Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) accent grass and wildflowers in Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) sustainable lawn meadow garden, design by Judith Phillips

New Mexico sustainable lawn meadow – design by Judith Phillips.

I am constantly asked to contribute photos to various non-profit groups.  My usual response is to ask if everyone else is working for free, but occasionally I want to give my photos to causes.  Such as the new EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Photo Contest – Water Saving Yard.EPA_Contest

I feel like it is my responsibility to encourage gardeners to have success and hope the EPA contest gets lots of submissions, creating an on-line gallery that will inspire water smart gardens by showing good pictures of what actually works.  I am going to enter the contest myself and hope PhotoBotanic Workshop students will also contribute.  I am offering a prize on Gardening Gone Wild, the Plants for Summer-Dry Gardens disc, and anyone who wants to submit though links on that site is eligible.

The direct link to submit is through a special Facebook page: FB (, or send your #WaterSavingYard photos by using the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram..

Now, can you help me decide what one photo I should enter ?

Should I stay true to my California focus and show a rustic back yard with no lawn and native plants?

Repeated plantings of yellow flower yellow Sulfer Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) in mixed beds with native rock field stone in Kyte drought tolerant California native plant backyard garden design

Or this front yard lawn meadow in Santa Barbara using native grasses?

Nassella pulchra, purple Needle grass, nativ egarsse meadow lawn substitute in summer-dry garden Santa Barbara California

Or this no-mow lawn from the Willenberg garden in Minnesota, recently profiled in the Learning Center.  Better Than Lawn. (Free to members.  Join)

Lawn substitute, no mow fescue meadow with path leading to seating area past bird house, Minnesota garden

I know from my travels that my favorite gardens are those that save water by being adapted to the local conditions, often using native plants.  Here is Melinda Taylor’s SITES® certified garden in Pennsylvania.

Stylophorum diphyllum - Celandine poppy, Yellow wood poppies in backyard water conserving garden with native plants, Melinda Taylor garden, Pennsylvania

And one of Larry Weiner’s meadows in Connecticut: Water Saving by using native plants.

Front yard flowering meadow garden, Connecticut meadow garden with native wildflowers; Larry Weiner Design

In New Mexico, this Judith Philips design uses native grasses for water saving alternative lawns.

Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) accent grass and wildflowers in Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) sustainable lawn meadow garden, design by Judith Phillips

And David Salman, who started High Country Gardens, has his own magnificent Water Saving Yard also in New Mexico, where water is always precious.

David Salman xeric New Mexico rock garden with silver foliage Artemisia frigida, Penstemon pinnifolius, Melampodium (Blackfoot Daisy) and Claret-cup cactus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus

There are 8 choices.  I can only submit one.  Which would you send?

Link to the Plants for Summer-Dry Gardens disc, the prize on Gardening Gone Wild.