Stock up for spring planting at Springs Preserve


The Springs Preserve’s gigantic spring plant sale offers a wide variety of unique and hard to find plants, along with many familiar ones adapted to our desert environment.

The sale is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd. Admission is free, although regular admission prices will apply for museums and galleries. Springs Preserve members can get a sneak peek and buy plants at 7 a.m.

The sale will feature native and drought-tolerant plant species sold in container sizes ranging from 2 inches up to 5 gallons. Springs Preserve garden experts will answer customers’ questions about how to care for their new plants.

The preserve does have wagons for toting plants while shopping. But you’ll make your shopping easier if you bring your own wagon or cart to collect plants before purchase.

One of the most troubling consequences of the Las Vegas Valley’s “housing bubble” was the sudden vacancy of many homes in our community because of foreclosure.

As underwater homeowners left their properties behind, their landscaping — especially those with once-lush lawns, shrubs and trees requiring large amounts of water — shriveled and died.

However, as I drove around town recently, I found exceptions to this rule: While grassy lawns at homes with disconnected water service withered from a lack of irrigation, water-conserving plants better suited to our natural environment continued to survive.

Seeing this disparity made me think about the importance of installing a desert-friendly, water-efficient landscape in Southern Nevada. Unlike lawns, which require about 73 gallons of water per square foot annually, drip-irrigation maintained landscapes consume approximately 17 gallons per square foot annually. This not only reduces the strain on our already scarce and most precious natural resource, it also helps reduce your monthly water bills.

Here are some beautiful plants of the hundreds available at the sale that you’ll want to consider:

■ Tecoma hybrids: If you are looking for large tubular showy orange to yellow and now crimson flowers, take a gander at the many varieties available. They bloom profusely throughout the summer and into the fall and hummingbirds love the flowers. Their deep green foliage accentuates their showy blossoms. Tecomas get up to 7 feet tall depending on the variety. These beauties thrive in full or reflected sun exposures and will freeze but bounce back next spring.

■ Shrubby wormwood: I hate the name but this beauty quickly made me forget about that as soon as I felt the soft delicate foliage. I now call it angel’s hair. Its deeply lobed, silvery gray-green foliage is so soft and delicate, and really stands out at dusk. It’s a fast grower, getting up to knee high depending on the variety. Its clusters of blooms are small yellow button-shaped flowers appearing in the spring. It takes full sun or part shade and gets by with minimal water.

Bunchleaf penstemon: This gorgeous penstemon has multitudes of tubular iridescent violet flowers sitting on top of dark green foliage. This perennial gets waist- high, making it a dramatic border plant or mounding groundcover. It’s from California’s grasslands but adapts well to our conditions. It loves full sun to partial shade and gets by on little water.

■ Texas betony: This Texas perennial herb is from the mint family. It has arrow-shaped leaves that are fuzzy when touched. When guests visit your garden, crush some leaves to produce a lovely aroma. It has bright red tubular flowers, so you know where the hummingbirds will be. It also blooms to late in the fall. It might freeze down but quickly reappears each spring. It will make a great seasonal addition to your garden. It gets about knee-high and loves full-to- partial shade.

GROW VEGETABLES, FRUIT, HERBS

Ever wonder why some gardens flourish and others just get by? It starts with the soil, planting at the right time and knowing how to care for them. Let our master gardeners share their wealth of knowledge on growing your own produce and more at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Acacia Demonstration Gardens, 50 Casa Del Fuego in Henderson.

Linn Mills’ garden column appears on Sundays. You can reached him at linnmillslv@gmail.com or call him at 526-1495.