El Paso’s spring garden to do list: Tours, plant sales and Rose Garden opening

El Paso's spring garden to do list: Tours, plant sales and Rose Garden opening

The El Paso Municipal Rose Garden will hold an open house Saturday April 8. The garden is at 3418 Aurora at Copia. Victor Calzada / El Paso Times Buy Photo Spring is definitely showing its colors in El Paso. The weather is warming up. And around the city, the early bloomers such as Mexican redbud trees and Lady Banks roses are already showing their pop of color. Which means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the desert landscape that includes prickly cactus with bright red cup flowers and plenty of roses. Here’s a glimpse of what to look forward to this weekend and next. Garden Tour Jim Hastings of the El Paso Cactus and Rock Club says it’s OK to steal garden ideas, and invites the community to the Garden Tour and Cactus sale this weekend. “This year we have 13 gardens — seven on the East Side and Central on Saturday, and six on the West Side on Sunday,” he said. MORE: From El Paso Rhinos to Thomas Rhett: Plenty of things to do this weekend The tour is an opportunity for El Pasoans to see how they can incorporate some native plants into the landscape and reduce the amount of water and maintenance they require. Buy Photo El Pasoan Ken Johnson, who lives on Moonlight Avenue off Magnetic Street, has enjoyed transforming his tri-level back yard into a low-water desert landscape. “We have about half an acre and most of it was grass. So we’ve been doing cactus for about the last 15 years,” he said. The back yard starts with several outdoor patio areas and has a metal staircase that leads to the highest part of the yard. There, a couple of islands with a tree focal point are surrounded by smaller plants such as yuccas, barrel and column cactus. The back rock wall stands out with raised half-moon beds that make it easy to tend to the plants. Hastings said the Johnson yard is a nice example of how to contrast colors and shapes, such as a stick-shaped cactus growing next to a round, clumping hedgehog plant. “He has a wide variety of spine colors and cactus shapes and different blooms for spring and fall season. And he has humor. You’ll find little statues throughout and they make me smile,” he said. Johnson said he gets plenty of compliments about an island with a ocotillo and a St. Francis Assisi statue surrounded by animal figurines and small cactus. Hastings said the tour is the club’s way of educating the public in a fun way. What’s more, it’s a great bargain, as the tour costs $5 per car. So if you have a 15-passenger van, pick up some friends and take a field trip. People are welcome to start and pay at any garden. The tour will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the following addresses: 803 and 805 Baltimore, 2930 Grant, 2923 Grant, 3309 Moonlight, 3008 Titanic, 3530 […]