Water Wise Gardening for the Tehachapi Area

Cistus purpureous and Phlomis fruticosaThe need for water wise gardening in Tehachapi is a perennial theme that is always timely.

Formed in 1986 in response to mounting inquiries for information on gardening with less water, the National Xeriscape Council was born. Since that time the term “Xeriscape” , which was created by merging the Greek word xeros- meaning ‘dry’ with the word ‘landscape’, has been widely used, if not fully understood. The goal of the council to conserve water through education and sound landscape practices is even more valid today than it was then.

Here in the Tehachapi area we are faced with the perennial problem of not enough water to meet the demand, and proposed increases in water prices in many areas is the evidence of this ongoing problem.

Mexican Feather Grass, Powis Castle Artemisia and a fire pit

Every drop of water has become a costly commodity not to be wasted.

Studies show that following the guidelines of the National Xeriscape Council can reduce water consumption up to 50 percent without sacrificing the quality and beauty of the home environment.

In Tehachapi we are an eclectic bunch of people who have mostly moved here from many different parts of the country.Our concept of ‘home’ may very well include a large front lawn surrounded by water thirsty foundation plantings that remind us of our childhood. The ‘front lawn’ is an American institution. How do we begin to imagine our dwelling places in a different light, in the face of diminishing water supplies and very real shortages? I believe we have to educate ourselves and expose ourselves to new ideas about what makes a house a home.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Autumn Blaze Maple, waterwise landscape

Is it merely habit that causes us to believe that an expansive front lawn is an indispensable part of a front yard?

Or maybe that is all we have seen for so long that we can’t even imagine what to do with the space if we do not install all that turf. We have a couple of good places to visit right here in our community to expand our vision beyond the common front yard. Bear Valley and Golden Hills both have beautiful demonstration gardens that will open your eyes to some of the possibilities out there. Go take a look and get inspired to make a few changes.

Golden Hills Community Service District water wise demonstration garden

Golden Hills CSD Fire Safe Garden


About the Author

Anna Smth

Terre Verte Landscape Design began in 2003 while Master Gardener Anna Smith was the staff horticulturist for Kern Counties only botanical garden, Mourning Cloak Ranch. Read More

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