Xeriscape is a registered trademark of the Denver Water Board of Denver, CO. It is used as one method to sustain a quality of landscape on limited water supplies. However, as many experts have pointed out, xeriscaping, in itself, does not necessarily contribute to water conservation if irrigation strategies are not adjusted to compensate for the lower water requirements of xeric plants.
The NMSU ASC Farmington xeric plant research/demonstration garden is unique from many others in the southwest. It serves as an exhibit of native and non-native drought tolerant plant species that may be suitable for northern New Mexico Landscapes. Additionally, it provides an approximate water-volume quantification required to sustain acceptable growth and quality of each species. Nearly 100 different plant species are exhibited in the garden. As the plants mature and data is recorded, new plants are introduced to the garden for water requirement analysis.
The garden is split into four different sections. Each section receives a different volume of irrigation each week as provided with a drip system. As with all irrigation study plots at the science center, irrigation treatments are referenced to a weather-based evapotranspiration (ET) calculation. Plants in the northeast section receive no irrigation, after establishment, while those in the southeast, northwest and southwest sections receive weekly irrigation. This water replaces 20%, 40% and 60% of alfalfa reference ET, respectively. While some plants, in the garden, will benefit from supplemental watering, many species have survived without additional irrigation.
The xeriscape garden plant specimen characteristics and photographs are categorized by family under their recommended irrigation level.