Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

January, 2006
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Running of the Gourds
The 3rd Annual Wuertz Farm Gourd Festival features a juried gourd art competition in conjunction with the Arizona Gourd Society. Almost 40 classes are offered, from basic gourd design to advanced techniques. Learn how to silk dye and photo transfer onto a gourd, or make a lined canteen purse or "Wartie Frog" box from gourds. Festival and classes are February 2-5, Pinal County Fairgrounds, Casa Grande, AZ. Admission is $5; 12 and under free. Details and fees for classes or competition entries are at:


Gardening Ideas
If you're looking for inspiration, this sumptuously photographed book will provide it. Author Noel Kingsbury (Timber Press, 2005; $34.95) interviewed 25 innovative landscape designers for Gardens by Design: Expert Advice from the World's Leading Garden Designers. He distilled their thoughts on the creative process into 4-page sections that are easily read or perused but pack a wealth of ideas. Many topics relate to the concept of sustainability, which the author defines as "the use of materials and techniques that minimize negative impacts on the wider environment and promote bio-diversity." One section -- "Using Native Plants" -- is by Isabelle Greene, who creates colorful, water-thrifty landscapes in southern California where they have periodic droughts. Another is "Habitat Planning," by Beth Chatto, who is the godmother of matching plants with the habitat they'll be growing in. Although Chatto gardens in Britain, her idea is instrumental for gardening success in the low desert, with its unique and challenging growing conditions.

Speaking of low desert, we are fortunate to be represented in the book by Steve Martino, an award-winning landscape architect from Phoenix. He contributes ideas on "Outdoor Living Spaces." Martino is well-known for his use of stunning colored walls, incorporating the desert's fabulous views, and using native plant material to attract wildlife. If this book doesn't inspire the gardener in you, it might be time to take up a new hobby!


Today's site banner is by EscondidoCal and is called "Water Hibiscus"