| A Master Gardener's guide to
the art of gardening in a hot dry climate
The Gardens of Tucson
(For other online garden tours, see the
listing at the bottom of this page.)
||Prickly pear cactus
fruits, cholla and other native plants
are typically found in the Tucson garden style. The
annual average rainfall of 12" is usually enough for the
plants -- no additional watering required.
There is a distinctive Tucson Garden
style -- at least in the older, more established
neighborhoods. It is, quite simply, native plant gardening
at it purest. Many homes have been sited on the land to take
up the floor space they need and little more. The landscapes
around the homes have been left in their natural states with
verde trees (Cercidium), prickly pears (Opuntia),
creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata),
splendens), and other no-maintenance native plants
growing where and as they will. No vast spreads of
water-guzzling green lawn in sight!
||Herbs grow in one of the
historic gardens at the Tucson Botanical
Garden. This top of this ramada has been
painted cobalt blue to match the tiles. There are
many other ramadas of various styles throughout the
In the Tucson Botanical Garden there
are also cactus and succulent gardens, a butterfly garden --
an enclosure that actually has butterflies in it -- a
backyard bird garden, a xeriscape garden, a children's
garden, and many more. The ramadas -- essentially covered
patios -- are especially inspiring.
||Brilliant color on the
walls in the Tucson Botanical Garden children's
garden contrasts with the subtle greens, grays and
browns of the native plants.
Tucson is also home to
another park filled with native plants and demonstration
gardens. At 50 acres, Tohono Chul is much larger than the
Tucson Botanical Garden.
||A gigantic statue of a
horned lizard holds a place of honor in the
Tohono Chul demonstration gardens.
Tohono Chul park offers visitors winding trails through
native vegetation, demonstration gardens that make great use
of tile, an ethnobotanical garden, a riparian garden and a
splendid art gallery. We saw quilt-art and art glass
exhibitions there. There is a small entry fee and a charming
tea room for lunch.
||Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)
and creosote bushes dominate the landscape on the
drive to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Saguaro
and Ocotillo are two signature plants of the Sonoran
On day two of your garden tour, head
out to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum adjacent to the
Saguaro National Park
West outside of Tucson. Within the 21 acres that compose
the museum grounds you will see a natural history museum, a
subterreanean earth sciences museum, a botanical garden, a
zoo with animals in their natural environments, a
hummingbird enclosure and a separate aviary -- both of which
you can enter. There are also miles of trails with
spectacular views. There is an entry fee and 4 restaurants
on the grounds.
Take these Hot Gardens
online preview tours, too:
Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Huntington Gardens Desert Garden - near
Descanso Gardens - near Pasadena
Arlington Garden - in Pasadena
Gardens - Malibu
South Coast Botanic Garden
- southwest Los
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden - Claremont,
Barbara Gardens - Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa
Public Gardens - Tucson, Arizona
Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden - Phoenix,
Park Gardens - San Diego, California
Tropical Garden in the Dominican Republic
Shore Acres Gardens - Coos Bay Oregon
Luis Obispo Creek Park - San Luis Obispo,
- Van Nuys, Los Angeles,
Japanese Garden - Long Beach,
Gabriel Mission - near Los Angeles
San Fernando Mission - Los Angeles
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Our 9 Most Popular Hot Gardens Newsletters:
1. Flowering plants that reliably bloom in scorching mid-summer heat.
2. Australian plants and trees that grow well in hot, dry climates.
3. Weather-proofing palms for winter; cold weather palm trees.
A white garden for night time
Topiary can be easy to create
and add charm to your garden.
6. Techniques to combat death by heat exhaustion of plants in pots.
Cactus as security barriers
for your property.
South African aloes for
brilliant late winter color in your garden.
Frugal gardening tips to save you money.
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2003-2015 Carol Lightwood All Rights Reserved.