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Garden’s goal is to be beautiful yet friendly to environment

Christina Nelson

INCLINE VILLAGE – You won’t find large swaths of lawn or beds of petunias at the North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden.

The garden, which has moved to Sierra Nevada College’s Lake Campus, will focus on creating beautiful, environment-friendly gardens at Lake Tahoe.

“Our emphasis in this garden more than the other one is conservation and best management practices,” said Jan Steinmann, who has worked with the garden for the last eight years. “At the other garden it was more, what can you grow?”

Though the garden is still a bit sparse, Steinmann said when more plants are moved from its former location at the college’s mountain campus, she hopes it will also be a beautiful place for people to eat lunch and hang out.

Located near the future site of the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, Steinmann said the garden will also be a place for faculty and student projects.

But the goal of the garden has always been to educate the community, and the garden will continue to host classes about gardening at Tahoe.

Because, as Steinmann said, “you can’t be in control of nature here as much as you can be in other places,” native and adapted plants can be the answer to Tahoe gardeners’ woes.

The group encourages the use of native turf, like squaw carpet, instead of lawn, Steinmann said.

“(Lawn) takes up water and to keep it nice you have to fertilize it,” Steinmann said. “There are plenty of things you can use instead of grass.”

Weaving through flower boxes with penstemon and artemisia, Steinmann explained that using native or adapted plants not only helps manage water use, but is also better for the lake.

“They don’t really like a lot of water,” she said. “Also they attract beneficial insects and birds and they don’t need fertilizer.”

But perhaps the best selling point for installing native plants and ground cover is the cost.

“I think a lot of people are finding it’s more cost effective and easy to maintain,” Roberts said.

For more information on the garden or classes offered there, visit http://www.demogarden.org or call (775) 831-8437.


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