See the beauty of Nevada plants at flower show

To the rest of the nation, our state is a barren wasteland. We, of course, know that’s not true. There is beauty everywhere. The Nevada Garden Clubs want to recognize, cherish and promote the beauty of our desert gardens to dispel this belief.

The clubs will have their annual fall flower show from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 24 at the Nevada Garden Club Center in the northwest corner of Lorenzi Park, 3333 W. Washington Ave.

The show’s theme is “At the Movies.” Flower arrangements in particular will show an interpretation of this theme, drawing on musicals, westerns and cartoons.

Garden club members — and I hope you — will exhibit homegrown delights to entertain and educate the public. You’ll find roses, herbs, fruits and vegetables — many of these grown at local community gardens — as well as container plants, including cactuses and succulents, and bonsai specimens on display.

A flower show to garden club members is like baseball’s World Series. Exhibitors follow strict rules to exhibit their best efforts. The real achievement comes from competition to reach higher levels of expertise, so exhibitors and visitors learn from each other.

Flower designers make arrangements according to the principles and elements of design ­– rather like baking a cake, the elements are the ingredients (light, space, line, form, size, color, texture and pattern), the principles are the directions (balance, proportion, scale, rhythm, dominance and contrast). The result is a thing of beauty, harmony and distinction all spelled out in the rules of American Creative Design.

Come enter your specimens. Judges go over exhibits with fine-toothed combs, judging for healthiness and cleanliness, and include the difficulty factor of making things grow in our climate, or just come by and enjoy the show.

PLANT TOUR AND SALE

We live in the desert, so we must make use of desert-adapted plants for our landscapes. Landscapers are now using natives and capturing awards because of the vivid color these plants add. Master gardeners take you on a tour of plants, and the preserve is offering these desert wonders for the sole purpose of introducing them into landscapes.

Five of these natives will be available after a tour at 10 a.m. Thursday at Dr. Green Thumb’s booth at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd. Here’s something about them:

■ Hummingbird trumpet is a knee-high perennial that spreads by rhizomes. Its bright tubular red flowers smother the plant from September through December, becoming a real showstopper. Each spring, clean out the old dead stuff and it renews itself again.

■ Winterfat is a shrub that gets knee high with blue-green foliage covered with hairs. It blooms in the spring, but the real show comes when seeds cover branches with downy white fuzz through the winter. It’s irregular shaped, but easy to keep bushy with selective pruning.

■ Las Vegas buckwheat stole the show at last fall’s plant sale with its bright chartreuse blooms. Blooms have a honey scent to attract bees. It loves hot, dry places and mixes well in perennial beds.

■ Turpentine bush is another knee-high shrub with resinous branches that carry a distinct turpentine aroma when crushed. Yellow flowers huddle over dark green foliage into winter. It needs very little care and still remains attractive. It works among cactuses and rocks and does well against hot walls.

■ White bursage also is a knee-high shrub with intricate branching covered with light grayish lacy leaves. It mixes with creosote and cactuses, so you know it’s a water miser.

CONFERENCE FOR THE GREEN INDUSTRY

Have you wished your landscape maintenance man would take educational classes to upgrade his services? Are you tired of a lackluster and uninviting landscape? Do you want a gardener who prunes shrubs right, so you won’t have those geometric, poodle-shaped shrubs pruned by someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing? Encourage your gardener to attend this year’s Desert Green Conference.

The Desert Green Conference is from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Sam’s Town, 5111 Boulder Highway. It is a conference strictly designed for professional landscape gardeners, maintenance personnel, contractors, landscape architects and pesticide operators. The conference brings together the greatest minds to deal with gardening situations in our harsh desert. For more information, go to www.desert-green.org.

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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