How Tucson Welcomes

Most everyone notices the hospitality they are given when visiting another’s home. 

The ambiance a place offers is much like the curb appeal of a development or property owner; it benefits they and others. One place that gets it is rightfully called “world class”, since it isn’t merely in the desert, but it is of the desert.

Tucson, AKA the Old Pueblo, has a unique way of welcoming from other desert communities. Photos from February 2014:

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stately Saguaro and swaying ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde tell arrivals and residents where they are…plants evoke a sense of place far more than rocks, architecture, or brochures…

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so does a horseback ride through a local guest ranch with this scenery…
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leaning on not a fragile cottonwood trunk, but a strong mesquite trunk…
Elizabeth is ready for dinner after all that ambiance, too...
Elizabeth is ready for dinner after all that ambiance, too…

And yes, the dinner was good. While Arizona can’t seem to pull off barbecue as good as Texas, everything else was more than fine. The campfires roaring to take the chill off, under the mesquite bosque, talking and seeing stars all around.

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no desert denial, Tucson cacti on a pedestal for all to see…
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no lawn or cool/wet clime plantings falsely luring people to the U of A campus…
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instead, an exuberant Sonoran Desert planting at an entry monument…
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tile mosaics well done, including the Arizona state flag…
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cactus is king…no apologies, no gestures towards other places…cochineal scale, too…

Did you know part of why I moved to El Paso from that other place is overload on their desert denial? It’s so unsophisticated for a place to deny it’s power and cover it with makeup, let alone continue in that…

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historic hotel welcoming alfresco dining…no lollipop trees, but rather, symbols of mild winters…
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festive, colorful walls…warm welcome for pedestrians, not cold imagery of the land-disconnected…
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speaking of no apologies, a stunning container by Kornegay filled with spiny or bold symbols of the southwest…Lady’s Slipper, Queen Victoria Agave, Red Yucca, and a small barrel cactus…
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and golden barrels, plus more cacti…Monet-esque flowers optional…
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time to leave, the airport’s Golden Barrel clumps nestling, protecting…
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delicate Sonoran Desert native, Parry Penstemon / Penstemon parryi…I’ll be back, I always return

A biologist presenting at a conference mentioned Whitethorn Acacia, noting its fragrant flowers, but like other plants native in the area, she added how it has thorns. But my favorite part was her saying – “yes, it has thorns, so get over it.” Shocking to many, I’m sure, but one has to accept what some life forms must have to better survive the ravages of other life forms, climate, etc.

As humans, we can be careful near them, and as necessary, plant spiny plants out of normal arms’ reach.

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3 Replies to “How Tucson Welcomes”

  1. Client said she didn’t like blah-blah. I said, “You work full time, have 2 children in private school, a husband, a large house, a large yard, and said you wanted pretty-low maintenance-affordable. Blah-blah will get you there easily.” She said,”Oh, ok !”

    Adore the quick study.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    This art of convincing – restating back client situation & concerns as *why* we “blah-blah” – something I need to employ more! Thanks for the reminder…I even did it the other day. Thanks!

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  2. Thanks for this! Here in Central Texas we still suffer from widespread denial as indicated by the persistent prevalence of monocultured lawns. I’m a delighted observer/participant in the rediscovery of what our spaces should and could look like as some of us attempt to embrace the native.

    I noticed that in large swaths of Austin. While we in desert waste our “easy water”, it’s odd to see a place with as much rain as you get (even 15-25″ in a drought) use it on lawns, when some lawns will grow less densely on 15-20″!

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