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

The Biltmore, NC & The Biltmore, AZ

Fantasy Gardens

The July heat storms in and drives me inside.  Putting away my gardening gloves it is time to engage in some fantasy gardening.   I imagine a garden where the plants stay in optimum health; the blooms unfold in predictable order of color and quality assured by a perfect feeding schedule and ideal watering.  Such a garden is always orderly, where any storm damage is minimized and cleared promptly by industrious garden gnomes.  Yes, a fantasy I realize and yet since children may escape the day-to-day world by visiting a magic kingdom why can’t a gardener escape to a magic garden?...   Continue Reading

Snow in Summer

Imagining Snow

  As the temperature rises and it is too hot for gardening I try all manner of things to help me make it through the months of July and August.  I tell myself this is our dormancy period, our non gardening time like the deep winter months in other parts of the country. I try to put my garden records in order noting successful efforts and what to plan for next season.  When I am really desperate I pretend my white flowers are snow!  Once on a visit to San Diego Botanic gardens as I moved from one shady spot to the next I found in full bloom a plant labeled “snow in summer.”  The name just grabbed my attention.  Snow!  Imagining snow in the garden cooled me down.  

Many people think a garden of white flowers is designed to reflect the moonlight yet bright moonlight cooperates for only a brief time each month and what if the moon flowers are not yet in bloom?  Compare that to every day imagining white flowers as snow!  It could cool our thoughts and inspire memories of cooler times!...   Continue Reading

National Public Garden Day


Celebrations have to be made, troubles come by themselves. 

– Russian Proverb

National Public Garden Day is May 7.  This is only the 2nd year the America Public Garden Association, (APGA)formerly the American Association of Botanical Gardens & Arboretahas sponsored this event.  This group founded in 1940 has 500 institutional members from all 50 states, Washington DC,  Canada, & 24 other countries.  Our local Desert Botanical Garden is a member and will celebrate the event with educational  presentations, kids activities and special tours.  The mission of the APGA is to support the professionals who work to keep our public gardens flourishing and provide access to horticultural displays, education, research and plant conservation....   Continue Reading

Lattice Windows

Outside my lattice window,

Is the spring light warm yet

For a plum blossom flower? Wang Wei (701-761)

In the early morning looking through  my window I glimpse a bit of my garden; the flowers, some grass, a tree.    Each day I look through the same window and think this is  the garden! Yet like a living painting, the light shifts, seasons change and so does the view. The garden grows, declines and remerges  in new growth.  The window frames my view.   Outside looking in is the same garden but a different view. I  stand in the grass, under my tree looking toward the window.  The window is significantly smaller, the flowers fill the view, the grass and tree are no longer in the picture.  My position  changes my viewpoint....   Continue Reading