Lots of beauty…very little water

Below is an update on a Water Wise Garden project from Sandoval County, NM. Linda Poe, a master gardener and garden project coordinator, provided the update.

The Challenge: How do you have a beautiful landscape and use less water in New Mexico @ 5000 ft with 9” or less annual rainfall?

The Gardens are designed as a template that homeowners can easily replicate in their own landscapes.  The WaterWise Garden illustrates different irrigation systems, the use of a variety of mulching materials and plants adapted to Sandoval County in New Mexico.

Water Wise Demo Garden

The original WaterWise Garden was established in 2001. In 2006 Master Gardeners began updates to the original garden. This energy initiated the garden expansions for the last 3 years. Master Gardeners planned and designed more water efficient, drought tolerant gardens. Master Gardeners established water harvesting enhancements and slope planting designs including paths connecting garden areas. Master Gardeners compiled a garden directory with maps, designed and installed signage, and designed one-page information sheets located in brochure boxes on site for visitors.

Approximately 9,000 visitors toured in 2008. Master Gardeners teach water savings to homeowners via the WaterWise Gardens. (2006 water savings in the gardens of 125 K gal. compared to 2005) Master Gardeners give tours specific to groups ~ such as homeowners, grade school children, university classes, and out of state extension directors. HGTV toured and filmed the garden for airing spring 2009 in an episode of Gardening by the Yard hosted by Paul James.

A photo of the garden is wrapped around the Rio Rancho Water Utility’s Van promoting the waterwise garden as it is seen around town.  The Garden was featured in the 2007 and is featured in the 2009 water utilities calendars given to residents of Rio Rancho with explanations by Master Gardeners of Xeric Gardening Techniques and WaterWise Principles through out its pages.

The WaterWise Garden is a template representing a hands-on learning tool for master gardeners and an easy duplicating experience for the community. The Gardens illustrate how Xeric comes to life in the high desert of the ~ Land of Enchantment ~ Thank you from Sandoval County Master Gardeners, New Mexico.

There is still time to get YOUR Search for Exellence application in before the February 1 deadline.

Best, Bill Hoffman – USDA/NIFA

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