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Master Gardeners bring new life to Nellis AFB grove

Posted 5/19/2016

Wildflowers attract quail and hummingbirds

Nellis AFB Grove

Penstemon growing in the Nellis AFB grove

What once was nothing but an area of half-dead trees is now a growing oasis of wildflowers that are attracting wildlife to the environmental grove at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB).

The grove is a community project that started roughly two years ago and is maintained by about eight Master Gardeners from Cooperative Extension according to Master Gardener Kimberly Williams, project chair.

“There’s not a lot of available water. So, we’ve been working with the civil engineering group and they’ve been slowly bringing water to the grove for us,” stated Williams. “When they started putting in the water system, that’s when all the wildflowers really started popping up.”

Since the system was put in place last summer, an array of wildflowers, that include Penstemon and Brittlebush, began growing from the seeds the Master Gardeners planted. However, flowers are not the only species making an appearance at the grove.

“We always had coyotes that live on the base but since the wildflowers started coming, we have two coveys of quail and now a bunch of hummingbirds,” said Williams.

Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Anne Marie Lardeau expects the environmental grove to blossom even more.

“What really gets me excited are the much more numerous seedlings that germinated all over this spring. There are seedlings of many varieties everywhere. The rains we enjoyed this spring should ensure their survival until this year’s monsoon rains,” said Lardeau.

“When a native seed germinates and grows in place, it is much more drought resistant since its tap root has not been disturbed. It should survive easily without irrigation in our desert climate. The abundance of seedlings I observed last month lead me to believe we shall enjoy a spectacular abundance of wildflowers in future years,” she added.

To celebrate Arbor Day, the Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Nellis AFB firemen participated in a joint clean-up day at the grove trimming trees, pulling weeds and raking the foot paths. To show appreciation for the Master Gardeners hard work, the base firemen threw a barbeque.

If you are interested in this Master Gardener project and would like more information about the environmental grove located at the Nellis AFB, email or call Ann Edmunds, Master Gardener Coordinator at 702-257-5587.

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