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.
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.