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Water-saving ideas in Fort Collins.

Good demonstration gardens introduce new plants and show creative ways to use them. Great demonstration gardens do the same but also teach you how to be a better gardener. A member of the second, more elite group is the xeriscape garden in Fort Collins, Colorado.

As in all xeriscape gardens, the focus here is on water conservation. The low-wateruse plantings for intermountain areas are colorful and beautifully designed. Equally impressive are the interpretive signs; besides identifying plants, they illustrate the importance of mulches, microclimates, soil improvement, and irrigation. One sign also meters water use.

The planting areas, divided into shrub and turf grass zones, are segregated into sections defining the plants' water needs: moderate, low, and very low.

Last season, the moderate-water-use shrub zone needed 15 inches of supplemental water (water needed in addition to rainfall). The low-water-use zone, featuring blanket flower and daylily, required 12 inches. And the very-low-water-use zone, including sunrose and hardy geranium, consumed about 7 inches.

The bluegrass turf zone used the largest amount of water a total of almost 40 inches (including some additional water to establish sod). The brome-fescue needed about half as much water, the buffalo grass blue grama about a quarter.

The garden is in front of the city hall, at 300 LaPorte Avenue. At the entrance, pick up a free printed copy of the interpretive signs. To receive a copy by mail, write to Box 580, Fort Collins 80522.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1989
Words:238
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