I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Beautiful Gardens

In Las Vegas, they have an annual landscape contest. I was privileged to be asked to be one of the judges. It was very interesting to see how differently people perceive their space. We went to homes, commercial property, a church and public spaces. Beauty is so subjective. I know what I like but our differences are what make life fascinating. I can appreciate other peoples ideas. The end result is that the community becomes more interesting and creates a better quality of life. The bottom line is saving water. We are using less water with more people due to conservation efforts. A common misconception is most of the water is used by hotels and visitors, not true. Most water is used by homes. Water used inside is recycled and we return purified water to Lake Mead and the Colorado River. This is important because we can take out a gallon for every gallon that is returned. The biggest water use is for landscapes, none of that can be returned to qualify for return water credits. So xeriscaping (dry gardening) becomes an important goal. No new houses can have grass in the front yard anymore. We have saved millions of gallons of water and that's the greatest thing in our desert. I wanted to show you a few of the places that entered the landscape contest. You've seen my house in an earlier post so you know what xeriscaping can look like. When I converted my yard 6 years ago, I had just finished a botany class called Plants of the Southwest Deserts. I wanted my yard to look like the edge of the desert. One thing I believe strongly about is that a garden should never remain static. It should always grow and change. That maturity is what gives me so much satisfaction about what I created. I'm sure the other folks who designed these gardens feel equally satisfied. We have a very interesting plant palette in the Mojave Desert. The ground is salty and the water is salty, plants that come for other places generally struggle here. So the best idea is to use salt tolerant plant material. I think I fooled you, the green stuff is artificial turf. It uses zero water. This is a public park. As you can see, desert landscaping is not just rocks, it can be glorious.


Blogger Gary said...

You definately fooled me.Thanks for the photos. I really enjoyed looking at them.

Although we get 48 inches of rain a year here in Houston, I am still very much interested in xeriscaping, mainly because I have a strong interest in low maintenance gardening. This year I'm particularly interested in playing around with pentas and profusion zinnias. I don't know if you consider those xeriscape plants, but I guess I do.

May 04, 2006 4:35 AM  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Your article was very interesting and informative also. I love desert gardening.

I apparently have been using xeriscaping without realizing what it was called. I plant native species and never water anything...the plants like it that way, and do very well without my intervention...Other, than a few weeds being pulled out, and the grass being mowed.

May 04, 2006 8:44 AM  
Anonymous said...

Would love to have an outside wedding with beautiful scenery like yours, do you know a location.

September 06, 2008 5:16 PM  

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