Time to embrace a return to gardening

There are many wonderful things to celebrate about living in Southern Nevada, but perhaps one of the most appealing is that our winters feel more like fall or spring in many other parts of the country. If you don’t believe me, watch newscasts showing blizzards and whiteout conditions in the Midwest while temperatures hit 60 degrees in Las Vegas.

Local “green thumbs” will attest we do have seasons in the Las Vegas Valley. Even though we may not be shoveling snow, we still must wait patiently for spring’s arrival for our landscapes to wake up from their hibernation before we can dig in and refresh our gardens.

Luckily, that moment is here. On Saturday, the Las Vegas Springs Preserve will host its annual spring plant sale, offering a variety of 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. 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 will be able to preview the sale from 7 to 8 a.m. More information is available at www.springspreserve.org.

This year’s sale will feature more than 5,000 drought-tolerant plants in containers ranging from 2-inch to 5-gallon sizes. There will be agaves and cactuses, penstemon, salvia, buckwheat and emu bush as well as perennial wildflowers, shrubs, succulents, and vines and trees to select from. Staff experts will be on hand to share their knowledge about caring for your new plants.

As an added bonus, a new yucca called Brakelights will be released at this sale. It has deeper red flowers than the traditional red yucca and blooms longer. There are only a few available.

This year, there’s a silent auction. Guests will bid on cactus and succulent container gardens. “Table top” garden displays also will be available.

To make your shopping easier, bring a cart or wagon to carry plants to your car.

Indigenous and desert-adapted plants offer numerous advantages for your landscape. First and foremost, they conserve water, which saves on your water bill. At the same time, their low maintenance requirements mean you’ll spend less time caring for them and more time enjoying their beauty.

Critters love them, too, because these plants provide feeding grounds for wildlife and birds.

Because desert plants have evolved over centuries, they are well-adapted to Southern Nevada’s poor soils, sparse rainfall and extremes in heat and cold. As a result, these hearty plants are more resistant to pests and need less nourishment.

On a more aesthetic note, they also provide visitors to your garden with a sense of the need to preserve the stability and beauty of our natural environment.


Also going on during the sale and every Saturday and Sunday this month will be the following gardening classes: At 10:30 a.m., experts highlight new and unusual native plants to consider in your landscape. At 11 a.m., learn how to select, plant, fertilize and care for trees and shrubs. At 1 p.m., I will teach the basics of growing tomatoes. At 2 p.m., learn how to create outstanding designs with perennials in colorful border plantings. At 3 p.m., learn which mulches to use in your landscape.


The Conservation District of Southern Nevada and the College of Southern Nevada also are having a plant sale to kick-start your landscape. It will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Acacia Gardens, 50 Casa Del Fuego in Henderson.

You’ll be able to find a rich and timely selection of Nevada natives, plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, tortoise food plants, succulents and cactus garden dishes along with locally adapted herbs and veggies. Master gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions.

Landscape designing: Also at 9 a.m. Saturday at Acacia Gardens, master gardener Denise McConnell will show how to create a “Landscape Design with the End in Mind.” You’ll be able to develop, visualize and implement your plan, which will result in the beautiful landscape you want. She has won many awards for her own landscape design.

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

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