Garden Tour Saturday July 18th 



Mulvihill Home Garden                                          Mott Home Garden                   

Christie Walker, Big Bear Lake ___ Bringing Xeriscape to Life is the theme of the 13th annual Xeriscape Garden Tour to be held on July 18th, showcasing homes that exemplify the best in water conservation through employing some or all of the seven Xeriscape principles of planning & design, limited turf, efficient irrigation, soil improvements, mulching, using low-water demanding plants and applying appropriate maintenance.

With the effects of the drought all around us, state-wide water restrictions in place, and a heightened awareness of water conservation, it’s more important than ever to limit the impact of your yard’s water consumption on your total household water usage.

According to the DWP, in the Big Bear Lake DWP service area, the average water use is 79.88 gallons per-customer-per-day in the peak summer months (June-Sept). In the peak winter months the average is 45.61 gallons per-customer-per-day (looking at June 2014 through the present). That does not include business use. This demonstrates that our water use increases by 75 percent in the summer, the vast majority of this increase is most likely due to outdoor irrigation.

California is in a drought emergency! To address the urgency of the situation and responding to the governor’s mandate, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the “Emergency Regulations for Statewide Urban Water Conservation,” with a statewide target reduction of 25 percent. 

As a result of Big Bear Valley’s historic and continued conservation efforts Bear Valley residents qualified for a 16 percent reduction tier in lieu of 25 percent. However, since the majority of our water is used on outdoor irrigation during the summer, very little can be conserved in the winter. To make up for that deficit we must save more than 16 percent during the hottest and driest part of the year, underscoring the importance of water conservation through the application and principles of Xeriscape Gardening.

It’s not just about water conservation! With the drought comes an increase in tree mortality and parched landscapes that increase fire safety concerns. Xeriscape, water conservation and firewise practices often work hand-in-hand to deliver beautiful yards that conserve water AND are firewise.

The Xeriscape Garden tour offers tips, advice, and information on how to not only combat increases in water needs, but how to create defensible space and protect your trees; melding drought tolerant and fire smart landscapes together.

The 2015 tour is set for Saturday, July 18th and will feature 5 gardens, two nurseries and the DWP Demonstration Garden with native plant expert Orchid Black. Participants can start the FREE tour any time between 9 am and noon at Eminger’s Mountain Nursery on Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear Lake, across from Denny’s. Attendees will have until 4:00 pm to complete the self-guided tour. Tour booklets and directional signs will help attendees drive from one location to the next. Sierra Club volunteers will be on hand at each home to guide arrivals and homeowners will be on hand to point out some of the features at their home. The start location will have a number of booths with information on composting, water conservation and native plants.

The purpose of the tour is to educate homeowners and increase awareness of the use of native and drought tolerant plant materials in mountain gardens in a fun and informal setting.

Thank you to our sponsors for making this a free tour to the public: Big Bear Fire Department, City of Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City CSD, DWP, Eminger’s Mountain Nursery, Hunters Nursery, MDMRA Master Composters, Nativescapes, Stalcup Landscaping, and USAA. For more information on the tour contact Christie Walker at 909-547-2237.

The Sierra Club Big Bear Group is a non-profit organization.