Desert Love

One of the big problems facing Phoenix is that most of its residents are living in a state of denial.  They live in a very harsh desert climate but like to pretend they live in the midwest…during the month of May.  There are lawns and flower beds with petunias.  I have traveled extensively throughout Arizona and I have never seen a petunia growing  in the wild.  It’s not a native species.

When I moved back here in 2003 I bought a house in Tempe because I think Tempe is a great city.  It is centrally located, fairly progressive, quite diverse, and family oriented.  It’s hard to do better, unless your idea of life is to acquire symbols of status to flaunt to your neighbors, in which case Scottsdale is hard to beat…

My wife and I lucked out by buying a nice home in an established neighborhood.  The previous owner loved his lawn.  It was immaculate.  One of those tiff lawns on which I could have practiced putting, if I had liked golf.

I don’t like golf and I really don’t like cutting grass.  Neither does my wife, much to her credit.  So we decided to kill  the lawn and replace it with desert plants.  I have a tendency to say I am replacing it with desert landscaping, which gives people the wrong impression.  Many people think ‘desert landscaping’ means  covering everything with pink rock and planting  a barrel cactus somewhere in the middle.   Phoenix has a lot of that, so it’s hard to fault people for thinking that’s what ‘desert landscaping’ means.

But, actually, there are homes throughout the valley owned by people who love the desert and want their yards to reflect that fact.  They plant drought tolerant, mostly native varieties chosen for their beautiful forms and colors.  They study the environment and learn about the plants, appreciating the fact that these local varieties will probably do better and require less work than a bed of petunias, or a putting green.


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