Edit July 23, 2017:
Some things have changed a bit since my last post and I’d like to offer a brief explanation of why I haven’t posted for so long. I especially want to apologize to anyone who’s asked me a question and didn’t get a response over the past couple of years. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your questions were well-answered by other sources, but I’m still going to give the best answers I have in the comments section of the posts where they were asked in the hopes that the information will help someone else down the road.
After several years at the nursery, I took a job as a gardener at one of the largest cannabis grow operations in Vegas. I worked on the cloning team, helping to maintain the mother plants and the cuttings we took on a daily basis. It was seriously one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had. The people there were fun and relaxed (hard to imagine in a weed garden, I know), but also really enthusiastic about what they were doing. The energy and general camaraderie in that place were like nothing I’d ever seen before. I hope it’s still like that.
After working there for a couple of months, I was offered a job interview with a local landscaper who I’ve sincerely admired for years. I didn’t want to leave the cannabis job, but I couldn’t resist at least talking to the guy. I mean, his company regularly wins local awards for its approach to sustainable landscapes. Long story short, we hit it off right away and I went to work for him last year.
I’m not gonna lie, I lost pretty much any and all street cred I ever had in my whole entire life by leaving the grower to work in residential landscaping, but the company I work for now is even more awesome than the last one. We’re truly all working toward a common mission and we’re all encouraged to learn, whether it be by formal training, experience or mistakes. I have yet to see someone punished when they take responsibility for their screw-up and I’ve seen some pretty big bumbles over the past eighteen months, my own included.
The reason I’m telling you all this is first, to explain why I’ve been gone. I went from working part-time at the nursery to full-time at both of the jobs since and I was honestly a little overwhelmed last year by the position I’m in now. Excuses, excuses, I know. The good news is that I have been learning more about plants in general and how they behave in Las Vegas specifically in the meantime. Some of what I’ve learned contradicts my earlier posts, so I’m doing my best to make edits where necessary based on the information I’ve gathered. I promise you this, I’m always working to give you the best information I can find and I’m never trying to mislead you.
I recognize that July 2017 is kind of a weird time to pick up the topic of gardening in Las Vegas again. This year has been especially hot, causing garden and gardener alike to show signs of stress in the most unattractive ways. I sweat to the point that I’ve literally been asked if it was raining outside while the leaves of some plants are curling up, turning brown and outright giving up the ghost. But you know what that means? It means it’s the perfect time to lie around inside with the air conditioning on and learn about our favorite plants on the internet with no pants on.
After all, the heat in Vegas may be more intense than ever before, but it’s never too hot here to get a little dirty
Original Post May 2015:
I work a day job at a local nursery, where I give plant suggestions and advice to people who are redoing their landscaping or want to know why their plants are struggling. We’re in Las Vegas, so as you can imagine, more often than not the problem with a struggling plant is related to it not getting enough water or getting too much sun.
It’s also pretty common that the person who I’m talking with is from somewhere else- California, Minnesota, Ohio- and they often want to tell me about the incredible garden they had when they lived there.
“Hydrangeas as tall as the house,” they’ll say. “And I never had to do anything for them. You just throw some seeds out back and watch ‘em grow.”
“Forget everything you knew about growing plants there,” I tell them. “You’re in the Mojave desert now. You might as well be gardening on Mars.”
I don’t tell them that an unskilled monkey could have an amazing garden in San Diego, but I’m thinking it. Show me someone who’s growing beautiful plants in the desert and that’s when you’ll see me impressed. It takes real work to get a plant established in a climate this harsh, let alone have it thrive, so when I see it done right, I want to shake the hand of the dedicated soul who managed it.
This blog is meant to showcase the great trees and shrubs that I see in my city and in the world at large. And if I know me like I think I do, you’ll probably see at least a few really bad plants, too. Ideally, you and I will both learn something about plants in general or a specific bit of greenery with every post. Just remember, there are a lot of truly fascinating, beautiful, weird and wicked plants in the world, so this could take awhile.
Please feel free to email me with questions, comments or suggestions any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love any feedback that you have to offer!