Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
March 13, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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March 13, 1997

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Yes! You can grow flowers, fruit and vegetables in Pahrump by Patti Babcock Old time gardeners and many newer arrivals have the product to prove you can grow flowers, fruit and vegetables in the Pahrump Valley. A star example is Alice Boni, a Pahrumpian who can grow nearly everything she decides to. She grows a wide range of flowers including ones that "don't grow here" like white and blue flax from Colo]'ado, Bearded Tongue dug from the mountains, and starts and seeds gathered during numerous trips. When she is intrigued by a plant in a catalog, Boni orders it. Some aren't supposed to thrive here, but when she plants them, they grow. Boni' s garden is her testament to what it's possible to grow when you just do it. She stands next to a 12 to 15 ,oot high tree heavy with blossoms. About six years ago, she planted some nuts left over from Christmas. This tree sprouted from a holiday almond. It's a beautiful tree she says, but the fruit is kind of odd. Some years it's a lot like an almond. Other years it's more like a peach. None of the years is it enticing enough to eat. The fruit from her other 30 or so fruit trees is edible. She has planted some of these from seed including a nectarine and a jujube(ziziphus jujuba). She also has peaches, plums, apricots, apples and pears. She has many other trees, too. Her Mountain Ash and a Texas something that aren't supposed to grow here, do. The flowers Boni grows include iris, oxalis, poppy, snapdragon, larkspur, peony, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, sedum. Truth is we'd need a catalog to list all her flowers. She grows her plants from seeds, from pieces of other plants, from nursery and catalog stock. Boni still finds new plants to try every year and thinks that's part of the fun. Rose bushes, mostly Hybrid Teas, are carefully labeled. They are at home in myriad flower beds accessed by pathways winding throughout the 2.5 acres. Vegetables, the standard fare and anything else that intrigues the avid gardener, grow in three foot wide beds in a protected fenced area. Native Mesquite trees provide some protection for plants. By augmenting the natural trees with more trees, bamboo and perpetual mulching to protect and enrich the soil, Boni has created a mico-climate friendly to her diverse plantings. Boni learned to appreciate the wonders of mulch when she planted her first trees in Tonopah. A few elms and not much more grew in the town when Boni moved there in 1947. That changed when a sister brought her some small pine trees from Oregon. Planting and nurturing the trees was the beginning of Boni' s addiction to growing. Water was eight cents a gallon, so she carried the bath and wash water out in buckets to water the trees. Dirt was scarce in the rocky soil so Boni carried buckets of soil back from the fi'equent fishing trips she took with her husband. Horse manure was plentiful and free so she used it liberally. The pine trees thrived, so she decided to plant a fruit tree. She ordered a Lincoln dwarf pear tree from Gumey's catalog. It's still growing and producing pears in Tonopah. Thrilled with her success she phmted peach trees and produced a crop of first year peaches that s eighcd m at mc pound each. Zinnias. cosmos and an increasing t|lr.ty ol flowers provided food tk)r the soul. Her success encot, raged neighbors to phmt trees, tlowers and gardens. The water company was impressed enough to offer a special summer rate to gardeners. Boni utilized her hard won desert garden expertise to develop her Pahrump garden when she decided to live here full time in 1984. Her garden, like all living entities, changes continually. One year the roses take center stage, the next year lilies. The fruit trees welcome spring with abundant blossoms, but the flowers don't always become fruit. The vegetable garden provides tasty, healthy crops every year, but the star crops vary with climatic conditions. What is certain in Boni' s Pahrump garden is that every year will be a growing year for an appealing variety of flowers, fruit and vegetables. HOMEGROWN IN PAHRUMP-With enriched soil, deep watering, a smiling sun and a plenty of TLC most vegetables will grow in desert gardens. photo Patti Babcock Versatile Vines--A new twist for your yard Tired of the same old static landscape? Add a new twist to your yard with vines!Whether you want privacy, fragrance, color or beauty, there is a vine to meet your requirements. Try a vertical approach to landscaping with these hints from the American Association of Nurserymen (AAN). Arbors and trellises are traditional vine growing backdrops, but just about any vertical feature in yot, r landscape will suffice. Fences, utility poles and even tree stumps are good places to grow these creative climbers. Brick or concrete walls are more pleasing when accented with greenery. Ivy is a popular choice, but it can be destructive to mortar. Climbing hydrangea is a great choice, with the added summer bonus of large, creamy white flower clusters. A trellis positioned against the wall will bear some of the weight of the plant and keep roots from getting too tenacious of a hold in crevices. The yellow blooms of Carolina jessamine make mailboxes come alive with color in spring. Clematis, slower growing but worth the wait, is another beautiful selection for the mailbox or a chain-link fence. The benefits of climbing roses or wisteria are three-fold; they hide ugly views while providing fragrance and color. Wisteria is so vigorous it can be trained to Ibrm a fence between yards. Brightly colored trumpet vines are hardy and attract humming birds. Once established on arbors, grape vines delight birds and humans alike with their fruit and shade. While most gardeners plant vines to grow upward from the soil, you might allow them to cascade from the top of a wall or window box. Consult your garden center professional for planting instructions. For vines suited to our area, refer to the recommended plant list for Pahrump in this garden section.