It’s 111 Degrees: Garden Visit!

3 pm…the lower Mojave Desert…in a heat wave. Crazy, even for a desert rat?

I found out that the Gardens at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas have always been free, if one stays outside and walks the gardens. So, I did!

Photos from 6/25/2014 –

Fortunately, I had two bottles of cold water, and the grounds had drinking fountains galore. After snapping pics for an hour, it was my air conditioned rental car for a drive, down a landscaped freeway enroute to the Spring Mountains…that soar to 12,000 feet elevation, touching alpine tundra.

Though the 8000′ elevation level was my limit, even that was much nicer.

So, into the shade – where it no longer felt hotter than 111F (44c). Their gardens used architecture to create an urban canyon effect in a number of areas, helping at least psychologically. But it still felt every bit of 111.

And that’s even a degree warmer than Boise was.

Many I hear just do not like Las Vegas, for all the eye-rolling reasons imaginable. If these gardens were in their favorite places, they might love them!

As for me, I look at every place’s gardens and landscapes with the same set of standards – design principles. It’s easier, including at the Springs Preserve…even broiling at 111F.

Getting off the plane the next day in El Paso was almost pleasant, though still hot.

El Paso landscaping less so: some good and some “ugh”. Via their codes, some over-salaried officials are crazily greenwashing the new, hiding it all with too many of the wrong trees for the desert, and then poorly used. And just wait until their maintenance gets the treatment.

I try to do better, but I’m still limited…and mostly alone in that.

Do you know of a mailigned place with good garden spaces, and which also belong in their climate?

8 Replies to “It’s 111 Degrees: Garden Visit!”

  1. my where did my readers come from stats, brought me here.
    I see lovely long lists of ‘been there done that’ garden blogs.
    I shall return to explore them

    And I’m glad, from literally the other side of the globe. Though I have far more to do than have done, after 25 26 years in my field!


  2. It has been hot hot hot. Even my friends in Europe are sweltering. Thanks so much for sharing the garden photos. I really love what they did there. The enclosed garden thing really works for arid places — softening some of the harshness and making even spiky plants feel kind of safer or more cozy somehow. But. Dry + Shade + Extreme Heat. I must be terrible at searching because I find so very few plants can handle that combo.

    The latest heat wave on the European and N. American west coasts takes me back to my (early college) meteorology coursework, about how both have similar influences. But so persistant. I need to repost my old blog’s images at the Las Vegas gardens, taken earlier in the day and when milder. Dry shade – yet another garden scenario I need to make a list for!


  3. Come to Dallas. If you stick to the Lakewood and North Oak Cliff sections of town, you can see quite a few gardens appropriate to the climate which you might approve of. The rest of Dallas, not so much.

    I’ve told an arborist I occasionally e-mail that, so I might have to get around to that. I remember some interesting projects in Las Colinas and downtown Fort Worth as a college student, plus a few rental or condo projects there from a coworker. Thanks for the Lakewood and North Oak Cliff areas…

    Dallas gets picked on, as another place I’m throwing down the gauntlet on, to see landscapes…Houston!


  4. We have a lot of great landscaping around retail centers in San Antonio which it makes running errands very pleasant.

    117F when we lived in Redlands, CA. 118F is the record so that was pretty hot. The winters were nice.

    That is crazy heat, but no matter the weather, the retail center you turned me onto in SA made shopping and just walking so much more interesting.


  5. have only been up to 106f, vegas of course. thought it was fine by the pool in the shade till i stood up and was wobbly!!

    back of our new home, 115 years old, is not usable. afternoon sun cooks. in all these years no owner EVER put in an oak????? will plant several huge oaks this fall, hopefully 6-8″ caliper.


    Ha! Mine was 118F in Phoenix…and my brother’s pool was so nice. I never got his switch to a tree-less and plant-less yard. Like your home’s prevous owner, I think no shade and human habitat is partly why my brother stays inside on his computer…not just because he likes all things tech!

    White or red oaks? The latter here retain brown leaves (and shade) all winter, when we want sun.


  6. Because I was stuck there for what felt like an eternity, the cell phone lot at the Austin airport gave me a chance to seriously consider their landscaping choices. Though some gestures worked better than others, the provision of at least a sprinkling of small live oak trees (cars were clustered in the parking spaces under every one of them) underplanted with some very happy coral yucca brought some visual relief. I was pleased to note picnic tables with solar panel “roofing” and that the airport’s landscaping is all irrigated with waste water. It’s a start.

    I’ll say! My first visit to Austin was in 2004, and I remember the landscape at the airport was so well-done and new; in 2010 was my next time at the airport, and most by the terminal was dead. Nice to hear there are other parts, especially with the amenities you note…and waste water irrigation. Sturdier trees like oaks should be everywhere in parking lots and/or covers with solar panels on top. An ex-employer once argued with me the need for more parking lot trees…in Albuquerque. I asked him which spaces cars park under…


  7. Crazy heat: one of the reasons I moved from Palm Springs. Spring was when it was over 100. Summer was when it was over 110.

    I don’t blame you…noticed Las Vegas is like Phx / Palm Springs periodically, though mostly 100-105.


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