Southwestern Deserts

January, 2001
Regional Report

Books

Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul
I read Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul, by Elizabeth Murray (Pomegranate Books, 1997; $35), over the holidays, and it inspired me on many levels, not just as a gardener. The author is an artist and gardener who writes movingly about a garden's ability to help us heal and grow. I found her list of archetypal elements for the garden particularly thought provoking. My own small garden contains many of them, but I hadn't thought of them in that vein before. The book features beautiful photographs of gardens around the world that convey the author's ideas.

Favorite or New Plant

Queen Victoria Agave
Agaves can be striking focal points in a southwestern landscape. One of my favorites is the Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae), which forms a lovely rosette shape. Its thick leaves are deep green with white markings on each side. The leaves end in black spines that create a striking visual contrast. Like most agaves, the Queen Victoria will thrive in well-drained soil and full sun. Plant it where it has room to grow and where the spines won't interfere with walkways. Its very compact rosette form also looks stunning in a container.

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