Water-Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County is an interactive online gardening website. The tool is custom-built to provide information for the Santa Cruz County environment. Many of the photos are of eye-catching local gardens that make one say “that’s what I want my landscape to look like”.
The website is smart phone and tablet friendly and has a plant search by keyword. For example, you can type in the search box in the top menu, “salvia” and get a listing of all the salvias on the site. In addition to keyword searching, there are popular plant lists like “deer tolerant plants” and a powerful guided plant search. This search asks a series of questions about your desired plant to focus your list. The questions include plant type, height, color, bloom season, sun exposure and soil type. Click done and get a focused photo list of plants that meet your garden’s needs. Clicking on each photo reveals the plant’s details and can be added to a favorites list.
A recent addition to the website now denotes which plants are California Natives with a California poppy icon over the photo. The plants that you add to your list can then be sorted by how much water they typically need on a scale of low, medium and high.
Another great tool is that you can add an entire featured garden to a customized garden list. When you look at your saved garden report, all the plants highlighted in that garden are listed under the main garden photo. This report can then be printed and taken to a nursery, shared on social media or emailed. All the images are now unique website links, so it makes it easier to share the individual plants, gardens and garden resources you are looking at with your friends, family, landscape designer, clients, or gardener.
Check out the “Garden Tours” and “Garden Gallery” photos that show plant “tags” when you hover over the photo to identify the plants in the garden. You can then click on the plant tag to get more information and add it to your customized list.
The resources section is a wealth of information about gardening in a "Water-Smart" way including watering tips and irrigation scheduling for our coastal climate.
The site designed and built by GardenSoft in 2007 in partnership with the Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay and the Water Conservation Coalition of Santa Cruz of which the Soquel Creek Water is a member.
Other sustainable gardening tools are available on watersavingtips.org.