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KNOW BEFORE YOU GROW | Make the desert bloom with help from Pahrump’s best gardeners

Updated March 3, 2023 - 11:10 am

It’s time for the valley’s gardeners to dust off their gloves and tools and get to work.

For those striking out into the world of gardening for the first time, or those who would like to share tips and tricks with fellow plant enthusiasts, the Pahrump Valley Garden Club is a local group dedicated to beautifying the valley by encouraging residents to improve their surroundings. Whether it be the stark beauty of xeriscape or the lush abundance of a flower or vegetable plot, the Pahrump Valley Garden Club supports all sorts of botanical pursuits and its members are always eager to share their know-how with others.

“The Pahrump Valley Garden Club has been around since the 1990s,” club secretary Sandy Nelson detailed of the organization’s history. “It is a group of gardening enthusiasts who get together to share stories and knowledge about the triumphs of the garden, or stories of, ‘Now, why did that plant die?’ Some of our members are also certified master gardeners who share their knowledge of gardening in the desert… If you have arrived at our desert from another part of the country, you will soon find out that gardening here is very different…”

There are many factors that impact gardening in the Pahrump Valley, Nelson explained, including variations in soil composition across town and large temperature swings between seasons and sometimes even between the day and night.

In addition, “The Pahrump Valley is large and has many microclimates. A plant might live near the Winery microclimate and not survive near the middle of town,” Nelson said. “So come to a garden club meeting, have your questions answered and learn how to make our desert bloom.”

The club meets once a month, with presentations focusing on a different topic each meeting. The next meeting, which is set for March 11, will include discussion about, “Companion Planting – methods of growing plants to combination to repel pests, attract beneficials, benefit the growth of another plant. Companion planting could decrease the need for pesticides, attract pollinators, improve the soil and increase your harvest,” the club’s flyer for the March meeting reads.

In addition to informative conversation, every meeting includes a raffle and the March meeting will include a free seed swap as well, so attendees are encouraged to bring along any seeds they would like to share.

Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Texas Sage, shown sporting thousands of small purple flower ...
Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Texas Sage, shown sporting thousands of small purple flowers, is just one desert adapted plant that can be grown locally.

Aside from its monthly meetings, the Pahrump Valley Garden Club hosts one large public event each year, the Annual Landscape Tour.

“In the spring the public is allowed to tour some of the private yards of their fellow Pahrump residents. You buy a ticket and then go on a self-guided tour of the sites,” Nelson explained. “We try to choose different types of landscapes, like desert, xeriscape or colorful raised beds with flowers. The homeowner is there to answer questions and hopefully give you inspiration for your own landscape.”

The 2023 Landscape Tour is set for Saturday, May 13 and while it certainly provides an excellent opportunity for people to see what can be grown in Pahrump, the event has another purpose, that of fundraising for local causes.

“All of the money raised from our annual Landscape Tours goes back into the community. Earlier this year, we donated the proceeds from the 2022 Landscape Tour to four local organizations, including Living Free Health and Fitness, the Pahrump Valley Museum, the VFW Veterans Food Pantry and Floyd Elementary School for its school garden, run through its STEM program,” club vice president MaryRose Parkman detailed.

Tickets for the landscape tour are just $7 each and can be reserved by emailing PahrumpValleyGardenClub@gmail.com or visiting Sunflower Fashions, the Pahrump Community Library, the Southern Nye County Cooperative Extension or at the Master Gardener’s booth at the Farmers Market held each Saturday at Tractor Supply.

The Pahrump Valley Garden Club also maintains a desert garden at the Pahrump Valley Museum, featuring a variety of plants native to the Mojave Desert as well as those that have adapted to the environment. “From the Mojave there is a Joshua Tree and several types of cacti,” Nelson detailed. “Some of the desert adapted plans are the Desert Willow and Texas Sage.” Visitors are always welcome to stop by the museum and take a look at the club’s garden.

The Pahrump Valley Garden Club meets the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Pahrump Valley Museum, 401 E. Basin Avenue. A membership to the club costs $12 for an individual or $21 for a couple. The next meeting is set for Saturday, March 11.

For more information contact Nelson at PahrumpValleyGardenClub@gmail.com or 775-537-7553 or Parkman at 925-639-8337 or ParkmanMaryRose@gmail.com

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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