Winter's frigid air may keep a gardener indoors, but it cannot keep a gardener from thinking of plants.
When the days are dreary, I suggest spending some of your indoor time online at www.tmwalandscapeguide.com/landscape_guide/interactive/index.php.
The Truckee Meadows Water Authority (www.tmwa.com) has created this site to help people design and maintain water-wise landscapes. Each page of the site has photos of beautiful landscapes that any gardener would be thrilled to call her own. Every plant listed has a photo and details about water use, color, bloom time, soil type, sun exposure and more.
You can do a plant search for more than 120 drought-resistant perennials, ground covers, shrubs and trees. You are given an entire range of options from which to choose, with drop-down menus.
I tested it by choosing "trees," "water 10-14 days," "full sun," "not animal resistant" and "nonnative." My search brought up 16 trees, including Amur maple, hackberry, catalpa and others. I added Amur maple and catalpa to "My Wheelbarrow."
Going to "My Wheelbarrow" gave me more detail on the trees and allowed me to estimate the cost. I could print my list or add the items to my design template. This printable template includes shapes for various plants and allows you to plan your landscape on paper.
Under the "Design" section, I found tips about how to design a good-looking yard and information about water zones and landscape themes. The "Landscape Themes" area shows beautiful photos of various themes, designs and irrigation plans. The themes were "Great Basin," "Young Family," "Entertainment" and "Gardening."
I decided to check out the "Irrigation" section to see what it had to offer. There is information on how to plan an irrigation system and how a zoned irrigation system works. The "Planting" and "Maintenance" pages detail how to properly plant and maintain a water-efficient landscape.
Wise water use in the landscape should be the goal of every gardener in arid Nevada. Water is a limited resource and is getting more expensive to use. By properly planning and watering efficiently, people can save money and conserve water and still have living beauty around them.
Request a hard copy of the landscape guide by calling Truckee Meadows Water Authority, 834-8005.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 887-2252. You can "Ask a Master Gardener" by e-mailing email@example.com or call your local University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office. Check out many useful horticulture publications at www.unce.unr.edu.
- JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.