Gila College Xeriscape Garden Becomes Memorial

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Ed Lydic died Oct. 22, 2003, but his memory is living on in multiple ways in the Rim Country.

Books on xeriscape techniques from his estate and donated by others as well are part of the Payson Public Library's collection, all given in Lydic's memory by the High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona. Many Rim residents remember Lydic as "Crazy Ed" and as a dynamic fund-raiser.

With the renaming of the low water-use demonstration garden at Gila Community College in Payson, his memory will become a permanent fixture for everyone.

The garden, which opened to the public in Oct. 2003, will be dedicated as the Ed Lydic Memorial Xeriscape Garden in a ceremony Aug. 11.

The dedication will be held at 4 p.m. in Room 400 of Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson.

Work by the HCXCA began on the demonstration garden in early Jan. 2003. With the guidance of Lydic and others, the Xeriscape Council obtained grants to design, create and maintain the garden.

It was designed by members of the council, which Lydic helped found, to focus on realistic landscape design for the homeowner incorporating the use of native and other low water use plants; water harvesting techniques; fire-wise and fire retardant plantings; wildlife habitat and control; and educational programs.

Creating a sense of natural space and beauty, and proper maintenance and care of appropriate plants for the region, the garden is open and accessible to the public at all times.

Plant identification and information signage, walkways and benches, along with an information kiosk are part of this special feature in the college's courtyard.

The demonstration garden is a living laboratory, with Xeriscape Council members logging the progress of plants, the amount of water needed to sustain them and evidence of wildlife in the area.

The work continues this weekend. The council will meet at the demonstration garden at 7 a.m., Saturday, July 28. The latest improvements will be completed on this final planting day of the season and there will be garden cleanup tasks.

Anyone interested in learning about xeriscape may come see the plants, chosen for their color and learn about the new weather-based irrigation system and soil moisture sensors.

Call (928) 468-0727 for information about the council.

For additional details about the Aug. 11 dedication ceremony, call Lois Hurd at (928) 474-1582.

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