Gardening The Waterwise Way


Drought conditions may have a grip on the Rim Country again this spring, but that doesn’t mean residents have to put their gardening goals on the back shelf.

The High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona knows the tips and tricks for creating waterwise gardens and it will share them at its Second Annual Waterwise Seminar this month.

The group is presenting a free community awareness workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 30 at Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road.

Participants can come and go as they please, either staying the whole day or just checking out specific seminars of interest.

The Waterwise Seminar speakers will be Bart Worthington, Bruce Wales and Mary Irish.

Worthington’s topic is “Plants for Waterwise Landscaping and Gardens” and he will be showing and discussing plants for the Rim Country.

He has been in the nursery industry since 1975, first for 13 years in California, and for the last 20 in Arizona.

He spent 16 years as general manager of Mountain States Wholesale Nursery, which is celebrating 40 years of growing low-water-use plants for the Southwest. He is a part-time resident of Pine.

Wales’ topic will be “Rainwater Harvesting” and his techniques that now enable him to harvest more than 3,000 gallons of chlorine-free rainwater each year from his own roof.

He will be showing the wealth of rainwater available to everyone in the Rim Country. Participants will understand the design logic behind retrofitting existing gutters for water harvesting and be equipped to experience more independence in water control in their yards and gardens. Blending tank-covering design to home exteriors, similar to air conditioning units, will also be discussed.

Irish’s topic is “Agaves and Yuccas for Cold Areas.” She is a garden writer, lecturer and educator who has lived in Arizona for 23 years.

She teaches classes on desert gardening, use and cultivation of agaves and succulents, wood plants, desert palms and desert perennials. Her plant interests range widely, with agaves and their relatives, and bulbs and perennials currently at the top of her list.

Irish served as the director of public horticulture at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for 11 years and is currently on the board of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

She has written several books on growing waterwise plants and will have them for sale at the seminar.

There will be several information booths at the seminar, including one with Irish.

Other booths will feature: David Wise, who will share information on implementing a gray water system for the home. A local homeowner, Wise will share his experience, photographs and free tips about constructing a gray water system and using it to water outside vegetation; Town of Payson Water Department with conservation tips and products; Town of Payson Fire Department with information on firewise landscaping, living with fire, the importance of defensible space and resource to help homeowners; Plant Fair Nursery with easy to grow and low-water-use plants, along with products to ensure success.

Complimentary coffee and doughnuts will be available in the morning before the seminar programs start, other refreshments will be offered throughout the day for a nominal fee.

To learn more about the seminar, call (928) 970-1582.

For details about the High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona, visit the Web site


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