The Southside Master Gardener Association (SSMGA) supports the Virginia Cooperative Extension and its mission to “enable people to improve their lives through an educational process that uses scientific knowledge focused on issues and needs”.
The Santa Rose Labyrinth of the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is one of the special features in this Sparks, Nevada treasure.The gardens are located in the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, which is open daily at 8 a.m., and closes at dusk.Walking the labyrinth can be a soothing experience.
and I love to travel and often visit public gardens.During a recent trip we spent a few nights in
Sparks, Nevada, just west of Reno and has its own assortment of casinos.We had the good fortune to visit the Wilbur
D. May Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
complain about our typical summer weather and our heavy clay soils, personally
I am loving this atypical weather.But
think about gardening at an altitude of 4600 feet with less than 7 inches of
rain per year and a growing season of less than 120 days.Daily temperatures can fluctuate 50 degrees
within a 24-hour period.Few plants can
survive these harsh conditions but yet the gardens are beautiful.
Gardens were funded through a grant from the Wilbur May Foundation as a lasting
tribute to philanthropist and world traveler Wilbur D. May.Artifacts from May’s travels are housed in
the May Museum.The gardens are located
in the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, which as its name indicates, was a
working ranch.In addition to the
Gardens and Museum, the 570-acre park features native pastures and sages,
picnic and recreational areas.Heritage
ranch equipment is displayed along the roadways.
The goal of
the May Gardens and Arboretum is to serve as a demonstration garden and
educational resource.Among more than
twenty themed gardens are the Burke garden featuring perennials with bloom
times from spring to fall and David’s Grove with High Sierra native plants and
upper elevation evergreen trees and shrubs.The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden has low water use plants, both native
and non-natives that are well adapted.We did see some irrigation but for the most part, the gardens flourish
because the right plants were chosen for the site.What a great way for locals to learn what
will work successfully in their home gardens.
that I fell in love with was The Labyrinth.Labyrinths, not to be confused with mazes, have been around for over
4000 years with the oldest in Sardinia dating 2500 to 2000 B.C.A walk on the winding path can lead you
through a spiritual journey.If you
allow your mind to be in the moment you will feel a sense of peace at the
completion of the walk.It is this
serenity that makes labyrinths a popular addition to hospital landscapes where
friends and family are dealing with health issues of loved ones.This labyrinth, known as the Santa Rosa
Labyrinth is dedicated to victims of violent crime and their loved ones.How sad to think that in less than a month
after this visit the entire student and faculty body of Sparks Middle School
were added to the list of victims.
If you visit
Reno or Lake Tahoe and need a break from the cha-ching of the slot machines,
take the short ride to visit the May Gardens and Arboretum.The gardens and museum are open daily from 8
a.m. to dusk and are free to the public.It is fascinating to see the range of plants that can happily live in
this somewhat hostile environment.
you would like to learn more about the Southside Master Gardener Association
visit www.ssmga.org or contact Bill McCaleb at the Halifax Extension Office at