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Chief's Monthly Message

Jun 16

[ARCHIVED] Landscape Envy

The original item was published from June 16, 2016 2:14 PM to September 21, 2018 9:26 AM

Guest column by Robert Mendoza, Director of Public WorksRobert Mendoza

Have you ever driven by someone’s home, admired their landscaping and wished you could get their plants for your yard? I admit, I have landscape envy.

I love to see the colors and shapes of other people’s gardens. Those people took time to choose wonderful plants that interact to create a beautiful garden. Then I look at my own planting beds.

Oh, if I only knew the names of your beautiful plants or if I had taken notes or a photo to show a salesperson later, I too could be the envy of those passing by. Reality is, I don’t know the names of many plants I see, I rarely take notes and never feel comfortable photographing someone else's yard, so what is a person like me to do?

We as a community have been discussing water conservation over the last several years.
One question always comes up as we discuss landscaping and xeriscaping, “How can I both conserve water and have a beautiful, lush landscape?” The Annual Planting Guide created by the Derby Park and Urban Forestry Board is a great resource to understand native species of trees and shrubs and best planting practices. Find it at You also can research low-water plants online, like at or talk to local greenhouses for planting ideas.

But how do you know what it's really going to look like if you don’t get a chance to interact with the plants? Well, Derby has a new resource that will allow you to do just that.

The front yard of City Hall aEducational Gardennd Derby Welcome Center at 611 N Mulberry Rd. has recently been refurbished. City Parks staff installed flowers, shrubs, a sample of artificial turf, various types of ground covers and informational signage to identify each. Our goal is to provide an educational landscape that demonstrates how low-water, locally-purchased native plants can enhance your home or business.

Consider this your invitation to stop by and browse this new educational garden. Get up close and personal with these plants. Take photos, jot down notes and let your imagination flow. Come back often so you can watch the plants mature and change with the seasons. Contact us with questions about what you see at 788-0301 (7 a.m. – 4 p.m. M-F), and Parks staff will happily assist.

Happy planting.

Published in the Derby Informer on June 15, 2016