Contrary to its reputation as the land of perpetual rainfall, our western Oregon climate is really temperate Mediterranean, with a warm, dry summer. Many popular landscape plants require regular summer irrigation for best performance, and, as any homeowner knows, irrigation systems and water are quite expensive. In addition, there are homeowners in rural areas that depend on water-limited wells and may not be able to water extensively. Fortunately, no gardener needs to forgo a lush, year-round landscape just because they can’t water, they simply need to choose plants adapted to summer drought. Northwest Plant Evaluations was started in 2000 to identify a palette of shrubs suitable for low-input, un-irrigated landscapes in the Willamette Valley. Plants in these evaluations are not watered, sprayed or pruned for the duration. In collaboration with Heather Stoven, evaluations have been completed on Ceanothus, Cistus, Halimium, and Grevillea. Join us, on June 11th as Neil Bell, OSU Extension Service, shares insight from the NW Plant Evaluations, including the evaluation of 75 selections of Arctostaphylos (manzanitas) at the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora.
Since 2000, Neil Bell has overseen the Community Horticulture program for OSU Extension in Marion and Polk Counties, which includes the Master Gardener program. His focus with curriculum development for the Master Gardener program has been presentations and written materials on pruning of ornamental plants and especially on diagnosis of plant problems. He has also co-authored publications on water-efficient landscape plants, soil amendment and mulch use. His interest in water—efficient landscapes is partly derived from personal experience, as he lives and gardens with his family on 5 water-limited acres west of Monmouth.
*This presentation counts for 1 hour garden education/recertification credit.