Gardening in Tucson

Tuesday, July 03, 2018


Friday | July 27 | 3-7pm
Saturday | July 28 | 8am-1pm

The monsoon season brings our annual plant sale where we host local growers & nationally-renowned plant experts with their specially-selected inventory. Everyone is invited to come on down to buy the weird and wondrous and learn proper plant care.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Public gardens and parks that show Sonoran Desert's beauty

By Elena Acoba Special to the Arizona Daily Star
There are several public gardens and parks in the Tucson area that help you understand what can grow in the Sonoran Desert.
But sometimes hidden gardens sit in plain sight. They may look like mere landscaping, but with a few signs or an organized tour, they, too, can explain why they do well in our tough growing environment.
Read more about Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort,  Presidio San Agustin Del Tucson Museum and the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum here

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Master Gardeners' Spring Plant Sale
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 8 am-11 am
It's time for spring planting, and we have plants to sell! Twice a year, we hold our popular plant sales that fund the Master Gardener program. We have great plants at reasonable prices, and we only sell plants that we'd grow ourselves at our own Tucson-area homes.
You may want to come early. There is usually a line, and the most popular plants sell out fast! The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension grounds are at 4210 N Campbell Avenue. There is additional parking if you enter on Roger Road, East of Campbell Avenue.

19th Annual Master Gardener
Home Garden Tour
Saturday, April 14th, 2018 - 9 am - 3 pm
Art and design are the focus for the self-guided tour of four gardens in midtown Tucson. 
You will be delighted and inspired to see how the challenges of urban gardening can offer great opportunities and small spaces can be transformed with art, and whimsy. We’ll even explain how to raise chickens!
And of course there will be great plants and garden designs to amaze you. It 's not far off, so please mark your calendars for this not-to-be missed springtime event. More information about the tour and $15.00 advance tickets can be found here.
Purchase tickets online for $20 here,


Would you like to become a Pima County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer? Would you enjoy teaching people in the Tucson area about research-based gardening information to help them become more proficient? Do you have time to donate a minimum of 50 volunteer hours per year? Are you up for an intensive 18-week horticulture/gardening class that focuses on how to grow plants in Pima County? If so, the deadline for applications is coming up soon! Our 2018 class begins in August, but the application deadline is May 1st, 2018. We only do this once a year, so don't procrastinate!…/…/2018-pcmg-application2.pdf

Tucson Botanical Gardens presents

The Ultimate Home & Garden Tour

April 14 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

The Ultimate Home & Garden Tour returns to let you explore houses and gardens around the greater Tucson area! You’ll start the day off with a delicious champagne brunch at the Gardens provided by our very own Café Botanica. You’ll then be whisked away on a spacious tour coach to each home where you can see exciting plants and fascinating architecture. You’ll then rendezvous at a final home where you’ll be treated to additional wine and appetizers in a special setting.
Tickets Sold Out!
Call to be added to the wait list: (520) 326-9686 ext. *13
Ticket prices:
$150 non-member/$130 member
$285 non-member couple/$250 member couple
Tucson Area Iris Society “Spring into Iris” – our annual show Saturday April 14, 2018 - 9 AM to 3 PM Murphy-Wilmot Library large room to right of entrance  530 N. Wilmot Road



Sundays in the Garden – Spring Series

Join us every Sunday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. this March and April in the Performance Garden. The concert is free with admission and free for members as one of the many amazing membership benefits. Treat yourself to a wonderful afternoon outdoors, sipping wine, and listening to live music. Seating is limited, so please arrive early. The concert series is brought you in part by the Tucson Guitar Society.


April 8 | Gary Stroutsos Trio | World Flute Muisic
April 15 | Bin Hu and Xia Jing | Guzheng and Classical Guitar
April 22 | Ignacio Mondaca | Classical Guitar
April 29 | Diana Yusupov | Classical Music – Cello


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

February 10, 2018

Tucson Area Iris Club monthly meeting at Noon at Murphy-Wilmot

Rick Tasco from Superstition Gardens will speak on
Iris hybridization

Thursday, September 07, 2017


Desert Survivors Fall Plant Sale

September 23 Saturday.

 Members only

Sept 26 (Tuesday) thru
September 30 (Saturday)
General public and member1020 W. Start Pass Blvd.

More info at desert

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
Fall Plant Sale
Saturday September 23 members only
6:30 a.m til noon

Public sale Sunday September 24
6:30 a.m. til noon


Pima County Master Gardeners

Plant Sale

Saturday October 7   8-11 AM

Pima County Cooperative Extension

4210 N. Campbell Avenue


Tohono Chul Fall Plant Sale

Fall is the Time to Plant!

Members’ Preview | Wednesday | Oct. 11| 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
General Public | Saturday | Oct. 14 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
General Public | Sunday | Oct. 15 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Tucson Organic Garden Fair and Plant Sale


St. Mark's Church - 3809 E. Third Street.

Vegtable and herb seedlings, compost, supplies, 

equipment, vendors, food, face painting and raffle.

A great family event.  More info at 749-9429



Spring Plant Sale Daily March 10 - 26

Members-Only Preview Shopping March 10, Friday
This popular annual fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, 
cacti and succulents helps raise money to support programs and
collections at the Arboretum – and if you need planting and
 landscaping advice, Arboretum staff are joined by helpful volunteers
 from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners
 program weekend days advising and assisting buyers with suggestions 
for trees and smaller plants ideal for landscaping projects.
 Event continues daily through March 26.
Wondering about specific plants in stock?
 Call Arboretum staff during daily business hours at 520.689.2723


Desert Survivors Spring Plant Sale

March 11th (Saturday) - Members Sale

March 14th (Tuesday) thru March 18th (Saturday) - 
Public & Members

1020 W. Starr Pass Road (Near I-10 & 22nd Street)


Tohono Chul Park - Spring Plant Sale

Members’ Preview: Wednesday | March 15 | 12 – 6 p.m.
General Public: Saturday, March 18 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 19 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

It’s time for our annual Spring Plant Sale. Don’t miss access to over
 1,200 species of cacti, succulents, shrubs, trees, and flowers.
Sale takes place in our Propagation Department located next to the
 Education Center at 7211 N. Northern Avenue.  (Near Ina & Oracle)
 For map location and more information visit our events listing here.


Tucson African Violet Society

Spring Judged Show and Sale!

Theme: Classic Rock & Roll

Printable flyer

Saturday March 18th, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Contact info: (520)574-1367 or email:
Come visit our Spring Show! An amazing array of violets and
gesneriads will be on display to show Tucson a fun and beautiful
hobby. African Violets are a great way to grow lovely blooming
plants indoors year round! All the information and supplies you
 need to grow African violets will be available as well as information
 about joining the Tucson African Violet Society.

Location: Golden Pin Lanes, 1010 W. Miracle Mile



The Pima County Master Gardeners announce their 18th Annual Home
 Garden Tour to be held on April 1, 2017 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Four spectacular Master Gardener private home gardens will be
 showcased. Each venue will offer informative garden talks and
 demonstrations such as attracting garden pollinators, creating color in
 cactus gardens, selecting and sowing spring wildflowers, harvesting
rainwater and protecting plants and garden tools through proper maintenance.

The Demonstration Gardens at the Cooperative Extension office
 (4210 N. Campbell Ave.) will also be open for touring and learning.
Ticket sales begin February 15, 2017 and may be purchased at the
 following Garden Centers: Arbico, Bach’s, EcoGro, Harlows,
 Mesquite Valley Growers, Plants for the Southwest, Rillito Nursery
 and at the Cooperative Extension Service office, 4210 N. Campbell Ave.
Tickets may also be purchased prior to April 1 online at the
 PCMG Home Garden Tickets link below.
 Tickets are available on the day of the tour at each home garden and
at the Extension Demonstration Gardens on Campbell Avenue.
Tickets are $15 in advance/ $20 on-line and on the day of the tour.
  Click Here for Tickets (link is external) For more information call 626-5161


APRIL 8, Saturday



at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Pima County Library

8959 E. Tanque Verde Rd.  9:00 A.M. TIL 4:00 P.M.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Tucson experts share their best tips to help new gardeners succeed this spring

  • Updated
  • If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to grow veggies, now is the time to fulfill that pledge.
    Tucson’s spring planting season is getting underway. If you’re brand new to gardening, this is the prime time to get a few tips and start digging.
    Don’t be afraid of the coming summer, says Jessica Paul, gardening technician for Community Gardens of Tucson. “Even though we live in a desert, we can have a bountiful garden year round,” she says.
    Gardening seasons are different in Southern Arizona compared to other parts of the country, so be careful where you get your advice.
    “The information that you read does not apply here in many cases,” cautions Toni Moore, a Pima County master gardener. She recommends attending local classes or using resources specifically addressing Sonoran Desert gardening.
    Starting with a small garden is “an easy way to keep things under control,” advises Brandon Merchant, owner of Southwest Victory Gardens. A plot of between 18 and 25 square feet is a good beginning size.
    A container garden using 5-gallon tubs also is a good option to keeping a small garden, suggests Luis Herrera, the home garden coordinator for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
    As for location, Merchant suggests putting your garden where running water from rainfall will flow into it.
    Watch out for glass windows, advises Jacqueline Soule, author of “Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening” and other gardening books. As the seasonal angle of the sun changes, light may reflect off of windows and into your garden.
    “The extra heat and light intensity reflected off windows can make a previously fine crop wither and dry up within a day,” she cautions.
    Fix your soil, the experts agree.
    “Healthy soil is one of the most important elements in gardening,” says Paul.
    “Our soil is desert dirt,” explains Moore. “It’s not sterile, but it doesn’t have a lot of bio-organic matter in it.”
    That matter — fungi, bacteria, microbes, insects and other living things — provides nutrients to plants and aerates the soil to hold moisture, she says.
    Replace as much as 50 percent of the native soil with compost. Compost is dirt enriched with decayed material such as food scraps, plant trimmings and worm castings.
    Optional amendments include ammonium sulphate and soil sulfur, says Moore.
    If planting in containers, be sure to use an organic, nutrient-rich potting soil mix, advises Herrera.
    If your garden will be in the ground, dig basins, says Soule. That will contain rainwater and flood irrigation so that water seeps deeply into the soil.
    There are many spring and summer veggies that are easy to grow both in the ground and in containers.
    “Peppers, basil and some varieties of tomatoes can grow well in 5-gallon buckets,” Herrera says.
    Other easy crops for beginners include onion, bush bean, Armenian cucumber, melon, corn, tepary bean, eggplant, pole bean, cowpea and squash, especially zucchini and pumpkin.
    Moore says tomatoes are “fussy” because of the narrow window for fruiting. Roma and cherry are easiest, she says.
    Heat-tolerant varieties such as “Heatwave” or cold-tolerant ones like “Siberian” or “Alaska” can extend the growing season.
    Squash may also be challenging for beginners because some plants may need to be pollinated by hand. “Plants that can easily self-pollinate tend to have more chances of being productive,” says Herrera.
    After planting, top the soil with a layer of organic material, called mulch.
    Properly watering plants will be crucial as temperatures rise and before monsoon rains kick in.
    It doesn’t matter what method you use for irrigation, as long as you’re consistently and correctly watering.
    “Water needs to go down 12 to 18 inches and the soil should be kept evenly moist,” she says. Water every day until monsoon rains start.
    Good soil and proper watering will take care of many growing problems such as pests or disease. “Plant vigor is your first line of defense,” she says.
    Warm weather will mean lots of critters eyeing your plants, says Merchant. Birds, caterpillars, rodents and other animals will munch away in your garden.
    Some of this won’t kill your plants, he reassures. “The majority of the time, these things will take care of themselves, but on occasion some intervention from the gardener may be necessary.”
    Both Merchant and Herrera suggest you spend time watching your garden grow so you know what’s normal and what needs to be addressed.
    Plus, the practice will give you benefits other than fresh food.
    “It’s a very calming and therapeutic experience to be around plants and taking care of them,” Herrera says.
    Don’t give up if the garden doesn’t do what you expect it to do, Merchant says.
    “When I first started gardening, I would stress out if my plants didn’t look perfect or if something didn’t go as planned,” he explains.
    “This took a lot of the fun out of gardening and I was always spending money trying to obtain the perfect garden.”
    He enjoyed gardening much more after he embraced the process and the challenges.
    “In gardening, mistakes are simply learning experiences and there is never one right way to do anything,” he says. “Each season brings new challenges and rewards that will be totally unexpected, so it’s best just to learn from them and move on.”
    Contact Tucson freelance writer Elena Acoba at