A   U N I Q U E   B I O M E   the high desert, sunset-western, zone 11

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LAS VEGAS SPRING PRESERVE — Botanic Demonstration Garden and Restoration |Conceptual Design Packet

The gentle Mediterranean Climate has a far end reach, up in the high altitude desert of Nevada. The light is harsh and unfiltered — the air is thin and cutting. This biome features fierce summer temperatures with no rainfall all season. In winter, blasting winds throughout cold winters with sparse rain or snow, which when it does fall freezes to the ground surface. The high altitude’s low barometric pressure evaporates any meltoff before it can pierce the mineral encrusted earth to enter the groundwater. Any water which does flow across the salty crust, gathers minerals and becomes alkaline. The fluctuations here summer-to-winter, daytime-to-nightime — and severely xeric and hostile. It’s the closest climate the Earth has to Mars, a far inverse in extreme.

This is the exact opposite of what most consider a normal climate — a monsoonal climate with soft moist wet summers and dry cold winters. Very few plants nor animals have adapted to this ravaging biome — yet those that have are uniquely adapted. The site is the original oasis springs from which the city Las Vegas, NV takes its name — in Spanish, “The Springs”. Jonathan Louie was directly responsible for botanic research resulting in a plant palette of the 1,200+ native and adapted plants, highlighting this incredible biome as a demonstration and botanical garden in the most adverse zone, Sunset-Western zone 11. He also conceived interpretive exhibits, illustrating sound concepts for water conservation, while employed at Deneen/Powell Atelier in San Diego