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SMB High and Dry Garden   arrow

Plant Species in High and Dry Garden

The High and Dry Demonstration Garden is an ongoing study designed to test plant species for their ability to do well at high elevations with little or no supplemental water. Twenty species of native shrubs and perennials are being tested in this garden for their ability to survive on natural rainfall alone.There are currently five High and Dry gardens in Colorado, one in Gilpin County and one in El Paso county, both planted in the summer of 2004, and one in Custer County and one in Boulder County; both planted in the summer of 2005. This garden at the CSU Extension office in San Miguel was planted the summer of 2006 and is the first replication of the study on the western slope. Here’s our Plant List:   High & Dry Species Table

High and Dry gardens were conceived and planted in response to rec rent drought in Colorado, to municipal watering restrictions and the Colorado Water Law that states that most private wells drilled on or after May 8, 1972 on properties less than 35 acres are permitted for exempt household use only. This means that outdoor watering of landscapes and livestock is not permitted with these wells.

This garden was planted on August 4, 2006 with the help of 5 people. A group of kids from Prime Time of the Wright Stuff came and helped for a while.

During and after planting the plants were given a deep watering. A heavy rain came at the end of the day. On the morning of August 5 all the plants were checked for proper planting and adjusted if necessary then they were watered a final time.

Since then there has not been nor will there be any supplemental water applied to the garden- just natural rainfall. The idea is to plant them before the monsoon so they get a natural start and the extended monsoon of 2006 hopefully did just that.

We choose to include species if they were repeated in at least two other High and Dry Gardens so that we would have accurate replication.

Plants were arranged in a naturalistic design randomly according to height and section of the garden.