In February, in Wisconsin, there just isn’t a whole heck of a lot of gardening to be done, well except for in my dreams. So I was quite excited to get away from the cold and snow for a few days and head off to Phoenix. I spent a good portion of each day hiking in the mountains and was thrilled when a friend suggested we visit the Desert Botanical Gardens…she knows me well! What a treat to see all the amazing desert plants…agaves, saguaros, chollas, prickly pears…these just touch the surface of what’s available for gardeners. I’m fascinated by the artistry of the landscape designs which mimic the beauty of nature. Those who warned that Arizona is nothing but sand and brown, are sorely mistaken. I found vibrant southwestern color everywhere I looked. The mountains came alive the closer you got. The Saguaros were majestic and green; the landscape was rich with red, orange AND brown. And blue! The sky was the most vibrant shade of blue I have ever seen. Even the rocks had amazing color.
The weather was spectacular, breaking seasonal records by climbing into the mid 80s every day! Glorious! It’s no wonder people seemed so happy and friendly…not a cloud to be found! I was also happy to note that there were no snakes to be found either as they are all fast asleep in hibernation. Although I did hear a few folks say that it wouldn’t be unheard of to have them wake up prematurely due to the unseasonably warm temps…yikes!
Gardening in Arizona sure would be interesting. Once you got past the fear of a rattler rearing it’s nasty head at you, there would be all sorts of other pinchy dangers to worry about. And of course there is the heat to contend with. The friends I visited are/were avid Wisconsin gardeners yet they all employed landscapers to assist in dealing with their prickly plants. I suppose if you were to attempt to plant and garden yourself, you would need to be prepared with some heavy duty gardening gear. On the bright side, there are no bugs like mosquitoes to annoy you while gardening. And although deer didn’t seem to be an issue, apparently the havalinas (wild pigs) seem to love succulent plants!
Just for fun, I visited a garden center. I sure was tempted to come home with something but determined that a cactus didn’t exactly make the best traveling companion.
It’s unlikely that I’ll ever have the opportunity to do this type of gardening but I certainly had a wonderful time and can’t wait to return!