Waterwise Botanicals Institute of Higher Learning


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Several years ago it became evident to us here at Waterwise Botanicals, that there exists a real need for education and learning when it comes to everything new that has exploded upon us in light of the drought emergency, and the need for more sustainable and efficient California landscaping.

We were well ahead of the curve on this, because it’s exactly what our passion and activity has been, long before this last 3 years, when it has changed from “smart,” to “necessary.”

The problem is, things have been the same for over 70 years, and folks really aren’t familiar with all the new innovations, or plant materials… (and frankly) how to handle them. That’s why we created the WwB Institute of Higher Landscaping… so that both industry, and individuals, could learn about our “Waterwise Without the Compromise”® methodology, and have access to all the solutions and knowledge needed to make waterwise successful, easily maintained, and beautiful!

Classes will be scheduled here at the “campus” (Waterwise Botanicals). Commercial companies may also request on-site, or corporate training by contacting our office.

Commercial Class Curriculum Available, by Waterwise Botanicals:

Succulents in the Landscape-
This is a comprehensive course that extends from selecting the landscape durable varieties of succulents, to best installation practices, discussions of irrigation systems and sequences, soil treatment, mulch, fertilizer, and yes- even succulent pruning! Also, design principles and concepts for utilizing succulents, whether as their own feature, or integrating them into existing landscape styles. Get your “succulescence” on, and turn it into “succulent-success” in the commercial application of this screamingly popular, but highly misunderstood, plant group.

Turf Replacement/Conversion- innovations and practicality (read, saves your project MONEY!)
You won’t believe the thought process we’ve developed in this highly active sector of landscape renovation. Nobody has worked on this procedure longer (years before it was popular), nor worked out the bugs and figured out efficiencies that will surprise you, like we have. We are COMPLETELY out of the box on this one, but everything we teach is sound, practical, and project tested, hundreds of times over. After you learn the process, you also learn how to apply the new plants, both from a design perspective, as well as cultural protocol during installation and after.

Tools- Certified Label Protection, “EcoRhythm”, and digital WUCOLS/WUCOMPS:
Tired of “boot-legging” on your projects? You go to a great deal of effort to carefully research and select specific plant varieties for your design concept, and then a year or so later, when the contractor gets the job and breaks ground, you find that either he claims they “can’t find the variety(ies) you asked for- so they bring in the wrong plant species? Or a supplier nursery “substitutes” it with another variety of their own choosing, totally messing up your well-thought-out design product? Waterwise Without the Compromise® Certified Label Program” is a simple, enforcable solution, that completely solves this problem. Architects like it because it protects their design intent; contractors like it because it protects them in the bidding process from unscrupulous competitors who have no intention of bringing in the right plants, and it protects quality nurseries- allowing them to bid on and sell the right product, rather than get undercut by a competitor who wants to slip-in something else. Lastly, it protects the property/project- because everything goes as planned, and as promised! And they like it! www.waterwisewithoutthecompromise.com .

Additionally, you can presently access the WUCOLS list for the first time ever, in a digitally mastered form, with search engines, and transportable text, so you can copy and paste right to your plan documents! This is brought to you by the non-profit, 501-C3 educational organization called EcoRhythm (www.ecorhythmgroup.net ). Now that’s just the first part. A supplemental list of plants finally has a forum to be developed as well, under the auspices of WU-COMP’S… the same selection and information process as WUCOLS, that allows the continual updating, submission, and inclusion of new varieties! (coming winter 2014- spring of 2015)

Perennial Mows-
Do many of your perennials get woody, floppy, and unsightly after their first season? Do your Salvia greggi’s look like old tumbleweeds with just a little bit of foliage and color at the top? We’ve learned how to solve this problem, and we can teach you easy, efficient ways of keeping Salvias, Gaura’s, Penstemons, and many others, always covered with fresh, lush, foliage and flowers. You’ll never have to look at the straggly stems, old leaves and “flop” of old growth again!

Containers, Pots and Planters in the Commercial Application, or large Residential Estate settings-
Irrigation practices, drainage, container soil fundamentals, fertilizing, pruning, and plant palettes for different exposures, are all reviewed in this session. Specialized watering systems such as water resorvoir and “wick” are reviewed, and the pro’s and cons are put to open dialogue, question and answer.

“…I’ve Looked at Slopes From Both Sides Now, and still some how…”
You have a slope. Barren, difficult to water, subject to erosion, hard to dig in, and slippery. Yep, the “slippery slope!” So why do you plant iceplant, or some kind of groundcover that looks barren, is difficult to water, gathers weeds, looks bad most of the time, looks like the slope itself!- and is slippery? WHY DO YOU DO IT?!!!! Truly the slippery slope! We teach people to landscape slopes. Create beautiful gardens just like a on flatland. We recently installed a slope demonstration garden so you can see just how to do it. Year round flowes, plumes and tassles of ornamental grasses dancing in the breeze, foliage color contrast, permanent shrubs, spreading roses, durable succulents… and all are spaced about 8-12 feet apart, to fill in within about a year’s time. We’ve put the “garden” back into slope. Oh… and its WATERWISE.

Bio-swale Selections and Bio-remedial Applications:
Carefully selected plant materials can perform the important task of mitigating stormwater flows by filtering sediments, biologically processing chemicals, and metabolically converting suspended organics and nutrients into new plant growth. There has been quite a lot of thought-process in this area, but not necessarily from the perspective that Waterwise Botanicals’ founder, Tom Jesch brings to the table. Spending a good deal of his growing up life on the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, water quality management has been a part of his thinking since his early years. Additionally, farmers and ranchers often observe the practical realities of what actually happens in nature, and natural events, from a far more accurate and efficient perspective. (And Tom is no city boy!) He has personally crafted his own thought process, and plant selections for bio-swales that adapt to both protracted periods of submersion, as well as dry seasons. He isn’t always locked into so called “California Natives”, but when he does recommend non-indigenous species, they’re always seed sterile, or low seed viability, non-invasive varieties. We’re pretty sure his perspective will not only be “cutting edge,” but provide answers to the special dilemas that this environmental condition demands. Included is an amazing new, low growing, seed sterile, stoloniferous grass species that is a California native- introduced by Tom, from his “super secret spot in the mountains,” that can endure submersion, drought, and is evergreen in California coastal areas (looks like a lawn) if mowed once a year in November. (Great for “meadows” too.)

Grasses, Grass-likes, and Daylilies-
Stop hand-cleaning Daylilies while maximizing bloom by learning their rhythms and WwB’s specialized pruning techniques. Some Daylilies are sensitive to crown and root rot at installation (especially during summer) …learn fool-proof way to avoid this. Most ornamental grasses like to be cut down at least once a year… learn pruning without leaving “bee-hives”, “balls,” and “brooms.” Find out what season is appropriate for each of the varieties. What about the stinkin’ Society Garlics?!! We’ll even help you with those!

Landscape Roses-
Ever since your first date with an “Iceberg,” you think you know landscape roses- huh? Well you haven’t even opened the first page of the book yet! Best varieties to choose from, and why. Roses from antiquity. Selections for slopes, borders, compact, spreading, shade, climbers, and hedges. Compare Cistus vs. the “single-petals.” Planting essentials and the myth and destruction of “high planting.” Cultural needs including water and “basins” at installation, watering practices, fertilizer, and rabbit issues (even the big ones with antlers). Thrill to the Tom Jesch methodology of rose pruning!

Irrigation, cycles, and watering strategies that are compliant, but actually relate to THE CARE AND CULTURE OF PLANTS , for conservation during our drought-
“Smart clocks” are NOT necessarily “smart” about the health of plants in the landscape. We teach you how to be smart, conserve water, and build strong, healthy and drought resistant plantings on your projects. What you are being taught by municipalities, water providers, and others may save water, but is GENERALLY WRONG when it comes to the actual health of your plant communities, and preparing them to be waterwise. Give me a water-budget, and I’ll give you both water conservation AND healthy plants!

The “California Natives” landscape- Scare, Care, and Repair-
Are you the proud “maintenance-Momma” of a “natives” landscape that somebody else designed, insisted on, or shoved down your throat? If it’s been frustrating- don’t feel bad. Even the best horticulturists will struggle to keep them alive in cultivation. They hate it! They hate us! They’re ugly most of the year, and they can catch on fire! If that weren’t enough, even though they might be “California natives”, some couldn’t be more foreign to our area, because they’re often from regions of cool temperatures, clear unsalty water, or mountains of California, which can include almost every climate and environment on earth (except pure tropical)! So just because it’s native SOMEWHERE in California, doesn’t mean it’s right at all for your project where it is. Finally, get some help sorting out the good, bad, and the ugly, and learn how to keep the good ones alive, and replace the bad ones with something that might look similar but be much easier to grow. The class also includes a general discussion as to why “natives” are supposed to be the solution, and why this may not only be untrue, but result in discouraging the consumer from water conservation in general.

Other Topics Available:

  • Care and Culture (including pruning) of CA Natives, and the Mediterranean plants.
  • Aloe, Aloe, I don’t know why you say Aloe, I say Goodbye.
  • Just the Flax Mam’: Vertical Accents in the Landscape
  • Landscaping and Plant Combos for small spaces.
  • Green-walls and Living Roofs
  • Pruning efficiently, and well- “No Balls, No Boxes!”
  • The maintenance-free water feature… (Pond-er This)
  • Creating the Waterwise Tropical Garden
  • Challenges in the Shade (Including dry-shade solutions and recommendations)
  • Firesafe Planting- Succulent Salvation
  • Root Competition- Landscape renovation’s most difficult challenge.