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Here’s the Dirt on Water-Wise Gardening

A new interactive online tool, also available on CD, can help with plant and landscaping ideas

Santa Barbara County water purveyors have unveiled a new interactive program titled “Water Wise Gardening in Santa Barbara County,” available online at SBwater.org and on CD.

It’s a new free tool for the tool shed with which residents can select plants and landscaping ideas based on plant type, size, color, degree of shade, soil type and blooming season.

It features a wealth of information, including an extensive searchable plant database showcasing more than 1,000 water wise plants that are tailored to the Santa Barbara climate. This easy-to-use program also includes local garden tours and galleries to get new ideas for landscaping.

In California, more than half of average household water consumption is used outdoors to irrigate landscaping. One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to conserve water and save money on water bills is to update landscaping to one that is water wise and California friendly.

“This is a ‘must-have’ addition for any garden shed,” said Matt Naftaly, county water agency manager. “This information can help design and maintain beautiful gardens while actually using less water. Best of all, it’s available now, for free, when all Californians are increasingly concerned about water supplies and water conservation.”

While searching for plants and touring the garden galleries, create a custom plant list by saving each plant to the “my list” feature. Plants also can be categorized into fire-wise plants, lawn alternatives, native plants, erosion control, low maintenance and plants that attract wildlife. Additionally, the interactive Web site contains helpful facts, resources and guidance on gardening design and practice.

To get ideas for your own water-wise garden, click here to access the program online or contact a local water provider for a CD. You will learn to save water, money and time with a water-wise garden that’s beautiful, functional and low maintenance.

Take advantage of this opportunity to start conserving in your own backyard.

— Madeline Ward is a water conservation intern with the city of Santa Barbara Public Works Department.

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