Learn about Xeriscaping and Native Plants With the Pros in New Mexico

Xeriscape installed by WaterWise Landscapes in Albuquerque, NM

What’s so bad about native plants? Nothing! Unfortunately, many native plants have been labeled as weeds. As water restrictions become tighter and tighter, this attitude may change. In the desert southwest, we are teaching gardeners that it’s okay to “go native.” There should not be one standard for a beautiful yard. What works well on one part of the country may require too much water and maintenance in another part of the country. For example, landscapes commonplace in New England struggle to survive in New Mexico.

Do you know what a Xeriscape is?

For those of you that do not live in the desert, this term may be unfamiliar. It is a landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilizes water-conserving techniques. This includes the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch, efficient irrigation, and water harvesting. The xeriscape concept has been misused in the past.

Some thought it was simply covering your entire yard with rocks and, perhaps, one lonely cactus. You can use drought-tolerant plants and efficient irrigation and still have a colorful, lively yard with flowers, fragrance, and hummingbirds as seen in last January’s blog post  Lots of Beauty ..very little water (Sandoval Co, New Mexico).

Undesireable "xeriscaping"
Xeriscaping is more than rock mulch and a lonely cactus. (Photo courtesy: Cheryl Kent, Bernalillo County Extension Agent, New Mexico)

Xeriscape by WaterWise Landscapes Inc. Albuquerque, NM
Beautiful xeriscape installation (Photo courtesy: WaterWise Landscapes Inc. Albuquerque, NM

2012 Xeriscaping Conference and Expo in Albuquerque, NM!

The Xeriscape Council of New Mexico is trying hard to provide education on xeriscaping, water conservation, the effects of climate change on gardening, and to generally create awareness about conserving nature in our own backyards.

The Xeriscape Council holds an annual Conference and Expo in Albuquerque NM in late February. The Conference is followed by a free two-day Expo with vendors and educational seminars.

New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension is involved in planning the conference, obtaining speakers, providing Master Gardener volunteers to help at the conference and Expo in all capacities (everything from giving out gardening advice to selling raffle tickets to support the council).

Please consider registering for this conference. We hope to see you there!

Collaborations for New Solutions
17th Water Conservation Conference & Xeriscape EXPO

Conference: February, 23-24 2012 • Crowne Plaza, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Xeriscape Expo:
February,  25-26 2012 • NM EXPO-Fairgrounds • Albuquerque, New Mexico

Please visit our website to learn more http://www.xeriscapenm.com/ , “like” us on our Xeriscape New Mexico Facebook page, or e-mail us at info@xeriscapenm.com.

So back to you, how might you be familiar with Xeriscaping?

  • Were you familiar with the xeriscape concept before reading this blog post?
  • Do you utilize xeriscape in your yard?
  • Can you give examples of beautifully xeriscaped gardens in your area for people to visit?

Cheryl Kent, Bernalillo County Extension Agent, New Mexico

2011 Search for Excellence Demonstration Garden Award Winner- 3rd Place

The Master Gardens of Carteret County- Carteret County, North Carolina

The rain garden located at the N. C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is used to teach about water quality.

The Carteret County Master Gardener’s demonstration garden project was established to address the needs of its community from its inception. Recognizing the ways in which development had changed the natural landscape, the Master Gardeners planned a series of gardens that addressed issues of rainwater capture,native plants, and vegetable garden management.

The Rain garden is part of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores where it shares its goal of water quality education. The herb/vegetable garden is located at the Beaufort Historic Site where it provides historic education and the butterfly garden is at the Core Sound Museum and Heritage Center where native plants are kept vibrant and visible. Between these three sites, the gardens are seen by half a million people each year.

To learn more about the Carteret County Master Gardener projects visit: http://carteret.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=lawngarden