Friday, June 1, 2012

2012 Water-Wise Landscape Tour


The 2012 Water-Wise Landscape Tour is Saturday, June 2 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This is an opportunity to see and gather ideas from 19 private gardens and 7 public demonstration gardens throughout the Dallas area that are landscaped to use less water than typical Dallas landscapes. There are also micro talks at various sites. Links to photos, videos and plant lists for each are available at the main link above.

The tour is free and self guided. Click here for a copy of the tour map.

And, no, the Plano Prairie Garden is not on the tour. I applied three years ago when I thought I was almost finished with my garden. The judges said my garden was not ready and turned me down. Since then, I have started more projects and made the garden less tour ready than I thought it was three years ago. Maybe one day I will try again. I just want to show my neighbors that I am not nuts for not having a lawn. Or at least show them that I am not the only nut out there that thinks there are alternatives to lawns.

14 comments:

  1. You should go for it again next year. One of the winning locations on this year's tour (Location #3) looks very similar to your property.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Ed. I went to location 3 since it was near my home. The homeowners have several of the same plants that I do. The small front yard was swarming with people and the lady of the house was excitedly telling people about her plants.

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  2. Your garden is beautiful and the equal of those on the tour. You should definitely try again. The one winner in Plano has quite a bit of lawn for a watersaver tour.

    You are not nuts, just on the leading edge of a trend. The drought and water restrictions must have had some impact or maybe not.

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    1. Shirley, I stopped by the one in Plano too. The front yard was standard issue for Plano. The backyard was pretty nice. Lots of covered patio space, pathways, native plants, compost bins and rain barrels.

      Plano is easing up on its watering restrictions this week. Outdoor watering will be allowed twice a week instead of only once. Last year's drought is just a distant memory now.

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  3. Hey Plano, I have not had any lawn at my residence since 2005, when I started gardening drought tolerant style here in the Pacific Northwest. One day I came home and said enough mowing, a week later it was all removed. It was one of the best things I ever did to my yard. But the greatest thing is that we have more flowering material then anyone else in the neighborhood.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Beech Street. Lawn be gone in one week? That is quick. I am still working on getting rid of mine. Like you, I have more color and life in my garden than any yard around.

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  4. From what you show on your blog, your garden is quite attractive, but I understand the ongoing projects. We're slowly chipping away at our lawn, replacing it with different gardens. Right now we're claiming we're three years into a ten year plan.

    I wish we had a tour like this on the Fort Worth side of the metroplex.

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    1. Thanks for the comment Tucker and Rebecca. The published photos are carefully selected. I generally don't show the unfinished areas. And then I keep thinking of new projects and each one of them seems to create another project. I think real gardeners always have projects going on.

      I am surprised that FW does not have a drought tolerant garden tour. Don't they say that Fort Worth is where the west begins?

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  5. I can't go on the tour because of work, but I wish there was a similar event in conjunction with the annual Live Green Plano highlighting your yard and other efforts in our over-sprinkled community!

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    1. That is a good idea Collagemama. A couple of years ago, the city organized a "Get on the Bus" tour where they shuttled a DART bus full of people to five or six drought tolerant gardens in Plano and one in North Dallas.

      Have you been to the Environmental Education Center on Plano Parkway? The building is LEED certified and they just planted the landscape with drought tolerant plants. I have not been there since they planted the gardens, but plan to go soon.

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  6. Not to be too judgmental of the judges, but after viewing the 2012 'winners', I strongly prefer the look you've created over their ideas of waterwise. First, many of them contain waaay too much turf. Also, I'm just not in to the formal space concepts of the last hundred years. Natural landscapes and waterwise are the wave of the future. And third, LIGULARIA is NOT a waterwise plant by anyone's standard.
    In regards to judges: My daylily friend offered to put his collection on tour and was turned down year after year. He has a world class collection, is a recognized hybridizer, and sells the things at $200 a pop. So why was he turned down? He lived in our common, run of the mill neighborhood instead of the rich neighborhoods in other parts of the city. So don't feel bad. It may be that your neighborhood's not ready, not your garden. There's also politics involved even in the best of groups and it becomes something like...'You know, Mildred has volunteered so often up at the arboretum, we should include her.' Not to say that that's the case in your waterwise tour, but it does happen. On a positive note, your garden is always on tour with the butterflies! I'll tell you one other piece of advice: enjoy your garden and NEVER feel bad about missing out on a garden tour. Your blog reaches thousands and thousands...many more than you know. One last thing: never burn a bridge, so if this comment is going to be viewed by any of the waterwise people, don't post it. Best Wishes for your wonderful Plano Prairie Garden.
    David/:0)

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  7. I'm back.
    Sorry for the above rant, but when I saw your post I knew for sure you would be on the tour. I think if it weren't a waterwise tour I would not be so harsh. I can't imagine a more waterwise gardener than yourself. And yes, you should definitely apply again.
    As far as the gardens on the tour go; any garden is wonderful. I find that there are many, many landscapes around but very few true gardeners these days. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of homes in my neighborhood, there are only a handful. So, hats off to them all, waterwise...semiwaterwise...or other.
    David/:0)

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    1. So, David, how do you really feel?

      You are right. Some of the waterwise landscapes still use quite a bit of water, but I am sure the current landscapes use less than the previous ones. There is one garden on the tour where the owner advertises on her plant list that her “Property is watered twice weekly with sprinkler system and drip irrigation system: 10 minutes per station for the sprinklers; 2 hours per station for the drip irrigation.” That does not seem like the most efficient watering plan, but she says it saves 100,000 gallons of water annually over the prior Tiff lawn.

      As for the selection process, the tour usually includes a wide variety of gardens. Some are obviously gardener’s gardens and then others will sometimes make you wonder why they were selected. Of course there are almost always a few gardens installed around big, new houses and pools that look like a bunch of money was paid to have somebody design and plant the garden, but the homeowner never did and never will get any dirt under their fingernails. I think this is what appeals to the general public and probably a consideration in the selection process. My garden is a plant garden and it probably only appeals to people that like plants. You will not find a big fancy house or expensive hardscapes here.

      When I applied for the tour a couple of years ago, it really was too soon. The front yard was just planted and a little sparse. The backyard was more mature, but I was in the process of changing from stepping stones to decomposed granite pathways. The funny thing is that I never even considered that my garden would not be selected for the tour. I guess it was because I had seen a few gardens on the tour before that were less than impressive.

      Maybe I will try again sometime. I don’t know. I am not sure that I really want strangers walking around in my garden. Besides that, the garden is usually past its spring peak by early June. In the meantime, I will give private tours to anyone that asks.

      And I agree with you. Any garden is a good garden. We all have different tastes and what I like may not appeal to someone else. Regardless, it is always nice to see someone that takes a little interest in their home and neighborhood.

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    2. PRIVATE TOURS! Hey, that's why you're such a terrific guy! Giving private tours is probably the best possible way to reach others and share ideas. I saw Rock-Oak-Deer's post about your place and it was wonderful!
      Your quote, "My garden is a plant garden and it probably only appeals to people that like plants" is what makes all this gardening vs landscaping worth pondering on many levels. It could be a post all unto its own. Why do we landscape our homes if we don't like plants and don't even know their names? Strange world.
      I am getting ready to do a post on great landscapes for homes, but not a single person is ever outside with the landscapes and they seem to be set up by landscapers and then put on 'autopilot' with sprinklers and mowing crews. In a way it's like a garden, but really it isn't one in spirit. Thanks for all the food for thought.
      David/:0)

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