While looking through some of our historical references, I was really pleased to see how many of our 31ers had such a connection to gardening and to each other through the love of plants. Here they were, in a spot in the Mojave Desert, with little greenery around for inspiration; only memories of their gardens, yards, and trees before coming to Boulder City. Many families were satisfied just to get a patch of lawn started, which wasn't easy: the prevailing winds out of the South/SW could cover up a newly sprouted yard with up to a foot of sand in no time. But ingenuity and a lot of hard work would prevail as the sand was taken out, sometimes with pie tins and paper sacks.
Neighbors became friends as Hoover Dam and Boulder City grew. Their common interest in gardening was expressed through window sill gardens, makeshift rows of vegetables and flowering beauties such as our heirloom hollyhocks and morning glories. If you get a chance to check out some old photos, don't be surprised how many yards were landscaped with natives: barrel and desert beavertail cactus, Joshua trees, and Mojave yucca, just to name a few. Remember, everyone that lived and worked here came from somewhere else, and cactus and native plants were a novelty. And there were plenty for the picking all around.
Over the years, we've become friends and have gathered to grow lawns, trees, flowers, and even victory gardens during WWII. We've watched our gardening legacy continue through our community gardens and countless home gardens that include herbs, veggies, our hollyhocks and desert ornamentals. The vision of the 31ers, "their beautiful oasis in the desert," still brings us together. This Spring, make new friends through gardening. Join The Hollyhock Brigade, where you can grow or tend to hollyhocks throughout town, or attend upcoming workshops and events through the City. (Contact the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum, Historic Preservation Committee, and refer to Chamber of Commerce calendar). Check out wildflowers along the Lake Drive or maybe just visit with a neighbor or friend to share seeds and ideas. Here's hoping to see you out and about, making friendships and gardens grow!