The High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona is a non-profit 501 C-3 corporation dedicated to educating our communities about water-wise gardening. For additional information write:


4397 E AZ Highway 260

 Payson,  AZ  85541



Low water-use garden open at GCC campus                         Photos of Plants Used in the Garden

by Barb Bourscheidt, Rim Review
Payson Roundup/Rim Review
Gila Community College

A low water-use demonstration garden is now open to the public in the center courtyard of the Gila Community College campus. A gift to the people and communities of the Rim country, a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony was held at the garden Friday, Oct. 3.

Speakers included Dr. Barbara Ganz, president of GCC; Colin (Buzz) Walker, director of public works for the town of Payson; Ken Murphy, mayor of Payson; and Louise Wakem, Arizona Tree Council. Glen McCombs, president of the High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona was master of ceremonies.

Partnering with GCC for the space and physical support, and the Town of Payson Water Department, for labor, materials and resources, the HCXCA was able to provide a garden for which the value far exceeds the actual amount of money spent to achieve the end result

Designed by members of the Xeriscape Council, the project focus is on realistic landscape design for the homeowner incorporating the use of native and other low water-use plants; water harvesting techniques; fire-wise and fire retardant plantings; wildlife habitat and control; and educational seminars and workshops.

Creating a sense of natural space and beauty, and proper maintenance and care of appropriate plants for the region, the garden will be open and accessible to the public at all times.

Plant identification and information signage, walkways and an information kiosk are incorporated in the garden. Informational brochures are available at the kiosk and offer interpretation of plant placement, water harvesting methods, and wildlife control.

At present more than three-dozen low water-use plants are growing in the garden, with more to come as the fall planting season approaches and plants become available.

As in the home landscape, a garden is never really finished. This demonstration garden will continue to provide a living laboratory, as members log the progress of plants, amount of water needed to sustain them, and evidence of wildlife in the area. The kiosk will provide new information as it becomes available, and displays of interest to water-conservation-minded gardeners when they visit.

The garden became a reality after two years of planning and grant applications submitted by the HCXCA resulted in a $16,000 matching funds grant from the Arizona Land Department and Community Tree Council.
The grant was awarded the local Xeriscape Council in December of 2002, and work began on the garden Jan. 4, 2003. The $8,063 grant award required the Xeriscape Council to make an expenditure of $8,063, which was provided by volunteer labor, gifts in kind of labor and materials from local businesses, and cash outlay for incidentals. 




 copyright 2003  HCXCA