Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

March, 2007
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Parade of Ponds
Here's the perfect opportunity to gather ideas for adding a naturalistic water feature to your landscape, and at the same time support a worthy cause. Sponsored by the non-profit Schoolyard Habitat Foundation, proceeds from this Phoenix-area tour are used to build a pond on a school campus. (Schools submit essays and the winner receives a free wildlife habitat.) At your own pace, visit any or all of over 30 ponds at homes and schools in the greater Phoenix area. Some homeowners will open their landscapes to visitors on Saturday evening, demonstrating the soothing ambience that can be obtained by a lit water feature surrounded by darkness. Tour is Saturday, April 28 from 9 to 9, and Sunday, April 29 from 9 to 4. Tickets are $20, children 12 and under free. For info on tickets or the schoolyard habitat contest, go to:


Global Warming
University of Arizona's Cooperative Extension Urban Hort Department is always considering ways to fine-tune our public outreach mission. We want concepts to be easily understood by a wide audience, and just as important, we want that audience to act on what they learned. Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth (Rodale, 2006; $21.95), is a superlative example of a similar effort. The author translates scientific concepts into concrete examples that everyone can grasp, even older children. His information is straight from the scientific community, but the accompanying images -- photos, maps, charts -- make it easy to relate to, even if science isn't your thing.

The book contends that every corner of the world is touched in some way, and the photos bring it straight into our living rooms. Shots of the first-ever enormous crack in an Arctic ice shelf may seem remote, but images of Alaskan forests devastated by bark beetles look scarily like the Southwest's beetle-infested forests that are being consumed by wildfires.

After reading, you'll understand what global warming is; how scientists measure changes that have occurred over thousands of years; how elevated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are changing the planet's temperature and affecting weather patterns, oceans, and ecosystems; the role technology plays; and perhaps most important, how interconnected we all are.


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