Carol Lightwood

When this site was launched over a decade ago there was relatively little information available online about gardening in hot, dry desert and Mediterranean climates.

Carol Lightwood, a certified Master Gardener in Clark County, Nevada set out to provide specific plant and practical gardening recommendations for people moving to and living in the great oasis cities–Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Los Angeles–of the American Southwest.

Since the site went online, there has been a growing awareness of global climate change and the practical advice on this site is now applicable to a wider geographic area as hot, dry conditions spread worldwide.

Many photos were taken in Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada which has the most extreme weather and soil conditions for gardening of any major U.S. city.  Annual rainfall is about 4 inches.  From mid-May to mid-September the daily temperature is above 100 Fahrenheit.  Unlike Phoenix which has mild winters, in Clark County winter temperatures plunge to the 30s, sometimes lower.  Snow on the palm trees is not unknown, particularly in the residential neighborhoods, away from the famous Las Vegas Strip.

But even with these extremes it is possible to plant and enjoy a beautiful, low-water usage garden.  And by “beautiful” we mean one that is green and lush year ’round–not a baking hot rock garden so often promoted in articles and books as a “desert gardening”.   

On this site you will find recommendations for ground covers to replace thirsty grass lawns.  Trees that provide cooling shade.  Flowering plants that bloom even in the hottest days of summer.  And practical, proven tips to make certain your xeriscape garden thrives. 

We hope you find this information helpful.

Thank You!  The Nevada Master Gardener program recommends the Hot Gardens website.