Growing up in Las Vegas, I have seen our city neighborhoods transition from green lawns and exotic flowers to a valley of decorative rock and desert hardy plants and trees. Instead of fighting the desert, many of us are beginning to seek the desert’s natural beauty for our landscapes. Helping our community with this transition is the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. They host the Master Gardeners program, Junior Master Gardener program,a home gardening help line, naturalist certification, demonstration gardens, classes, and more.
Because I will soon be installing a drip irrigation system in my own backyard, I decided to take their class, Gardening in Small Places: Understanding your irrigation, taught by area specialist and professor, M.L. Robinson. This class did not teach me how to install a drip system, but did give me an opportunity to learn the foundations of drip irrigation. One of the most helpful aspects of the class were all of the photo examples of how not to do irrigation. Robinson takes pictures of irrigation everywhere. Sometimes you look around your neighborhood to get an idea of how things should be done, but that can cause you many problems. Robinson was able to highlight what was wrong with irrigation systems and the dismal outcomes. The class was 4 hours long, $25, and we were provided with handouts and a reusable goodie bag to take home. I recommend taking this class if you are trying to develop an irrigation system for your desert landscape and want to minimize use and waste of water.
In conjunction with this class, I highly recommend taking the free drip irrigation class provided by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Springs Preserve. This class is more hands-on, and you actually put pieces of a drip irrigation system together. If you take both classes you will have a good foundation when beginning the process of irrigating your desert landscape.
Biking Trail in Henderson
There is a bike ride I want to bring to town one day. It is called the Aeolian Ride. One of the first steps is figuring out the perfect bike trail in town for this ride. It is a family friendly ride, and artistic costumes are worn. The route needs to be easy and about nine miles long with a minimal amount of street crossings. I have been keeping an eye on a trail that runs along St. Rose Parkway and connects with a trail on Paseo Verde Parkway, which leads to Paseo Verde Park. Just in case you are wondering, the trail is separate from the main road, but runs parallel to it. I am a bit timid about riding my bike on the busy streets so I love this kind of bike trail system.
On Saturday afternoon, I left my car at Paseo Verde Park and rode my bike to The M Resort-Spa-Casino on St. Rose Parkway and Las Vegas Blvd. I started out in a manicured neighborhood with flowers and tree-lined streets, passed by Green Valley Ranch Resort-Spa-Casino and then headed west on St. Rose Parkway. The landscape transitions into a vast desert landscape with desert blooms bursting into full color. Along the way I found seating for anyone using the trail and interpretive signs to teach visitors more about the animals and terrain. There is a small airport on the way, and I got to see small planes dancing in the air. I felt a bit of an incline most of the way to The M, and I was riding into strong wind gusts. At times, I was feeling the burn and missing having my dog LeeLoo attached to my bike. She had to stay home for this long ride.
Once I made it to The M, I turned around and rode to my parents’ house. It was a much easier ride going downhill, and it was great to have the wind at my back. To be official, I started my return ride with the tortoise and the hare at the START line.
I still need to scope out different trails. I am worried that there are too many large street crossings along this route. It is fun to do all of this exploring.