Load up wagon with desert plants

On Saturday, the Springs Preserve will host its Autumn Plant Sale, offering visitors a variety of unique and hard-to-find plants, along with many familiar ones adapted to our Mojave Desert environment.

The sale will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 333 S. Valley View Blvd. Admission is free, although regular admission prices will apply for the museums and galleries. The sale also will feature booths, food and beverages. For more information, go to www.springspreserve.org.

Bring a wagon or cart to assist you while collecting your prize plants. The preserve has only a limited supply of carts available for use.

The sale will feature limited quantities of about 3,000 native and drought-tolerant plants, which will be sold in sizes ranging from 2 inches to 5 gallons, as well as a handful of larger specimen plants with prices ranging from $3 to $50 based on the size of the plant.

Horticulturist Russ Harrison and associates at the preserve search the Mojave Desert looking for new natives. They then grow these “desert dandies” from seed with the purpose of introducing them into the marketplace.

“We are even surprised with our findings and want people to experience their beauty. When you give these plants a little TLC, they create a fragrant and functional use in your garden. They are practical, water-smart and simply beautiful. Landscapers are now using these natives and capturing all the landscape awards sponsored by Southern Nevada Water Authority,” Harrison said.

He encourages Springs Preserve members to take advantage of a special preview sale from 7 to 8 a.m.

Indigenous and desert-adapted plants offer numerous advantages for your landscape. Of course, they help conserve water, which in turn helps you save money. Meanwhile, their low maintenance means gardeners spend less time caring for them, compared to plants that have a more difficult time growing in our environment. They also provide habitat and feeding grounds for wildlife and birds.

You’ll rarely find chaparral or creosote bushes in nurseries, because they are so hard to start from seed. But once started, all they need is a little TLC and they become a dramatic part of your landscape. These plants will be available at the sale.

Plant groupings will be available to assist visitors in choosing species that complement each other, taking into account colors and textures, and tolerances to environmental conditions, such as plants that thrive in full sun or in shade.

Garden experts will be on hand to show you how to care for your new plants and answer your gardening questions.

The timing of the Autumn Plant Sale reminds us our seasons are changing in the not-so-distant future. Even with the heat giving way to more comfortable weather, it’s important to remember we are still in the midst of a drought. To that end, the Autumn Plant Sale provides gardeners with an invaluable opportunity to add more water-efficient plants to their existing water-efficient landscapes.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority offers comprehensive information on its website, www.snwa.com to make the conversion to its Water Smart Landscape Rebate program easy for you. It pays you $1.50 per square foot of grass removed and replaced with water-efficient plants.

While at the sale, visit the preserve’s beautiful gardens. You’ll see many plants you will be choosing in a mature setting. This will give you ideas on how they’ll size up in your yard. You’ll also be able to glean ideas of how to use them in your landscape.


If you say you can’t grow vegetables in Las Vegas, try fall gardening. It’s ideal for growing radishes, lettuce, cabbages and many other vegetables. Let us help sharpen your skills to make it a pleasant experience at 8:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday through September at the Springs Preserve. I teach the Saturday class.


At noon Tuesday, Norm Schilling, owner of Schilling Horticulture Group, will tell how to “Take Good Care of Trees and Shrubs in Southern Nevada,” at the Sunset Garden Club at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway in Henderson. Schilling hosts the KNPR-FM, 88.9 radio show “Desert Bloom.”


Greg Starr, a plant explorer from Arizona, will speak at 2 p.m. today at the Las Vegas Cactus and Succulent Society meeting at the Springs Preserve. He will be talking about his favorite subject, agaves. The society is inviting the public.

Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at linn.mills@ springspreserve.org or call him at 822-7754.

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