Gardeners Change the World

A Small Garden

The Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.”  Substitute  “committed gardeners” in this thought and the results DO change our world in immeasurable ways. Master Gardener Park in Port Townsend, WA  demonstrates the power of passionate committed gardeners.  The city’s smallest park, a small triangular shaped patch of earth bordered on all sides by intersecting streets, is now a beautiful garden....   Continue Reading

Desert Botanical Gardens

February arrived with winds and freezing temperatures.  A low temperature in my garden of 23 degrees! Out of state relatives also arrived fleeing even more severe weather of ice storms and below zero temperatures in Indiana. Even as the weather seemed unseasonably cold to us locals the sunshine and mid day temperatures here found my brother and sister-in-law wanting to be outside. In particular they wanted to visit the DBG to get a chance to see desert plants. As a first time visitor to the garden nearly everything was new, including the idea that palo verde trees had naturally green trunks and that a garden would try to protect tender plants with yards and yards of frost cloth....   Continue Reading

Our view of nature

A Sense of Place

When our neighborhood was new a family relocating from Virginia moved in next door and quickly put in lawn for their entire landscape.  Another family relocated from MN and installed a pool and planted pine trees all around it. Longtime desert gardeners cringe at these home garden stories.  Today a strong campaign for regionally appropriate plants fills the garden news.  Advocates raise a chorus of voices that sing, “If we live in a desert it is only common sense that we live with desert plants.”  Einstein said, “common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.”  Our common experience of  “place” isn’t so common....   Continue Reading

Desert Walk

The sun came out and the temperatures were in the 60’s.  We explored the 5.5 acres of the xeriscape demonstration garden at the corner of McDonald & Hayden road in Scottsdale.  The value of a demonstration garden to create a greater understanding of the sense of place is so important.  Years ago when our neighborhood was new a family relocating from Virginia moved into the neighborhood.  With the new home landscaping had to be planned and established.  Shocked at the desert heat and needles on the cactus the family planted all grass on their property.  Another family moved in from Minnesota and planted three pine trees along side their swimming pool.Adjusting one’s awareness of the geography of a totally different region is a series of discoveries.  Demonstration gardens provide an opportunity to experience a place living in the climate, soil and plant life.

It also provides a lovely healing walk out of doors in a beautiful place.  Bird songs, water splashing, dogs taking their owners for a walk all part of the features of a garden full of life....   Continue Reading

Garden Gates

Enter Into The New

As the new year stretches out before us fresh and full of possibilities many of us pause to mark the transition with resolutions, lucky foods and personal traditions.  These actions help frame our expectation of what the new year will bring.  We approach the new year nearly holding our breath in anticipation of what will come....   Continue Reading

A Gift of Gardens

A Perfect Gift!

If the December holiday crush finds you making long lists while drinking Tension Tamer tea you need to lay down that clenched pen and go outside for a walk through your garden.  While you are outside shaking off today’s holiday and economic anxieties you may realize giving the revitalizing gift of time in nature would be perfect for everyone on your list!   It is so hard to find a perfect gift, is it one that fits beautifully, or doesn’t need batteries, technical support and upgraded software?  How wonderful to find a gift that can grow more dear over time and may be enjoyed  again and again throughout the year.  So how would one give a gift of nature?  May I suggest  a membership in the American Horticultural Society. This affordable gift will give your favorite people garden admission to over 240 public gardens, arboretums & conservatories throughout North America....   Continue Reading

Filoli, Woodside, CA

Here & There

Returning from my travels this Fall I was unaware that I was suffering from a bad case of “California Garden Delusion” fever.  It set in as I was driving from the Pacific coast home to Mesa.  All along the route I was preoccupied with my own garden imagining where I could redesign the space and insert a profusion of flowers, vegetables and berries. Upon returning home, in I wandered through my garden marking the doomed plants for removal.  Then feverishly with pick axe, shovel and compost the transformation began.  A week later and with every muscle in my body crying out in pain I was finished preparing the bed but the temperatures were still reaching 100 degrees.  My “Garden Delusion” fever broke and I began to rethink the types of plants I would be growing in my newly prepared space....   Continue Reading

A Traveling Gardener, Linda Larson

Linda Larson is a regular contributor for Roots & Shoots, writing for the monthly column, “Traveling Gardener.” The articles reflect her passion for combining two of her favorite pastimes – travel and gardening. After graduating from Indiana State University with a Master’s degree in Audio/Visual Communications, she went on to make her home in Mesa, AZ, teaching public speaking at Mesa College. Nearing retirement from teaching, she has begun an entirely new career – encouraging audiences to discover the beauty and enjoyment of public gardens at home and in their travels....   Continue Reading

Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, CA

What a pot holds. . ..

In my garden there is a large plastic yellow flower pot which I purchased decades ago at the FW Woolworth store.  Its survived several moves from house to new house and years of intense heat.  Throughout the years its been blown over, pushed around and sometimes ignored. I am amazed it is still intact. (“Benjamin, just one word: plastics.” The Graduate) Even as my garden style evolved a yellow pot w/ a scalloped  edge was easily worked into an  arrangement of other container plantings.  Today it holds a group of succulents and it holds a part of my story....   Continue Reading

Mendocino Botanical, Ft. Bragg, CA

Garden above the Ocean

Walking in a garden in a different climate with sandy soil expands my view of what a garden can be.  Perhaps there is no greater contrast from my garden in the desert to gardens on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. High on a rocky cliff near Ft. Bragg, California the Mendocino Botanical Garden mixes the coastal climate elements of salt air, sandy soil, foggy sky and sun to create magical results.   The dew soaks my shoes and moisture climbs up the hems of my jeans as I wander down a path in the early morning.  Tiny droplets of water ring the leaves and sparkle as patches of sun break through the sky cover of gray. This doesn’t happen in my desert garden....   Continue Reading