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Cactus flowers in the Tucson desert

Dove Mountain Residents Dig Gardening

Going native
In Dove Mountain, the landscapes around our homes reflect the look and feel of our desert surroundings. Landscapes facing outward from our homes feature native plants like saguaros, cholla, mesquites, palo verdes, desert marigolds and so much more. The landscapes are simple, yet stunning and a tribute to the Sonoran Desert beauty all around us.

Pots on patios
In our backyards you’ll find view patios with brightly colored, earthen and architectural pots sporting lovely plants like Meyer lemons, hibiscus, adeniums (also known as desert roses), Mexican honeysuckle, a variety of succulents and much more. Container planting is popular because it’s a great way to turn a patio into an outdoor room and pots can be placed or moved to optimal locations when the temperatures rise or during the monsoon season.

Native plants that love our climate and soil
Backyard gardens often feature native plants that thrive in our arid climate and alkaline/salty soil. Most nurseries in Pima County offer native plants like: Parry’s agave; firecracker penstemon; ocotillo; Texas Ranger shrubs; red yucca; yellow bells; and desert willows to name a few standouts.

How do they survive?
What makes a plant uniquely qualified to withstand a desert climate? Here are few answers: the dusty blue-green plants reflect sun away from their surfaces; plants with fleshy leaves and surfaces store water efficiently; and the multitude of spines (which are modified leaves) on cactus provide shade. In addition, plants with small upright leaves have less surface area and therefore less water loss.

A great resource for everything about desert gardening is Arizona Gardener’s Guide, written by Mary Irish, a former director of the Phoenix Botanical Garden.

Why we garden
Gardening is a great way to relax and to express our creativity. Through gardening we bring textures, colors, scents and wildlife into our landscapes. And as the late Lady Bird Johnson once said, “Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

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