You know, it's not easy being a gardener in El Paso. When the spring winds finally go away the summer heat sets in and roasts everything no matter how well-tended your garden is. You really have to put in a lot of work to have a nice yard. You have to take into account the months of blast furnace heat that cooks everything that you've lovingly planted, you have to make sure that the watering requirements of your plants are doable so you don't have a plant that needs a ton of water every day, and you have to know what plants will hold up in our desert soil.

It's a lot to think of, but if you want to talk to experts and be able to buy plants that will do well in our climate, you should check out the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens FloraFEST 2021. FloraFEST is a fundraiser that supports the maintenance and operation of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP. You can talk to local Master Gardeners, horticulturalists, and other plant experts for advice on how to care for your plants at home. You will also have access to plants sold at FloraFEST that are not available at local nurseries or retailers.

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The best reason to buy from Flora Fest is because they concentrate on native plants that help conserve water, require less maintenance, and are more cold-hardy than plants from other parts of the world. The native plants you can find at Flora Fest are also good for native birds, bees, and butterflies and planting those kinds of plants can be another step towards restoring a healthy ecosystem in El Paso.

Flora Fest is happening Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. According to their website they will close early on Sunday if they run out of plants. This is a really well-attended event so get there early for the best selection.

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