As autumn approaches you may be getting ready to prepare the summer patio furniture for storage, but feel free to leave the gardening tools out. Fall season is actually a perfect opportunity to establish a garden that will burst into color by spring. The milder temperatures allow plants to set roots before any winter freezes. Once plants develop a healthy root system, they’ll thrive with winter rains.

And do you know what kinds of plants thrive with winter rains? California natives and water-wise plants. What’s more, after you’ve sowed  your favorite water-wise plants and watered them just enough so they can establish a healthy root system, you can let the rain do all the work. To help you get started, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and its partners have some handy resources.

For all of your garden “how-to’s,” including pest management, soils and mulch, composting and inspiration, visit the new South Bay Green Gardens website.  This handy resource is an all-inclusive guide on sustainable gardening brought to you by the South Bay Green Gardens Committee which includes the water district and 14 cities, the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program and the Recycling & Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County. The new and improved website offers plenty of landscape designs, garden inspiration galleries and fact sheets to help you establish a sustainable garden that will improve the environment by conserving water, protecting soil, and preventing pollution.

See a water-wise garden up close by visiting one of the many demonstration gardens in and near Santa Clara County. For a directory of demonstration gardens click here. Demonstration gardens are a great way to see the results of sustainable gardening practices. Usually these showcase pollinator-friendly and drought-tolerant plants. The gardens can also feature the use of mulch and compost, for a healthy, resilient garden that provides wildlife habitat and improves the local ecosystem.

To get you started on your sustainable garden, consider replacing your lawn with a water-wise landscape. You can save money with the district’s Landscape Rebate Program. Before starting work on your project, be sure to schedule a pre-inspection and have your application approved. You can get started with the process online today!

The water district and its partners also host workshops and training on lawn removal and native garden installation, composting, pruning techniques and more! For a list of upcoming events click here.

All of our water conservation efforts are focused on preparing for future wet and dry years to ensure Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million residents have a reliable water supply no matter what extreme weather the changing climate brings.

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