2.5 acres of not flat desert is what our house sits on. We are wonderfully close to the Superstition Mountain in an area called Gold Canyon AZ. Our house sits on top of a hill and gives us views from every way you look. The house is small and built in the 1940s. The previous owners took care of it so well and created such an amazing energy surrounding it that we have changed very little moving in.
It’s not the inside that I want to focus on anyway.
Part of why I wanted to write any of this is as I have grown older I realize not everyone has the same yard work experiences, understanding of, access to and love of working in a desert yard. I have plenty to share..
I have never considered myself a “gardener”. I’m not cultivating heirloom tomatoes and honestly have had little luck with growing any vegetable. To me a gardener can have pretty tools. They can have gloves with the cool designs to put into dark brown mulch and smooth around their yard. To me a gardener has beautiful flowers they cut in bunches and take in the house.
I work in the yard. I fight with it. It fights back. I am scratched and torn and bleeding guaranteed. My gloves are stuck with thorns. Desert plants are no joke. They are not going to be pulled or trimmed willingly. Years of evolution have made cacti extremely efficient in protecting themselves.
But whether they like it or not they need to be taken care of and groomed. Fire is a real danger in the desert. Leaving dead bushes and shrubs and branches is not a good idea. It also makes it even harder to protect your land from fire if it is surrounded by dry dead brush. Overgrown bushes hiding cacti are not fun either and can be seriously dangerous.
Some cactus can be next to impossible to get within a few feet of unless you are ok with being impaled by three inch spikes or met with clumps of spikes that have fallen strategically around the plant. Jumping Cholla are famous for this magic. They grow here and land there. These are especially not fun to groom either but for open property like we have getting those fallen cacti bits off the ground is needed for my friends, family and the dog’s safety.
I hope with this blog to share the beauty that is out here on a more personal level and less technical level. I am going to do my best to post pictures of my cacti with their real, scientific names and some info. and what not but also take non photo shopped pictures so you can be as close to the plants and nature as I can offer and still feel real.
We just bought this house. I will not take credit for some of the fabulous that is already growing here. The previous owners did a great job. We too have done our share in cleaning up the acreage and are uncovering hidden cacti left and right, hoping to highlight what already lives here. Really all credit for the beauty around here goes to nature.
We have plants that grow nowhere but this desert. We also have 13 different species of rattlesnakes in AZ but that’s another blog. Oh calm down it’s not crawling with snakes out here. But yes we have seen a snake since arriving. Not a rattler though. Pretty 4 footer probably gopher snake just cruising along. They are needed and wonderful. If you don’t like snakes then don’t go near them. I PROMISE they won’t voluntarily go near you.