Water Wise EARTH-KINDTM Demonstration Garden

The Dallas County Master Gardeners in cooperation with County Commissioner Maurine Dickey transformed a narrow strip parking lot into an outstanding demonstration garden that illustrates the Water Wise and EARTH-KINDTM principles for landscape water conservation. The garden adds richness and beauty to Commissioner Dickey's office and serves as an excellent community educational resource.

The garden features a rich diversity of plant materials selected not only for their beauty and ornamental features, but also because they have been shown to be very tough landscape plants. A variety of herbaceous perennials including daylilies, blanket flower, and fountain grass join roses, Texas mountain laurel and juniper in providing extended flowering, color, texture, contrast and interest to the planting.

Preparation of the planting area was an important consideration. Prior to planting, a three inch layers of expanded shale and compost were tilled into the planting beds to add porosity and water-holding capacity to the very heavy Dallas County clay. The well aged compost also acts as a source of slow release nutrients to support good plant growth.

After planting, a three to four inch layer of composted mulch was added to reduce moisture loss and control weeds. This mulch is "topped off" annually as the lower layers of mulch gradually decay and release nutrients to the plants so that the overall mulch depth is kept to about three inches.

Supplemental watering is provided by trickle irrigation through a plastic hose buried beneath the mulch. In this case, the plastic hose is "mulch-colored" so that any exposed hose does not detract from the planting design. Drip emitters are located near the plants, with the number of emitters balanced to the size and water use requirements of the plants.

Walkways are "paved" with pea gravel which provides a firm walking surface for the many visitors to the garden as well as allowing all available rainfall to penetrate into the planting.

Visitors are invited to tour the garden which is located at 2311 Joe Field Road, Dallas, TX 75229. If you would like to schedule a tour or class, call the Dallas County Master Gardener office at 214-904-3053.
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