depends on frequent irrigation, moderate water zone which uses less irrigation, and low water use zone which receives no supplemental irrigation.

“Plants are chosen for each zone based on their water needs,” Byers explains. “Shade and sun requirements, height, color, and blooming season also influence plant selection.”

The Xeriscape Garden demonstrates a wide selection of beautiful plants that can be grown with little or no irrigation. This demonstration garden has proven helpful to gardeners trying to decide which plants will work best in their individual landscaping situations.

The garden is beautifully maintained by members of the Master Gardeners of Greene County, a University of Missouri Extension volunteer program. The garden is sponsored by the Springfield Parks Department, City Utilities of Springfield and the University of Missouri Extension.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A video tour of the Xeriscape Garden in Springfield is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DggH3u0Ky0

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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