Shows & Events
Tucson Botanical Gardens will hold its 24th Annual Luminaria Nights on December 3-5 from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy the magical ambiance while strolling the garden as thousands of luminarias light the paths. Over 30 entertainment groups offer festive music along the way, including holiday favorites such as hand bell choirs. Tickets go fast, so make plans early! Admission prices are $9 for ages 13 and up; $5 for children; free for infants. For more info, go to www.tucsonbotanical.org.
Favorite or New Plant
Claret Cup Cactus
Echinocereus triglochidiatus, native to the Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran deserts, is a low-growing hedgehog cactus that's resplendent in spring and early summer, drenched in red flowers. Look for eye-grabbing shades of orange-red, scarlet or wine-red. Individual cactus stems average 8 to 10 inches tall and eventually spread to form a mounded circle about 2 feet across, up to 4 feet if conditions are to its liking. Like most cacti, claret cup thrives in well-drained soil with minimal organic matter. It takes full sun to partial sun. Rainwater will suffice or water once monthly in dry summers. Overwatering will rot the roots. Hummingbirds and butterflies seek nectar from the flowers and songbirds and small mammals eat the fruits.