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Garden Expertise

♪♪ Fritz: I’ve been reading
about these plants for years, living in cold places
and being like, “Oh, if only I could grow that,
wouldn’t that be amazing?” And so now that I’m
here my plant palate has expanded tremendously
and I’m just really excited to use up all these things that I’ve been wanting
to use for years and to try to grow
all this new stuff. Colleen: Fritz Kollmann
may be new to the desert but his professional
experience managing gardens has taught him that
the fundamentals of the craft don’t change much. Fritz: There are a lot
of different plants, but the gardening is
basically the same thing. Keeping the garden
tidy, making sure that plants are
happy and healthy, that’s kind of universal. Colleen: But if gardening
is just about tidiness and plant happiness,
doesn’t it get boring? Fritz: That’s one thing
that I love about gardening, is that you never really
run out of stuff to learn. There is always something
around the corner that you’ve never
seen or heard of or some plant that I might want to try to find for the garden. And so, that’s really
what I like about it. It’s just bottomless learning. If I am bored, that
won’t last very long. Colleen: Fritz’s appetite for bottomless learning
will come in handy as the Springs Preserves new
Botanical Garden Supervisor. He hopes to learn more
about the thousands of Mojave Desert and
desert adapted plants that occupy the Springs
expansive garden. And hopefully change
visitors relationships with the plants around them. Fritz: All of a sudden,
in my early 20’s, it just sort of occurred to me that there were plants
everywhere covering the Earth and I had never really
taken a look at them. So, it was like all of a sudden,
I was able to discern all the differences
between the plants just by looking across
a wild landscape. They all just started
to pop out to me. It’s also important to inform
people that live here like, “Look, these are the
plants that grow out “around where you live.” And so, it provides people the
opportunity to connect with their own landscape, which
is hard to do in a city. And so, people can
come here and be like, “Oh, I didn’t know that
was a native plant.” Colleen: Fritz’s clear passion for cultivating happy plants and creating elevating
environments with them, shines through whenever he
speaks about future plans for the Springs
Preserve’s Garden. Fritz: Well, we’re currently
building a splash pad and so there is going to be a
new landscape all around that. When we close down this area
that we’re looking at right now for an electrical expansion, we’re also going to
use that opportunity to add a lot of new plants
and take out some stuff that’s become overgrown
over the years and renovate and spruce
the whole thing up. I am really excited to learn
all of these succulents and to really make
the place really pop, so when people walk in, it
takes their breath away. That’s really what
I’m looking to do. And coming from the parking
lot into the garden, I want the world
to completely change. Colleen: Fritz not only wants
to enhance the atmosphere of the garden but help residents
and plant enthusiasts adapt to the challenges
of desert gardening. Fortunately, our
gardening classes make it just a little easier to
expand your green thumb. But even if you don’t intend
on becoming a pro botanist, learning about the
plants living around you can add unexpected
benefits to your life. You see for Fritz,
managing gardens isn’t just a profession, but an
opportunity to build spaces where people can escape
their busy lives. Spaces where they can
recharge and relax. Fritz: Places like
the Springs Preserve are a great respite
from everyday life. It’s sort of a little taste of something that
is really soothing. I would like people
to leave here feeling like the desert
can be a lush place without excessive water
use and let people know you can garden in the desert and you should because
it’s beautiful. ♪♪

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