Carefree, Arizona cactus and succulent garden

grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)November 15, 2011

Hi everyone,

I've been reading about the new public planting/garden for several months in the newspaper, and in Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, and this past weekend it was finally open to the public, so I took a quick stroll through on a rainy Sunday.

I took a bunch of quick-and-dirty pics and posted them in a public folder on my picasaweb account (link at bottom--pics are unlabeled etc). If you're curious, feel free to take a look at them, or at a sampling of pics below.

I really, really liked it. I think the botanical garden could learn a lesson or three as the DBG has gotten way too in to those geometric mass plantings that look very hospital/office building plantings over the last few years (you know, a straight row of Mexican fencepost cacti each with a single golden barrel in front, or an every-other planting of cereus and echinopsis etc). I like these more naturalistic (or at least less symmetric and less geometric) yet dramatic plantings at the Carefree planting. Different strokes for different folks though. :)

I did really like it and hope you'll take a look at the pics or visit it in person. It's right by the big sun dial in the Carefree town center.

Take care and happy gardening!

Grant

Here is a link that might be useful: Public C&S planting, Carefree Arizona USA

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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Ooops, forgot a pic of the sundial (totally non-functional on a rainy day, but always fun to see):

Happy gardening indoors and out!
Grant

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 12:53PM
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xica_da_silva

Looks like a great place to visit, Grant! I'll have to check it out sometime.

I am also interested in the landscaping design side of things, although I know I have so much to learn. There are so many factors involved, practical as well as aesthetic, no? I'm seriously thinking of purchasing some sort of landscaping software to help me visualize what I want my yard to look like long-term. I have a general idea of where I'd like to place my future trees, etc., but getting things 'to scale' seems a bit tricky! Also, it's interesting to think about the combinations of colors, shapes, and textures that produce an overall effect, and how it might change during different times of the year. The yard really can be thought of as an artist's canvas...I hope I can eventually produce something in line with my ambitions...but I get the feeling that gardening (especially when aiming for beauty) is a lot of trial and error! :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:22PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hiya Xica and all,

Thanks for looking/commenting. It really is a great display garden for sure.

I hear you on plant design. My biggest challenge is that I'm a plant pig for one, so I'm always growing more than I should, oink oink, AND I tend to plant plants where they'll be happiest, not necessarily where they LOOK best, LOL. We're all always improving though. :)

Thanks again--happy gardening everyone,
Grant

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 11:21AM
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vickij

I love this post. We moved to Carefree a year ago from South Florida. It has been quite a big change but I am adjusting. Grant, you were one of the first to answer my first post in which I asked for recommendations for gardening books. I am still referring to your suggestions. Getting back to the subject of this post-the new Carefree garden is wonderful. I am using the garden for inspiration!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 9:17AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hiya Vicki and everyone,

Great! There are lots of really good local gardening books that should make the transition to gardening here easier. Which are turning out to be your favorites so far??? I think this is one of THE most fun places to garden.

I'm glad you like the Carefree garden too--it really is wonderful and they have some AMAZING showpiece specimens too. And I wish every cactus gardener in AZ grew at least one cardon, LOL. I think I have five.

Anyway, thanks for looking/commenting. Happy gardening--check in often!

Take care,
Grant

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 3:50PM
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azpedsrn(Arizona)

Grant, Do they sell plants there, also? I'm in the northwest Phoenix area and haven't heard of it before,

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 7:54PM
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azpedsrn(Arizona)

Grant, Do they sell plants there, also? I'm in the northwest Phoenix area and haven't heard of it before,

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 8:01PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks for the nice comments, all. Azpedsrn, no, they don't sell plants there, it is a public/demonstration garden.

If you like cactus and succulents, definitely check out AZ Cactus Sales in Chandler, and Shady Way Gardens in Apache Junction. If you don't feel like driving that far, Desert Foothills Nursery in Cave Creek/N. Phoenix has a great selection and a TERRIFIC demonstration garden.

Thanks for looking/commenting!
Happy gardening,
Grant

Here is a link that might be useful: Desert Foothills Nursery

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 8:49PM
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azpedsrn(Arizona)

Grant, have you ever been up to the Old West Cactus Farm in Anthem? I LOVE that place...I spent a couple hours there last Saturday walking around, trying to narrow down my choices.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 11:48PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Oh yes, I get up to Old West Cactus Farm now and then--especially when combining it with a trip to the Outlet Mall too. You're right, it's great and it IS hard to narrow down choices, LOL. What did you get there?? We'd love to see/hear more! Thanks for mentioning them, they deserve to be highlighted!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:28AM
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azpedsrn(Arizona)

Well, I took pictures with my phone, both of Old West and also of my "treasures" because I wanted to share them on the Cactus & Succulent forum, came home and downloaded them to my laptop, but never could figure out how to get them on here. For starters, I couldn't find the JPG ...I'm pretty bad when it comes to computers. I got an astrophytum ( I LOVE them!), a mammillaria with a ring of buds starting to open, two really cool variegated fish-hook cactus (I think that's what the guy said they were- funny aside: the guy was surprised to see the two variegated ones-didn't know they were back there lol), a nice-sized melocactus, an echinofossulocactus lamellosus or multicostatus and one more one-gallon that I have no idea what it is. I also got two small ones that I don't know the names of. Today I planted two 5-gallon barrel cactus I bought from them in November. They are replacing two I lost last year - I had three in my front yard and lost one of them a few years ago, replaced it, then last year lost two of them. Hopefully I'll do better with these. I hope I can get the pictures loaded because I'd love to give people a glimpse of that place.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:27AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

azpedsrn, if you figure out where your pics are and how to share them, don't be shy. We'd love to see! I'm a cactus nut and a variegated nut, so it would be awesome to take a look. I've got a very small variegated barrel cactus (from Shady Way Gardens Nursery out in Apache Junction), plus a couple of fun variegated mammilarias too. Looking forward to pics here on the AZ forum. :) Happy gardening and thanks for the fun comments.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 7:23PM
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