By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 2/9/20
Want a lush landscape this year, while keeping your water bill lean? Get ready! Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is gearing up to host its ever-popular, free-to-attend “Lush and Lean” series of 10 presentations between March 5th and May 28th.
“We aim to help residents make the best use of our water resources,” said Rhonda Diaz, LCU Water conservation program coordinator. “We can grow truly lush gardens in our area, but it helps to understand a bit more about which plants are designed to thrive in our temperatures, what we can do to improve the soil in our backyard, and the critical role pollinators play in our gardens.”
Each year the LCU Water Conservation Program hosts this series of workshops – featuring the best and most passionate speakers in the region! 2020 topics include: Water-Wise Landscaping, Irrigation, and Vegetable Gardening. Learn to select trees, shrubs, flowering plants, and cacti that are adapted to the hot, dry, southern New Mexico climate. Install irrigation systems that provide the right amount of water to each plant—not too much, not too little. Consider harvesting rainwater from the rooftop and direct water flows to plants rather than sidewalks.
LCU invites local experts ranging from a soil specialist to landscape architects to an irrigation industry insider. David Cristiani will talk about Water Efficient Landscape Design and introduce property owners to basic components of landscape design in the desert with a view toward optimizing water needs, functions, and habitat.
Bill Lindemann, Ph.D., retired soil microbiology professor, will talk about improving your garden’s particular soil composition to get better growth for whatever you plant. “The presentation caters to people who want to know more about soils from the aspect of water conservation, plant growth, and environmental stewardship,” said Lindemann.
NMSU’s Horticulture Professor, Rachel Gioannini, will show how to merge different categories of plants and incorporate them into a pleasing landscape. “It’ll be a mix of trees to groundcovers and everything in between,” said Gioannini. “I’ll have specific recommendations for plants that do well in our zone.”
All Lush and Lean Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held Thursday evenings at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave., upstairs in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of 2020 speakers and Lush and Lean dates at https://www.las-cruces.org/1288/Lush-Lean-Workshops.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Producing striking landscapes in our desert southwest, while being water wise, is the goal of the LCU Lush and Lean series of free presentations. Join us Thursday evenings between March 5th through May 28th. (Photo by David Cristiani, former landscape architect)