AP NEWS

Boulder Nonprofit Promoting Water-saving ‘garden in a Box’

March 20, 2019
Yarrow and other water-conserving flowers and plants, such as these seen here, are part of Garden In a Box kits.

Want one?

Pricing for Garden In A Box kits ranges from $83 to $171. are available to all Boulder County and Front Range area residents. Learn more at resourcecentral.org/gardens .

A limited number of residents in Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie and nearly 20 other communities will receive a $25 discount as an extra incentive. The discount is applied at checkout based on water provider.

A Boulder nonprofit is challenging residents to conserve water and rethink their landscaping choices via the Garden In a Box program.

Resource Central has partnered with local water providers for the program, which helps people transition to drought-tolerant plants that can reduce outdoor water usage by up to 60 percent.

Over the past eight years, more than 100 million gallons of water have been conserved through the Garden In a Box xeriscape program , with more than 500,000 drought- tolerant plants planted, according to Resource Central.

“With most of Colorado still abnormally dry it’s time to ask whether all that grass is really worth the water,” Neal Lurie, president of Resource Central, stated in a news release. “Just because we have a drought-prone climate doesn’t mean you have to have a boring yard. With the right mix of power plants, Garden In a Box helps families transition to a yard that is drought-tolerant, bursting with color, and habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor , Boulder County is part of nearly 58 percent of the state that is abnormally dry as of March 12, while slightly more than 25 percent of the state is experiencing some degree of drought ranging from moderate to extreme.

Resource Central’s Garden In a Box gardens are tailored to Colorado soil, and feature a plant-by-numbers design. The plants use about 60 percent less water than traditional grass yards, according to the nonprofit.

“Each garden kit saves around 1000 gallons of water, and we’ve had more than 20,000 households in Boulder County and across the Colorado Front Range participate in our Garden In a Box program,” Lurie stated.

Ross Shrigley, executive director at Plant Select, which also provides drought-tolerant plants, says xeriscaping is a necessity in Colorado. Plant Select is a nonprofit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and professional horticulturists whose mission is to seek out and distribute the “best plants for landscapes and gardens from the intermountain region to the high plains and beyond.”

“We cannot support these landscape plants and our growing population on the amount of water we receive naturally in the mountains,” Shrigley said.

Programs such as Plant Select and Garden In a Box strive to demonstrate it is possible to have a beautiful yard without using as much water. Shrigley said xeriscaping is not more expensive than traditional landscaping and if done correctly, and will save money in the long term.

“Xeriscaping should reduce the need for supplemental irrigation and unnecessary traditional commercial plant maintenance,” he said.