I arrived in Tucson, Arizona in the fall of 1967 to attend the U of A. Up to that point I had been born and raised in Kentucky, but gone to summer camp and boarding school in New England. I was pretty much an eastern kid through and through. Was I in culture shock in Tucson? Yes! But I started hanging out in the desert and fell in love. So much so, that when I went home to Kentucky on school breaks I couldn’t wait to turn around and head back to Tucson. Finally, I quit going back home. I had found a new one.
If you want to learn desert plants, there is no better primer than the desert itself and there are tons of resources from handy desert field guides and floras, to the Arizona Native Plant Society, the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and fabulous web sites of local native plant nurseries. (Yes, I have a favorite and I think you can guess.)
Once you’ve learned a plant, reptile, bird, mammal or insect, well that will lead to another plant, reptile, bird, mammal or insect. Look out, you’ve fallen in love with the desert!
The photos are mine and taken a few years ago when I was going to give a talk at the annual Desert Hort Conference in Tucson. I remember that I went out into the desert west of Tucson to take a few photos and ended up spending the day running from plant to plant and shouting joyously to no one, but the plants.
And last but no least, Happy Birthday to my wife Marian who has shared so many desert adventures! I suspect there will be many more.