Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

What to do in Phoenix: Las Noches de las Luminarias

Las Noches de las Luminarias - Desert Botanical GardenIf you’re lucky enough to live in Phoenix during the holidays, you might want to think about checking out the 35th Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden.

It runs through December 30, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from 5:00-9:00pm.  Not only does it feature some 8,000 luminarias that are all lit each night by a hearty group of volunteers, but it’s got some interesting entertainment, too!

It’s a really cool way to take a walk in the brisk evening air and see all of the desert and xeriscape plants lit by candlelight…and have a great time doing it.

With that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with good stuff growing in 2013!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I send good wishes for the season.

Gardening Tip: Designing Vegetable Gardens

Garden Plan Pro for the iPadOK, so…I admit to a near-giddy fascination with high-tech gadgets.  I worship at the altar of my smartphone (I know, false god) and pray daily for a good gardening app.  I mean, I do like to draw up my veggie garden with my stash of colored pencils.  But it takes time, right?

So when I discovered Garden Plan Pro, I screamed like a 12-year-old girl seeing Justin Bieber up close.  (No, I didn’t faint.)  Unfortunately, the app is currently only available  for iPads (the iPhone version is due later in the year) and I am too dang cheap (or reasonable) to pay for an Apple product.

So if you have an iPad, check it out.  If you don’t have an iPad, there’s a desktop version available. It helps you plan an edible garden, pull plants from an extensive database, use weather station info from 20 countries so you can adapt your plant to our Phoenix desert climate, and get reminders of when to plant.  Hard to believe, but it even spaces plants correctly and provides advice on crop rotation and succession planting.

Is this too good to be true?  I just downloaded the trial and quickly drew the plan for one of my gardens.  Simple!  Now, if only they can do this for native desert and xeriscape plants suitable for Phoenix!


Exclusive Tour of Wallace Desert Gardens

Prickle this, cactus lovers!  Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden is offering an exclusive walking tour of the Wallace Desert Gardens–a private collection of natural desert plants from around the world.

The tour, taking place on November 5 from 9:30am to noon, starts in the original home of Henry B. Wallace and his wife and meanders throughout the several-acre Arizona property.  Highlights include a covered 6,000 square foot cactus pavilion uniquely designed for climate control, a boojum tree forest, and world-renowned collection of Ephedra, in addition to beautifully manicured desert garden spaces.

We went out there last spring and it was…um…spine-tastic!  The Wallaces collected these plants over the years so expect a little bit of history along the way.  And maybe it’ll inspire your own desert landscaping!

This is a private facility (Mrs. Wallace still lives on the property) and the DBG only does this tour a couple of times a year…and space is limited.  So don’t miss out!  Contact the Desert Botanical Garden to make your reservation!


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