Demonstration garden opens May 22 in Oklahoma City

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Gardeners know it can sometimes be a difficult task to grow a garden in Oklahoma’s harsh weather conditions.
For those seeking answers to their water conservation and plant-choice questions, mark your calendar for May 22 for the official opening of Oklahoma City’s first demonstration garden.
The ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the garden will take place at 1:30 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. The new demonstration garden, located on the Oklahoma State University/OKC campus at 400 N. Portland, features a variety of drought-tolerant plants and efficient irrigation technology that will be beneficial to Oklahoma gardeners.
Malarie Gotcher, OSU Cooperative Extension associate, said some people may think of only cactus when it comes to drought-tolerant plants that grow in Oklahoma.
“We’ll be showcasing many drought-tolerant and Oklahoma native plants to demonstrate the options homeowners have and can incorporate into their own landscapes,” Gotcher said. “There will be native flowers and grasses such as Black-eyed Susan and Big Blue Stem, as well as other plants that grow well in Oklahoma, including Santolina and Russian Sage.”
Many of the plants that will be seen during the official opening of the garden come from the Drought-Tolerant Plant Selections for Oklahoma guide, Extension publication E-1037. This publication, along with E-1038 Homeowner Water Conservation, will be showcased at the ribbon cutting.
Learning about drought-tolerant plants and efficient watering systems is important because outdoor water use accounts for about 30 percent to 50 percent of household water usage.
Gotcher said homeowners are unsure of plant water requirements and may overwater the landscape.
“Plants add value to the home, provide shade and elevate mood, but they also require water,” she said. “Maximizing water use efficiency and making every drop count is important for the longevity of our water sources. In addition, technologies such as smart irrigation and drip irrigation use less water, while providing the same result. These types of technologies make more efficient use of our water resources by only watering plants when it’s needed, rather than on a set schedule.”
During the spring and summer, the demonstration garden will be used as part of educational workshops to show the types of plants suitable for central Oklahoma. In addition, there will be an area of irrigation demonstration that includes various smart irrigation technologies, rain sensors and easily programmable timers available to homeowners.
The demonstration garden is sponsored by The City of Oklahoma City, Utilities Department; Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service; and OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

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