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Becoming a Desert Gardener - Master Gardener lecture series

Posted 9/16/2008

Free and Open to the Public!

Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) Master Gardeners as they explore the Becoming a Desert Gardener series during October. The first class starts Wednesday, October 8, with an hour-long presentation beginning at 7 p.m. Classes will be held at UNCE Lifelong Learning Center, 8050 Paradise Road (Windmill exit off the I-215), Las Vegas, NV 89123, each Wednesday during October from 7-8 p.m.

The first class, "Don’t Kill that Ugly Bug — Beneficial Insects for Your Yard!" will be taught by Master Gardener Paula Garrett. Join Garrett as she discusses some of the great things bugs do for us in our own yard, including pollinate our fruits and veggies and eat other (harmful) insects. Garrett will also show you how to provide habitat for our fine creepy crawly friends in the form of bee boxes.

Garrett is a research scientist with UNLV where she works with the Arboretum and Barrick Museum. Her love of nature and bugs started early on with caterpillars in her backyard but has grown to encompass all our insect neighbors from praying mantis to our native bees. She has been a Master Gardener volunteer since 2007.

To register for one or more sessions, call the Master Gardener Home Gardening Help Line at 257-5555. Other classes in the series are: October 15 -- "Palms of Las Vegas", Master Gardener Vicki Yuen will give us tips on how to identify and care for the palms we commonly see in our valley. Learn some of the key characteristics: is the shape of the frond like a feather or like your hand? Do they have spines? Which ones grow best here; which ones have problems?

Yuen moved to Las Vegas in 2001, and completed the Master Gardener training in 2003. She is a volunteer waterer and docent at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Before living here, she lived in Hong Kong for several years, and finds the horticultural environment to be completely different!

October 22 — "Fruit and Nut Trees that Grow Best in Southern Nevada" by Kathie Slaughter. You CAN grow great-tasting fruit in the desert — you just need to choose the correct varieties. Master Gardener Slaughter will cover the requirements of tree care such as pruning, fertilizing, spraying, watering and thinning of fruit. Learn which trees need a cross pollinator to do well (that means you need two trees).

A Master Gardener since 1999, Slaughter has lived in Las Vegas for 33 years. She grew up in Southern California in an orange grove, where after it was no longer commercially picked, her family planted additional fruit trees. She now volunteers at the Master Gardener Experimental Orchard and has fruit and nut trees in her own yard. Having an abundance of fruit has sharpened her skills in canning, jam making, drying and otherwise accumulating a lot of recipes to use up the fruit.

October 29 — "Ornamental Grasses—Graceful, Glistening and Gorgeous!" by Jean Engelmann. Ornamental grasses in colors from rich copper to icy blue and from solid colors to stripes and splashes defy the notion that grass is only green! Master Gardener Engelmann’s presentation will include: types and characteristics of various ornamental grasses, planting and maintenance, plus lots of pictures showing grasses in their full glory.

Engelmann lived in Minnesota until her family moved to Henderson, Nevada in 1989. She discovered that although the growing seasons are different and the soil is poor, an amazing variety of plants can be grown here. She became a Master Gardener in 1993, and regularly volunteers on the Home Gardening Help Line, as a docent at the Gardens at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and a speaker on several gardening topics.

To register for one or more sessions, call the Master Gardener Home Gardening Help Line at (702) 257-5555. Master Gardeners are community volunteers who have completed an intensive horticultural training program on offered by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. For additional information on the Master Gardeners of Southern Nevada or the "Becoming a Desert Gardener" series, contact: Ann Edmunds, Program Coordinator, or (702) 257-5587.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is an outreach arm of the University that extends unbiased, research-based knowledge from the University-and other land-grant universities-to local communities. Educational programs are developed based on local needs, sometimes in partnership with other agencies and volunteers. For more information about University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, please visit the website at or call (702) 222-3130.

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