Time in a garden is my favorite way to enjoy the day. Yet how do I know how many hours have flown by as I continue wandering down the garden path? Happily, I discover a sundial, often surrounded by herbs, centered as a focal point in a sunny patch of the garden. I’ve always checked the time on a sundial. Just looking at one makes me think my garden isn’t complete without a sundial.
This month begins the ninth year of A Traveling Gardener, wandering, wondering, noticing. . . and I want to thank all of my readers who have been encouraging, interested, and appreciative of my garden stories. I hope you have been inspired to visit more gardens when you travel. I went into my archives and found the first story of exploring the world through gardens. My enthusiasm has only increased as I travel to these wonderful places. I am sharing that original article with you and including update resources for finding gardens all over the world.
This year is a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the signing of the law founding our National Parks Service. In February a 3D IMAX film, National Parks Adventure, narrated by Robert Redford was released. The film flies viewers over canyons, red rock arches, and walks them into ice caves near Lake Superior. Highlighting 30 of the 58 national parks, there are moments where you feel the urge to reach out and touch the ice crystals and rock walls. Seeing the film will inspire you to “Find Your Park” which is the theme for the yearlong celebration.
Desert Botanical Garden
LAS NOCHES DE LAS LUMINARIAS
As we approach the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, we turn on our lights with little thought. It gets dark and we need light to complete our daily tasks. Yet in December, light becomes a part of our celebrations. Hanukkah is a festival of lights, Christmas trees are lit as a gathering place for the festivities of the season, the Luminaries of the Southwest light the pathway for the worshippers to find their way to the Christmas Miracle.
In this week of Thanksgiving I realize again how grateful I am for gardens. In this world of war, wild weather, and wandering refugees it is hard to see solutions to such complex problems. Yet at this very moment I am lucky enough to be able to step outside my home and walk in my garden. I have a place to sit with the people I love, where I can see the sky and be warmed by the sun. Delighted by wild canaries flying through the view, a light breeze rustles the leaves on the olive trees, and a wind chime plays a trio of notes. I have clean water for my plants and for my family.
This article appears in the September 2015 issue of Phoenix Home & Garden. It features our home garden. The copyright access to the photos expired, so I’ve added a gallery of similar images at the end. Hope you enjoy the tour.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, a place to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.“ John Muir
It is yellow season in the Desert Southwest. It is that brief time between our short spring and very long hot summer when yellow flowering plants seem to be everywhere. No plant announces this season more beautifully than the Palo Verde tree in full bloom. The small yellow flowers are like spring rain drops suspended in the air letting you see the spray of thousands of petals. In the city the yellow trees are scattered about, in neighborhoods one glorious tree after another is in bloom. In the shopping and resort areas the landscape design marches them around the perimeter in symmetrical groves surrounding the architecture.
It is citrus season. Outside my door the oranges are ripening on an overloaded tree providing a surplus of the sweet fruit. If you don’t have a tree right outside your door, you can still find an abundance of the succulent fruit right down the street at your supermarket.
Late last November I planted two Artichoke plants in a sunny spot in one of my new flower beds. I wanted something to grow fast and add some variety of color and shape to my view. They grew beautifully! By March their silvery-green leaves spiked up vigorously at both ends of the bed providing a framework for the smaller plants between them. The end of each symmetrical leaf was punctuated with a fine thistle tip.