Volunteers are the heart and soul of Okanagan Xeriscape Association

Dig with Sig winner

OXA executive-director Sig Kendrick and OXA volunteers work in a member’s garden. Lockie Bracken won the Dig with Sig in your own garden contest put on by OXA for members.

As with many not-for-profit organizations, the Okanagan Xeriscape Association is indebted to our many volunteers who help as board members, with social media, website design, plant propagation and sales and just plain old weed-pulling.

We are always striving to show our appreciation for their valuable help and recently were able to do so in a new and novel way. Every Friday we hold Dig with Sig, allowing interested gardeners to join me at one of our demonstration gardens. Volunteers come to help out with garden tasks, swap plants and seeds and generally share both garden successes and failures, as well as ask questions.

Recently we held a contest inviting all OXA members to enter to win a Dig with Sig in their own garden.

Our inaugural winner was a huge OXA supporter and long-time Rotarian, Lockie Bracken, whom I collaborated with this year on Rotary-sponsored pollinator gardens at Cameron and Sarsons Parks, and also at JoeAnna’s House in Kelowna.

Prior to the event I went to do a site inspection of Lockie’s garden and found a charming space with just enough challenges to keep those attending busy for a couple of hours.

On the Friday, I was joined by four volunteers who got to work pruning, weeding, planting, fixing irrigation and swapping out plant material.

They were enthusiastic for the chance to work in, and experience, a different garden. In fact, we all enjoy a good snoop around new-to-us gardens.

Newly-purchased Echinacea “Coral Craze”, Agastache “Blue Adder” and Heleborus took the place of struggling Ligularia and hybrid tea roses. These drought-tolerant replacement perennials will thrive with considerably less water and will withstand the ‘heat domes’ of the future. Swaths of tulips were planted in shades of white, lilac, and deep purple.

Some of the mature shrubs were in need of pruning for as is often the case in mature gardens, they had been planted too close together for their ultimate size.

A productive and enjoyable day was had by all and our gracious host treated us to fresh muffins and pears plucked from his own tree at the end of the morning’s work.

So, why not become a member of the Okanagan Xeriscape Association and enter to win our next roaming Dig with Sig? Head to our website at www.okanaganxeriscape.org to learn about the many other perks of membership in OXA.

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association is grateful for the ongoing financial support of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and is proud to be collaborating on the Make Water Work campaign.

Sigrie Kendrick is a master gardener and executive-director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association and can be reached at 778-363-8360 or by email at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

I inherited my passion for gardening from my Australian grandfather, a renowned rose breeder in New South Wales. My interest in water conservation started early after a childhood spent growing up in the desert of Saudi Arabia, when a day of rain was cause for a national holiday.

After meeting Gwen Steele, co-founder of the OXA through the master gardener program, I became passionate about promoting xeriscape. I joined the OXA board as a director in 2015 and became executive director in 2019.

When not promoting the principles of xeriscape and gardening for clients throughout the valley, I can be found on a rural property outside of Kelowna where I harvest thousands of litres of rainwater with which to water my own xeriscape gardens.

Connect with me at [email protected].

Visit the website at: www.okanaganxeriscape.org


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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