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Improve your landscape at plant sale

The Springs Preserve’s annual spring plant sale is your chance to get some highly unusual and colorful heat-loving, water-conserving plants not normally found at your nursery. The sale runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 333 S. Valley View Blvd.

Admission is free, but regular admission prices apply to other activities at the preserve. Springs Preserve members can take advantage of its exclusive preview sale at 7 a.m. Visit www.springspreserve.org for more information.

You’ll be able to select from more than 5,000 hearty, drought-tolerant plants of many sizes. Garden staff experts will show you how to install and care for your new plants.

The Springs Preserve encourages you to bring a cart or wagon to carry your plants while shopping at the event.

Indigenous and desert-adapted plants offer numerous advantages for your landscape. They conserve water, which lowers your water bill. And since they are almost maintenance-free, you’ll spend more time enjoying your landscape and other activities.

Plant species native to the desert have evolved over centuries, meaning they are well-adapted to our poor soils, sparse rainfall and extreme heat and cold. These factors make them more resistant to pests while requiring less nourishment. They also provide a needed habitat and feeding ground for wildlife.

If you haven’t converted your landscape, tour the preserve’s gardens during the sale to gather ideas to incorporate in your yard. Seeing plants in their mature state will let you know what they will look like in your garden.

Here are some surefire bloomers I highly recommend:

Orange jubilee: This upright lush green shrub produces masses of orange-reddish trumpet flowers all season. After flowering, a few long, narrow tan seedpods will persist. It thrives in full sun and reflected-heat exposures. It might freeze down but quickly bounces back.

Pam’s pink honeysuckle: This is a relatively new introduction with traits similar to the traditional honeysuckle vine. Its two-lipped, cream and pink flowers cover the vines, perfuming the yard to attract pollinators through the season. Once established, it will become your favorite. Blue-green waxy foliage breaks up the monotony of the traditional greens. It’s an excellent filler vine. It needs only periodic pruning to maintain its size and encourage new growth.

Valentine’s plant: This beauty will win your heart with its fuchsialike blossoms from January through March. For best flower production, plant it in full sun. Its reddish-tinged foliage becomes an additional reason to love this plant. Its natural form requires very little pruning. It gets waist-high and 5 feet wide.

Whale’s tongue agave: This stunning agave will catch everybody’s attention. Its powder blue, whale’s-tongue leaves have a pronounced gutter, funneling all water to its roots. It really makes an accent, getting waist-high at maturity. Like all agaves, it develops a tall flowering stalk with clusters of light green flowers after several years and then dies. It does best when protected from the afternoon sun.

Desert zinnia: What a beautiful knee-high, mounding summer bloomer this is. It covers itself with small, papery white flowers with orange centers. Gray-green needle leaves hide behind its profusion of flowers. It’s a wonderful perennial.

Little bluestem grass: Its undulating blue-green growth makes this grass a beauty. It gets waist-high. Its winter foliage becomes tan to rusty red, but its showy flowering spikes become very striking when backlit by the sun. It loses its glitter if overwatered. Use it in a meadow setting or mix it in with wildflowers. It grows all across North America.

Prairie zinnia: It’s a great ankle-high groundcover. Its yellow-orange daisylike flowers bloom through the summer and into fall. After blooming, the flowers turn dry and papery and persist on the plant. It spreads by underground stems to form other colonies and reseeds itself. Trim it back in the winter. It handles full sun, reflected heat and rocky soils, but overwatering will kill it.

end-minded DESIGN

Master Gardener Denise McConnell, who has won awards for her landscape designs, will show you how to develop and implement your beautiful landscape with the end in mind. Her landscape always has something blooming. The workshop is
9 a.m. Monday at Acacia Park, 50 Casa Del Fuego St. in Henderson.

Linn Mills’ garden column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at linn.mills@ springspreserve.org or 822-7754.

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