Why blog about landscaping in Arizona?
I created this blog because I love cacti and native plants. When I first moved here, the dramatically different landscape amazed me. I immediately fell in love with the crazy shapes and features of Arizona’s plants. I wanted to landscape my yard–the front yard had a few bushes and the back yard was completely empty. I checked out books from the library and went to nearby nurseries. I learned there is an “easy” way to landscape in Arizona, using popular tropicals, and there is the “hard” way … trying to recreate an authentic native Sonoran desert landscape.
As a somewhat stubborn personality, of course I chose the latter.
This blog is my attempt to document what I learn about landscaping here in Arizona.
In order to landscape with native Sonoran desert plants and cacti, I find inspiration from the desert around me. The wild desert is the best display of native plants. There are also a few botanical gardens that feature native plants in a more cultivated format.
Cacti are expensive, especially when buying from a nursery or landscaper. In order to landscape without spending a fortune, I’ve started small and worked from there. I’ve learned some plants that are labelled for this area don’t do well, even some cacti are not suited to Phoenix summers, and require shade or frost protection. I prefer plants that do well with minimal maintenance. I’d rather have a yard full of healthy, thriving natives than a yard with a few suffering exotic plants.
I would love to see more information about landscaping desert xeriscape gardens in the Phoenix area. My elevation of 1600 feet above sea level results in more nights that dip below freezing than central Phoenix. The plants that thrive in my yard have to tolerate both heat and some cold. The growing suburban areas around Phoenix have elevations between 1300 and 2000 ft above sea level and probably experience similar temperatures to mine. Some day I hope the local nurseries will recognize our very unique landscape needs.
I am not a horticulturist or cactus expert. What I know comes from my own experience working in my yard and observing landscape ideas at homes around me. Obviously, in landscape design, as in art, a lot is the opinion of the artist. I’ll share my opinion and you can take it from there and create your own cactus garden masterpiece.