By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Week of March 20, 2006
Do you have a xeriscape landscape?
If you do, consider the Contest for 2006.
Entries are now being accepted for the 2006 Watersaver
organizers are looking for individual homeowners who have installed
water-conserving landscapes with an eye for originality, ingenuity,
are two contest categories: existing xeriscapes designed by the
homeowner and existing xeriscapes created by a professional designer. Homeowners who have the winning landscape in
each of the categories will receive a $400 nursery gift certificate. Second place winners will receive a $200 certificate;
third place winners a $100 gift certificate.
Winning yards will also
be included in the annual Contest Tour scheduled for Saturday,
May 13, and Sunday, May 14, 2006.
To enter, pick up a contest brochure
available at most of the local nurseries and garden centers, the
San Antonio Botanical Garden, or contact Gardening
Volunteers of South Texas (GVST) at (210) 522-9220. Deadline to enter is Friday, March 31, 2006.
Submit the entry form along with a maximum of five color
photographs that display various views of your yard. For those homeowners who meet the contest criteria,
a panel of judges will make site inspections.
criteria includes low water usage, overall planning and design,
a wide array of low water use plants, appropriate use of turf,
creative use of hardscapes (walkways, decking, paving), use of
color, use of mulch, and how little maintenance the landscape
details are outlined in the contest brochure.
sponsors are the San Antonio Water System, Gardening Volunteers
of South Texas, San
Edwards Aquifer Authority, San Antonio River Authority, and San Antonio Parks and Recreation Natural
more information, contact GVST at (210) 522-9220, or Info@GardeningVolunteers.org.
xeriscape landscape is generally defined as an attractive landscape
that does not use much water.
It usually has less than 50% grass, and the lawn it has
is one of the drought tolerant grasses like zoysia, Bermuda
or buffalo grass.
are hundreds of wonderful native and well adapted plants that
qualify as xeriscape plants. Among
my favorites are:
Trees – live oaks, Texas red oak, Monterrey oak, cedar elm,
Chinese pistache, bur oak, Lacey oak, Montezuma cypress, chinkapin
oak, Texas redbud, Mexican plum, desert willow, and Arizona cypress.
Shrubs – hollies (yaupon, dwarf Chinese, Burford, possumhaw,
Nellie Stevens, and others) nandinas, viburnum, Texas
mountain laurel, old-fashioned roses, pomegranate, esperanza,
poinciana, firebush, wax myrtle, agarita, and pyracantha.
Perennials – iris, coneflowers, daylilies, daffodils, paperwhites,
Texas gold columbines,
salvia, Turks cap, and shrimp plant .
Annual flowers – moss roses, purslane, bluebonnets, larkspur,coreopsis,
poppies, vinca, and sunflowers.
Groundcovers – Asiatic jasmine, dwarf ruellia, spreading
juniper, monkey grass, and liriope.
Vines – Trumpet creeper, passion vine, Virginia creeper,
cross vine, butterfly vine, and coral vine.
xeriscape can include high water using plants like modern roses,
fruit trees, and vegetables, but they should be limited in terms
of total area, and arranged so they can be watered separately
from the low water use plants.