Craig Miller can’t say enough good things about Xeriscape. He really can’t! Get him talking about the benefits of planning, planting and maintaining a drought-tolerant landscape, and you’ll have a hard time getting him to stop.
At Tagawa’s, we don’t want him to stop! That’s why he’s about to begin his fifteenth year of teaching his classes on the “Principles of Xeriscape.” The free classes start with the most basic reason why we should plant a Xeriscape…. namely because we are gardening in a consistently semi-arid climate. His series of classes also cover how to improve the soil before we plant, which plants to choose, how to water the plants most efficiently and how to maintain a low-water landscape once it’s up and growing.
Craig Miller + Tagawa Gardens is a winner!
Craig is enthusiastic about teaming up with Tagawa Gardens to get his Xeriscape message across. He says the audiences “have a high level of passion and knowledge… and are so engaged and loyal to Tagawa’s it makes presenting at the Garden Center that much more fun.”
Craig says he’s gratified, but no longer surprised as each class session begins and he sees the Tagawa classroom fill up with folks who want to learn how to cut their water bill and how to plant sustainably and still have a beautiful yard full of colorful flowers, trees and shrubs.
Craig has a long professional history as a tree expert. (He confesses that trees were his first love.) In his “day job,” Craig is Parks and Open Space Manager for the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District. He oversees more than 350 acres of parkland and open space and thousands of drought-tolerant plants including perennials, shrubs, and trees.
Craig also walks his Xeriscape talk in his own quarter-acre garden in Parker. Many of the slides he uses in his classes are before-and-after examples from his yard…. things he’s planted himself. He started the Bigtooth maple (below) as a cluster of three seedlings. Now, it’s one of the stars of his yard! He says that once he completely converted his own landscape to Xeriscape, he cut his outdoor water use almost in half.
Craig is speaking not only from the latest research but from his own first-hand experience, too. He says one reason his programs change and evolve from one year to the next is because of discoveries he makes in his own garden. That may explain why several of the Tagawa “students” who show up for his classes have been there before. They’re back because they just want more!
Part teacher, part coach
Craig says one of his favorite things about teaching at Tagawa’s is looking out at the audience and seeing “the light bulbs come on.” With lots of shots of his own garden, as seen throughout this blog, it becomes clear that a drought-tolerant landscape isn’t just rocks and cactus. He says it’s great to watch people realize just how much water can be saved once a healthy Xeriscape is up and growing.
Craig beams with pride when people who’ve taken his class bring in pictures of their own yards, anxious to show off what they’ve accomplished based on what he’s taught them. And he’s always ready to suggest ways they can make their yards even better.
Bottom line: The way we garden here needs to make sense
Colorado’s Front Range averages fifteen-and-a-half inches of moisture a year. Craig preaches that it just doesn’t make sense to ignore that number and assume that watering a yard full of thirsty plants is a good idea.
Xeriscape offers techniques to cope with our arid climate and still have yards and gardens that are welcoming and wonderful! And Tagawa’s makes a point to carry the plants and supplies to put Craig’s knowledge to work.
Craig’s first class of 2018 at Tagawa’s is called the “Basics of Xeriscape.” It’s an overview of the all of the primary techniques of drought-tolerant gardening. It’s this Saturday starting at noon.
His five-part series “Principles of Xeriscape” follows at Tagawa’s over several weekends to come. See tagawagardens.com for dates and times. All of the classes are free.
Come see and hear this gem of a Xeriscape gardening guru. You won’t be disappointed!