The Master Gardeners of Ulster County Cornell Cooperative Extension created this garden at Ulster Community College in Stone Ridge. Donations were provided by several local businesses.
The garden is near the main entrance to the campus. It is a demonstration xeriscape garden. A xeriscape garden requires little water and conserves water use. This is achieved by selecting plants that thrive in dry conditions, in particular native plants/trees/shrubs. Mulch is used to conserve water in the soil and irrigation is kept to a minimum.
At the entrance to the garden there is a hand-built pergola covered in yellow trumpet vine campsis radicans
The garden consists of 11 island beds. Each bed has a theme such as Viburnum Bed, Nursery Bed, Herb Bed…
The ‘Bench Bed’ includes a bluestone and concrete bench surrounded by sun-loving pink primroses Oenothera speciosa.
One of my favorites was the ‘River Bed’ which included a ‘river’ of pebbles. This dainty tree is a Chokeberry. It is native to NY, has white blossom in the spring and small fruit in the fall. The bright green sedum in front of the tree grows well on dry gravel.
This Datura is an annual in the Hudson Valley climate (USDA zone 5) the flowers are about 4″ long.
The garden was teeming with pollinating insects, especially on this Globe Thistle Echinops
Many plants in the ‘River Bed’ were drought-tolerant species suitable for a xeriscape (minimal-water) garden, such as this Prickly Pear cactus Genus Opuntia in bloom. The fleshy pads are modified stems.
Grey Euphorbia Euphorbia myrsinites forms mats of slightly swirling stems, perfect for the ‘river’ themed bed.
Another of my favorites was the ‘Compost Bed’ I admired the way the compost bins were hidden – here’s the front, a planting of Spirea shrubs, silver-leaved Lambs Ears and beautiful grass Miscanthus Sinensis.
And here’s the back of the bed. Plant pots, three compost bins and a tool box – all very neat and tidy unlike my garden.
The ‘Mouse Bed’ (I couldn’t figure out the reason for this name!) included a tall rudbeckia and purple coneflowers Echinacea species.
The ‘Milkweed Bed’ included Common or Swamp Milkweed which is food for the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar. The flowers smell like jasmine.
Yellow Achilea in the ‘Milkweed bed’.
The ‘Butterfly Bed’ includes plants such as purple coneflowers that are attractive to skippers and other butterflies.
A butterfly favorite, Gaillardia ‘Goblin’ in the ‘Butterfly Bed’.
Heat tolerant succulent plant
This garden is functional as well as beautiful, because it
- Enables people to see hardy, drought-tolerant plants
- Includes plants and trees that are native to NY or cultivars of native plants
- Provides wildlife habitat, especially for insects and hummingbirds
- Reduces the use of water and fossil fuels (lawn mowing)
- Creates a space for people to unwind and enjoy nature
Relax and enjoy the moment in the shade of the pergola…and watch the hummingbirds visiting the trumpet vine.
On a sunny day, the pergola provides a shady spot to sit
Tours of the garden are provided by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Master Gardeners Program, contact them to schedule a tour. CCEUC
Are you interested in xeriscape gardening? Add a comment and share your thoughts.