The Appeal of the Desert

I grew up in a semi- desert area of Southern California. While I was studying art and anthropology at the University there, I became fascinated with the desert and began making many trips out on to the Mojave Desert to sketch and photograph, drawn to the spare and otherworldly vistas. I was "into" plants and pets, anyway, and soon became very interested in the plants and animals of the desert. From there my interest expanded to arid lands in general. The plants of these dry places captivated me from an esthetic standpoint as well as an ecological one- many of their forms seemed sculptural or otherwise more visually intriguing than more common "foliage" plants. As for the desert creatures: they seemed so hardy and tenacious- I admired their full lives in a hard place. When I graduated from the University I chose to move to a desert and make a life there. I make my living thru art that portrays the unusual within and all around us; and thru raising exotic desert plants - some of the most unusual things on the planet. I hope that thru these venues I can promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the desert, and of the diverse tapestry that life on this Earth is.

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Arid Lands and the Plants That Make Their Homes There

In this section you'll find information on caring for plants in the Sonoran desert; also a bit on desert ecology. I'll discuss not only native plants but also plants that thru my experience I've found are compatible with our specific environment. I am in Catalina, Arizona (between Tucson, AZ. and Oracle, AZ: just four miles away from the infamous Biosphere II). It is 3200 ft. elevation here- we are truly in zone 8: many nights in the teens in winter..yet we do have many days over 100 degrees in summer (highest I've recorded: 114 degrees in July 1996). For this reason, most of the plants I'll talk about here are hardy down to at least 10 degrees. Many central Mexican plants that you may find in use in places such as Phoenix just can't take our winters, here. To go to my pages on desert ecology; cacti; succulents; desert shrubs and so on, visit the on- site links below.

Here's a view up Ventana Canyon from the trail by the creek. Come back soon to see my new cactus and desert wildflower picture gallery! Striking Desert Landscapes like this one will be there too!

Here Are the Plant Pages...

Answers to Some Questions About the Desert: Frequently Asked Questions and "Did-You-Know?s"
Cactus Care: Information on light requirements,transplanting, watering, feeding, etc.
Caring for Traditional Herbs in the Desert: Advice on raising non-native (but very useful) herbs such as mints, scented geraniums, thymes and so forth in desert climates.
Desert Plants: Shrubs, Ocotillos, etc.: Information on caring for many kinds of drought- tolerant plants; native and non- native; perennial wildflowers too!
The Sonoran Desert and Her Plants: Back to the Home Page
Turtle Woman Site Archive: Back to the OLD Home Page