Nonprofit’s ‘Garden in a Box’ program promotes water savings

Garden In A Box allows customers to plant with confidence species that are adapted to Colorado’s climate. Photo: CRCGarden In A Box allows customers to plant with confidence species that are adapted to Colorado’s climate.
Photo: CRC

A Colorado nonprofit, Center for ReSource Conservation, has been working with professional landscapers to put together this year’s “Garden In a Box” packages.

Since 1997, CRC has been offering Colorado residents an opportunity to use water-conserving plants via Garden In a Box. The kit contains 14 to 32 perennials in pots, a plant and care guide, and a 1-4 plant by number map to make installation simple.

“We’re not going to be getting any more water in the years to come, but we’re going to have more people,” Natalie Sullivan, CRC’s water program manager for landscape programs, told the Broomfield Enterprise. “We need to be extremely aware of how we use the resources we have, especially with the threat of drought always present.”

The population of Colorado has grown from 1 million in 1930 to 5 million today, according to the Colorado Water plan, and demographers believe the current population could double by 2050.

If the plants receive proper care, they can use 60 percent less water than a traditional turf lawn, Sullivan says. After two to three years, the roots are established and the plants require little irrigation.

“We had local landscape designers select these plants and put them in a design as if they were doing an installation,” Sullivan said. “The plants can be placed in raised beds, but the kit does not come with that.”

Garden In a Box is designed so that the plants included are well adjusted to Colorado climate and provide color for three seasons out of the year.

“It’s a really cool program,” Sullivan said. “One primary comment that I get from people is that Garden In a Box makes it so easy; it makes their lawns less intimidating. A lot of people who have moved to Colorado go to big-box stores and buy a lot of plants and they all die because they’re not adapted to the climate.”

In 2015, CRC was able to sell more than 2,500 kits. According to the Broomfield Enterprise, 1,300 people are already signed up to be on the pre-sale list. They will be notified as soon as the plants go on sale, as there is a limited quantity. CRC has ordered close to 3,000 gardens for this year.

Residents in the communities and water districts that partner with CRC are eligible to receive a $25 discount on select gardens while supplies last.

The garden kits go on sale March 1, with prices ranging from $74 to $144. The kits for 2016 include a “Bees ‘N Blooms” box for attracting pollinators and an edible garden that is inspired by the historical victory gardens.

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