The rains may have returned, but planting water-wise gardens remains as important as ever this spring and beyond in the central San Joaquin Valley, gardeners say.
“Anyone that thinks that water rationing is not in our future shouldn’t be allowed out without an escort – that’s just very naive,” said Pat Wynne, vice president of the Clovis Botanical Garden and a past Clovis mayor.
Drought-tolerant plants are in abundance at the 3-acre Clovis Botanical Garden – and around 600 will be on sale during a Spring Into Your Garden event on Saturday.
Plant sales and admission to the event is a fundraiser for the volunteer-run garden, which relies on donations for all of its projects.
We’re going to have a lot of water-wise plants for people. Sometimes they are hard to get in the nursery.
Pat Wynne, vice president of the Clovis Botanical Garden and a past Clovis mayor
There is normally no cost to visit the garden, which is located next to Dry Creek Park and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
The Clovis Botanical Garden’s newest addition, a Home Landscape Demonstration Garden, broke ground a year ago. It’s divided into four smaller “vignette gardens.”
The four sections:
▪ Traditional Valley landscape: Featuring plants that require moderate water, a low-flow irrigation system, no lawn in the front yard, and a synthetic lawn in the back yard.
▪ Low-allergy garden.
▪ Condo/small yard garden with edible plants.
▪ Millennial garden, featuring a “futuristic” design that relies more on rocks than plants.
“You don’t have to just rely on flowers to have an interesting landscape,” said Anne Clemons, president of the garden, about that final demonstration area. “Texture, form, leaf shape – there’s a lot of things that will cause some interest in the garden besides flowers.”
They can have a beautiful garden and not use very much water.
Anne Clemons, president of the Clovis Botanical Garden
Susan Stiltz, the garden’s horticultural consultant, designed the spaces. Her landscaping advice: “Planting in multiples of threes and fives and grouping things rather than just having a hodgepodge – although there’s a place for that in a cottage garden or something like that. It’s more restful to the eye to have repetition.”
Along with the demonstration area, the garden added a 1,500-square-foot pavilion over a year ago that can be rented out for events.
Upcoming projects include moving and updating an irrigation demonstration area – including more interpretive signs describing how different watering systems work – and a sensory garden area, focused on flowering plants with a strong fragrance.
The Clovis Botanical Garden only features plants that gardeners decide can grow well with limited water in the Valley’s Mediterranean climate. The garden is divided into a number of smaller areas with a more narrow focus, including a California native plant garden, cactus and succulent garden, Mediterranean garden, and South African/Chile garden.
People can learn more at Saturday’s garden event, which will feature several guest speakers who will discuss a range of gardening topics, including “allergy-fighting” plants, native plants, the importance of healthy soil, and trees featured in the Clovis Botanical Garden.
Most of all, Clemons hopes people take this message back home: “They can have a beautiful garden and not use very much water.”
Spring Into Your Garden event
- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25 at the Clovis Botanical Garden, 945 N. Clovis Ave., Clovis
- Admission $10, or $5 for Clovis Botanical Garden members
- Includes native plant sale, kids activities, walking tours and food for sale
- Speakers: Elinor Teague, Tom Ogren, Susan Stiltz and Thelma Valdez
- VIP preview event 5-7 p.m. March 24 (includes early plant sales and meet-and-greet)