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Botanical and Test Gardens

Dry Wash

The dry wash that runs through the center of the main garden area happened by accident. This wash follows the natural contour of the property before it was developed. Somehow during development, miscommunications came about and the design team was sure that nothing was to be placed in this wash. For this reason, no irrigation or plants were added. The horticultural team decided to let this area develop on its own as an experiment. Most but not all of the plants growing in the wash germinated on their own. The seeds have either blown or washed in as happens in nature. Some, such as wildflower seeds were planted, but not irrigated except by rainfall and water harvested from the hard surface of the parking lot and buildings. This growth of plants has taken place over a five-year period. A few native plants were planted as starters and hand watered until established, but less than 1% of the plant material has arrived this way. There are lessons to be learned from this experiment. It shows what plants can survive exclusively on water harvest (runoff) and rainfall. It also shows that many plants can survive on much less irrigation than they are typically given. In the spring time, especially after a moist winter, the wash is covered in beautiful wildflowers of various colorations. We encourage the public to come throughout the year and enjoy a truly low water beautiful landscape. For more information, please contact Professor M.L. Robinson, 702-257-5529.

dry wash