Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

July, 2005
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Cactus & Succulent Show
The Cactus and Succulent Society of America is holding its 31st Biennial Convention from August 5-10 in Scottsdale, AZ, hosted by the Central Arizona Cactus & Succulent Society. There's a diverse group of lectures, workshops and tours that reflects the diversity of these plants. There is also a pre-convention tour of the Four Corners area from July 29-Aug. 5, and "Day Trips for Plant Haters" if you have unwilling family members to drag along. Registration prices vary depending on what you choose to attend. For complete details, check the website:


Agaves and Yuccas
The authors of Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: A Gardener's Guide, (Timber Press, 2000, $34.95) are well-known in the Southwest's gardening community. Mary Irish was director of public horticulture at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for many years and is a popular speaker on diverse gardening topics. Gary Irish is an avid grower and plant photographer. It's fitting that the couple collaborated on this book encouraging the use of plants that add so much regional character to Southwestern landscapes. The book covers genera descriptions for Agave, Beaucarnea, Beschorneria, Calibanus, Dasylirion, Furcraea, Hersperaloe, Manfreda, Nolina, Polianthes and Yuccas. A chapter on cultural information details helpful growing information, including a chart with known cold tolerances (we desert dwellers sometimes forget the importance of hardiness). It also covers ethnobotanical uses of the plants and the historical twists and turns of plant classification. The bulk of the book contains plant profiles that guide the gardener in identifying species and incorporating them in the landscape. Profiles include detailed information on size, leaves, bloom, native distribution, how to propagate, cultural requirements, similar species and uses in the landscape. Included are species that are not only attractive but also available in the nursery trade. This is a very useful reference book for both identification and growing pointers.


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