by High Country Gardens
Exploring Xeric Garden Designer Tova Roseman's Reno, NV Garden
How would you describe your garden?
It’s a cottage garden in the old style, where the perennials and vegetables are grown together. The garden is ½ acre and its taken us about 15 years. We did 90% of it ourselves. It’s all waterwise.
What strategies do you use to conserve water?
The most important thing is that water conservation starts with the soil. Everybody thinks they have the worst soil in the world, but if you add the proper nutrients, it doesn’t take that much water to have a great garden.
You should add a lot of mulch to your soil, and I find forest mulch the most beneficial, along with steer manure (or lama if available), and alfalfa pellets. (For the specific ratios and more details you can visit Tova’s Garden Soil Recipe. Use password: AwesomeSoil2015)
Everything is on drip irrigation. In our area we don’t get that much rain; we depend on the snowpack to provide our water, so irrigation is a necessity. For the perennial beds, I’ve developed a special drip method using laser-line to moisten the entire soil area—which mimics rain. If all the soil is moist you can plant anywhere you want, and it encourages any seeds to grow and spread. The plants become huge and healthy.
What inspired you to create the garden?
From the very beginning it was inspired by Monet’s garden. I’ve always been intrigued by his art and his colors and lavish use of plants. The cottage-style garden I’ve created is unique for this area. Everybody wants that look, but it’s not typical for northern Nevada.
What is typical in your area (Reno)?
It used to barberry, junipers, a couple other shrubs, and not too many perennials. We have pines as well. When our area began to grow, people coming in didn’t like that landscape look. Now the standard is Karl Forester grass, groundcover roses and lavender or Russian sage.
There are so many other varieties of plants you can use, but a lot of landscape people are more knowledgeable about the hardscape, they aren’t plant people and that is what they’re comfortable with.
What are your favorite plants?
My all time favorite perennials are delphinium. They don’t seem to survive more than 1-2 years, even though they’re rated for our zone. They peter out, so you have to replant them.
Any special challenges gardening in Reno?
The last winter was so dry, without much snow to cover the ground and water the plants when it melts. This is becoming a typical winter. The biggest killer of trees and plants in our area is not the cold winter temperatures, its lack of moisture. People don’t realize they sometimes have to water in winter.
If someone wanted to create a similar transformation to their landscape, what advice would you give them?
Always start with the soil; fall is a good time to get the soil prepped for spring. Get your design ideas in place, think about what you want the use of the garden to be. Make a list of favorite, must-have plants and trees.
What benefits have you seen by creating this garden?
It’s an organic garden, so we have tons of birds and butterflies. The animals will come if your garden offers food for them. We watch every day for the quail to come and we have a pair of ducks that return every year. We have a lot of fruit trees, so unfortunately the falling fruit also attracts visiting skunks. But it’s all part of garden life, and that’s okay.
Water is important. We have two ponds, one for frogs and one for fish. The birds come every day to bathe and its fun to watch.
I’m a big believer that a well-prepared garden creates a beneficial energy for us as humans. It’s a place that gives me time to think, let my mind wander and be creative.
Tova Roseman is a consultant for water-wise gardening in the Reno, NV area. For more information, you can visit her website at tovasgarden.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about eco-friendly waterwise garden design visit: Making Eco Friendly A Part of the Planning and Design Process and Xeriscape Design: Steps to Designing a Drought-resistant Garden
© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.
Lavandula angustifolia ‚Hidcote Superior‚ (English Lavender) is sweetly fragrant, uniformly compact and blooms with darkly colored lavender-blue flower spikes in late spr...Learn MoreHidcote Superior English Lavender Hidcote Superior English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote SuperiorAs low as $13.99 Sale $11.89Per Plant - 5" Deep PotLavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote Superior' (English Lavender) is sweetly fragrant, uniformly compact and blooms with darkly colored lavender-blue flower spikes in late spring.
24-36„ tall x 15„ wide. The Richfield form of Eaton‚s Beardtongue was selected for its overall vigor and flower production. It blooms in early to mid-spring bloomin...Learn MoreFirecracker Penstemon Richfield Strain Richfield Strain Firecracker Beardtongue Penstemon eatonii Richfield StrainAs low as $11.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot24-36" tall x 15" wide. The Richfield form of Eaton's Beardtongue was selected for its overall vigor and flower production. It blooms in early to mid-spring blooming with tall spikes of brilliant red flowers. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
‚Blut‚ is one of the very best cold hardy Ice Plants. With its vigorous growth habit, durable evergreen foliage and summer-long display of deep magenta-red flowers, it is...Learn MoreBlut Ice Plant Blut Ice Plant Delosperma ashtonii BlutAs low as $8.99Per Plant - 2.5" Pot'Blut' is one of the very best cold hardy Ice Plants. With its vigorous growth habit, durable evergreen foliage and summer-long display of deep magenta-red flowers, it is an invaluable groundcover. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
Our Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden has been a bestseller for decades! Perfect for hot, dry, sunny gardens, this eye-catching combination of long-blooming perennials will light up...Learn MoreJumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned GardenAs low as $225.99Per Garden of 18Our Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden has been a bestseller for decades! Perfect for hot, dry, sunny gardens, this eye-catching combination of long-blooming perennials will light up the landscape with bright, clear colors. Grow more flowers and foliage while using less water. Easy-care plants feature inedible foliage to keep rabbits and deer away. Large garden of 27 plants covers 190 sq ft, small garden of 18 plants covers 100 sq ft. This Pre-Planned Garden comes with a garden layout map to make planting easy. (For gardeners in coastal CA, OR, and WA, plant the Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden For The West Coast)