Low Desert and High Desert Meet Oct 28

This year’s 12th Annual Desert Garden Community Day features two exciting speakers, Robin Kobaly and Madena Asbell, who will bring their high desert plant knowledge to share with the low desert at UCR Palm Desert on Saturday, October 28.


©Tracy Merrigan 2017

Robin Kobaly is such a dynamic speaker and her classes always have a unique point of view on horticulture. She is a favorite of our audience and we are excited to have her back this year for her class, “Uses of Desert Native Plants ~ Yesterday & Today”. 

Robin Kobaly_Native Plant Harvest_7104 2_1

Robin harvesting native plants.

“Join Robin as she presents ancient and traditional uses of our native desert plants, demonstrating ways to adapt them to fit today’s needs for food, healing remedies, tools, art, and more, besides their value as eco-friendly yard landscape. Find out why these powerful native plants’ survival strategies make them so useful to us today. Learn how the unique qualities of each plant can add richness to the home, kitchen, medicine chest, garden, and more.  You will leave with a new perspective on our amazing native plants and the valuable gifts they generously offer to us, both in our yards and inside our homes.”

Robin is the executive director of The SummerTree Institute in Morongo Valley. The SummerTree Institute is a non-profit that strives to work with adults and children to “Make Environmental Education Irresistible” through a variety of programming including: lectures, workshops, documentaries and eco-travel.

Madena Asbell is new to our Desert Garden Community Day but not to the Southern California native plant community, Madena ‘s class “Native Plants: Who needs them?” will teach us how our local wildlife uses native plants and their importance to a balanced environment.

“Native plants are the foundation of healthy, diverse ecosystems. Most animals, including humans, rely directly or indirectly on plants for their survival, whether it’s for food, shelter, or other resources. In this beautifully illustrated presentation, you will learn about the many desert dwellers that are supported by native plants, which plants they use, and what they use them for. Who needs native plants? We all do!”

pastedImageMadena Asbell is the Nursery and Seed Bank Manager at the Mojave Desert Land Trust in Joshua Tree. She is a horticulturist who has been working with native plants in Southern California for over 15 years and has served as Director of Horticulture for the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants in the Los Angeles area.

The Mojave Desert Land Trust’s mission is to “protect the Mojave Desert ecosystem and its scenic and cultural resource values”, and has numerous volunteer and stewardship opportunities, along with fun community events in the high desert.


I hope you are as excited as I am to welcome these two women to the 12th Annual Desert Garden Community Day and look forward to seeing you at UCR Palm Desert on October 28 for our free event. Doors open at 8:30am and presentations begin at 9am and continue to 2pm, after which we will screen the film “Hometown Habitats” with a Q&A with the filmmaker following.

More details at deserthorticulturalsociety.org

See you there!!

––Tracy Merrigan, Vice President, Desert Horticultural Society of the Coachella Valley and UC CoopExt Master Gardener

Joshua Tree and cactus photos ©Tracy Merrigan 2017, rest of photos courtesy Robin Kobaly and Madena Asbell.




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