The first annual WaterWise Garden Recognition Contest was launched this spring to celebrate attractive and water efficient residential gardens in the County. The Santa Barbara County Water Agency and participating local water providers encouraged residents to apply for the contest and enter into the running for an agency award and the County-wide grand prize. A winner from each of the participating water purveyor’s service areas received an engraved sign to display in their gardens. Photographs of their winning gardens can be seen online at

The County-wide grand prize winner was Christine Nolte of Santa Barbara, who was awarded a $500 gift card to the nursery of her choice and presented with a beautifully engraved sandstone boulder to display in her front yard. Ms. Nolte, a graduate of the Green Gardener Program, designed her garden to attract butterflies and native pollinators, as well as capture and store the runoff from her roof to reduce the amount of drinking water she has to use to water her plants. Combining mostly drip irrigation with a few sprinklers for the high traffic parkway, she is able to irrigate her garden with very little water. Other finalists for the grand prize, and winners in their respective regions were Annette Winter of Goleta, Jon and Susan Everett of Carpinteria, Arthur Posche of Montecito, Ken and Shandy Mann of Santa Maria, and Jeannette and Harvey Wynne of Lompoc.

The winning gardens displayed a wide variety of themes, plant choices, and irrigation methods and all were beautifully designed and water wise. These home gardens demonstrate that a water wise landscape can include lush plantings and flowers, attract wildlife, and are also easy to maintain. Many of the winners had replaced their original lawns and are now enjoying the added benefit of a lower water bill. Extensive information on water wise gardens in Santa Barbara County can be found online by clicking the “Explore” button at .

With 2013 proving to be among the driest years in recent decades, this garden recognition program is a timely way to promote water conservation and recognize those residents who are doing their part to be water efficient while maintaining beautiful landscaping. The participating water purveyors were the cities of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc as well as the following water districts: Goleta, Montecito, and Carpinteria Valley.

All County residents can visit to learn about ways to save water in the landscape and in the home. Let’s Save Together!


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