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Visit the Demonstration Gardens for Water Saving Tips



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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Our broadcast this morning is from the Demonstration Gardens at the Jordan Valley Water Conservation District ( JVWCD). The Jordan Valley Water Conservation Gardens are located at 8215 South 1300 West in West Jordan. The garden is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission is free. Visit today and talk to local vendors of native plants, sprinkler suppliers and other garden product information. The following information is courtesy of the JVWCD. Some 50 percent of the water usage occurs during hot summer months. Slowing the flow on lawns and gardens is a step in the right direction. Homeowners can carry out some simple steps to transform the landscapes into water conserving landscapes. This is best done through using the right plants in the right places with the right watering system. Last year they completed six “themed” gardens featuring six mock residential landscapes ranging from typical bluegrass to a highly water efficient plantings. According to the JVWCD general manager David Ovard the demonstration gardens are designed as an educational tool for the public to learn about water-wise landscaping. The Neighborhood Garden is 1.5 acres in size and was completed during the fall of 2000 for a total cost of $367,600. It features six themed yards, or landscapes, along a mock residential street. These landscapes demonstrate water-efficient practices that can be used as attractive alternatives to a typical predominantly bluegrass landscape. Each yard has its own water meter to monitor the actual amount of water being applied, so irrigation is tracked throughout the season and posted for comparisons. The six yards include: Traditional Utah Landscape, Modified Traditional Landscape, Woodland Landscape, High Mountain Desert Landscape, Harvest Landscape and the Perennial Landscape. The Garden Park is 1 acre in size and was completed in the fall of 2001 for a total cost of $481,700. The Garden Park is less formal, with wandering paths, a dry creek bed, bridges, and a public bathroom open during garden hours. Plants in the Garden Park range from Utah natives to vegetables, turf grasses and ornamental grasses. The selections of alternative turf grasses offer a range of color, texture and irrigation is individually metered and posted for comparison purposes. Vegetable gardens illustrate drip irrigation and an annual flower garden shows off colorful and drought tolerant annuals. A weather station in the Garden Park measures evaportanspiration and precipitation to guide precise irrigation in all of the Water Conservation Demonstration Gardens. JVWCD re-landscaped its administrative headquarters site (approximately 2 acres) in the summer of 2000 to provide an example of a Commercial Landscape for a total cost of $133,600. An area of 100% bluegrass lawn was reduced to 24% lawn. JVWCD provides a model commercial landscape ordinance for cities to adopt, and the Commercial Landscape around the administration building follows the criteria of the ordinance. The re-landscaping includes a retrofit of the existing irrigation system, more hardscape and pathways, and parking strips and other areas converted from turf to trees, shrubs and perennials. The first stop is the demonstration garden education area. Here are educational brochures and pamphlets and other information about the programs that the conservancy district is conducting. Be certain to pick up the information and the plant list before proceeding on the tour. It is conveniently arranged in a checklist form so you can note those plants that appeal to you. The demonstration garden is called “The Neighborhood.” It represents a mock residential street that has three different yards on each side. Sidewalks meander through these gardens so visitors can look for alternatives for typical bluegrass landscapes. Look in the Gathering Area for some suggestion for several trees waterwise trees. Among the featured types are Idaho Locust, Honeylocust, Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn and Kentucky Coffee Tree. The “Traditional Utah” landscape is typical of a subdivision along the Wasatch Front. It has mostly bluegrass turf and the rest of the area is planted to commonly used landscaped plants. It has the highest water use of any of the landscapes. The “Modified Traditional Utah” is similar in appearance to the previous garden. It is designed to significantly reduce water use. Perennial gardens offer a way to reduce water use and the “Utah Perennial” garden is no exception. It is an informal design with colorful flowers in bed and borders. These are designed so they offer maximum color with less water. Stop at the “Woodland Landscape” for a feeling of a mountain retreat. It is designed to evolve into a dry shady garden with an informal feel. It uses primarily native trees and shrubs that, once established, will require little supplemental irrigation. It is a natural design that will work well with for a more rustic design. For those who like to grow edible plants, the “Harvest Garden” will have particular interest. The grape arbor is a prominent feature and the herb garden adds a special touch for the waterwise garden. The most water thrifty garden is the “High Mountain Desert”. This mountain desert appearance is typical of the Great Basin. It makes abundant use of native plants and rock mulch to conserve and stretch precious water resources. It will need little supplemental water once it is established. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Thanksgiving Point Office

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