California desert

For those of you who have read my blog from time to time, you have already met some of the members of “The Refuge” and seen glimpses of their gardens.

Today, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce to all of the residents and show you more of their garden and the beautiful desert that surrounds them.

California desert

The Refuge is a beautiful, green oasis, located in the California desert, near Palm Springs.  Stark, beautiful, desert mountains surround them that are often covered in snow in the winter.

California desert

It does rain in the desert and is always a time of celebration.  Dry desert washes, are suddenly filled with running water.

In the middle of this desert are the home and gardens of my sister and her family.

Beautiful Desert Garden

 Peach Tree Blossom

In the middle of the desert, you will find life in this desert garden.

Beautiful Desert Garden

Yellow Daisy (Euryops pectinatus)

Flowers are lovingly grown by my sister, Daisy Mom.

Beautiful Desert Garden

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)

Vegetables are grown by my nephew, Mr. Green Jeans.

Mr. Green Jeans

My sister and niece, Fruity Girl, also lend a hand to the vegetable garden.

Beautiful Desert Garden
vegetable garden

A large Mesquite tree graces the front garden….

Beautiful Desert Garden

And if you look closely, you will often find one of the residents of “The Refuge” high up in the tree.

high up in the tree

We have heard from Mr. Compost, my brother-in-law, about how why we should compost and his guest post can be read here.

All that is left for me to do now is to introduce you to the supporting cast, which includes, Gimli, who is the son of my dog.

Missy….and their shy cat.

shy cat

The beauty of the surrounding desert, the gardens of “The Refuge” along with it’s residents make this a very special place to visit.

Beautiful Desert Garden

There is so much that I am looking forward to sharing with you…we will visit the vegetable garden in depth and view more of the beautiful flowers that my sister grows.

We will also be going on a field trip to see a wind farm which is located close by “The Refuge”.

As the seasons change, we will be visiting the garden to see the changes that they bring.

Thank you for visiting “The Refuge” with me.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
23 replies
  1. Ami
    Ami says:

    If without the first a couple of pictures, I won't imagine a garden this beautiful is actually located in the middle of the desert! Your sister and her family is doing a very nice job to create such a beauty. The pictures just made me thinking living there would be very relaxing, and peaceful… Thanks for the touring!

  2. The Rainforest Gardener
    The Rainforest Gardener says:

    Those pictures take me back! I used to live in Barstow CA as a kid and was lucky enough to make the trip to the palm springs area once. I have never seen a desert I didn't like, but just add water and what a difference in diversity! I miss mesquite trees…

  3. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, This is a lovely idea. To share your sister's garden and to take us on a tour and meet your family personally is both imaginative and a pleasure. It will be good to see 'The Refuge' as the year progresses.

    It is quite incredible what you are all able to grow in the desert.

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    It's so beautiful there Noelle. I grew that Cape Honeysuckle in a container one year then let the frost kill it. Wonder why now?!!! It really was/is pretty.
    When I look at your posts and see everyone in short sleeve shirts & shorts, it makes me wish for spring even more. Have a good weekend.

  5. Gail
    Gail says:

    Noelle, What an absolutely lovely place, a refuge indeed and the residents look healthy and happy! Thank you for sharing it with us~Your photos are excellent, too…gail

  6. Rose
    Rose says:

    I enjoyed this tour of the Refuge, Noelle; amazing that such a vibrant place exists in the middle of the desert! It's also wonderful to see people in shorts and t-shirts…without heavy coats and stocking caps:)

    It's also been such a treat to see all the beautiful flowers coming into their own in your area on the last few posts. We're planning to visit my daughter in a few weeks, so I can't wait to see some of these blooms myself. How exciting to see that agave come into its crowning glory!

  7. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    I think I've said this before, but gardening really runs in your family! How nice that you all have that in common and enjoy each others different gardens so much. I love the one of their son in the tree. That reminds me of my daughter!

  8. camissonia
    camissonia says:

    Your first picture of the desert mountains reminds me of the vista from Highway 111 heading southeast towards Palm Springs from the I-10 freeway. That's the route my husband and I always take when we visit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The snow-covered peaks are gorgeous this time of year. Thanks for the wonderful glimpses into The Refuge.

  9. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Noelle, that is so sweet of you to introduce to us your family, not only the usual garden. That lovely mountains of rock remind me of Antalya, Turkey. We dont have rockies without topsoil in our country, there is always some sort of vegetation. I am really amused with Mr Green Jeans, i love to do that too when i am a kid. BTW Noelle, did you find your site in my sidebar? It has been there already a month ago! That is just to show my interest with your area, your family, your work, photos, and posts.

  10. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    I am now full of anticipation and looking forward to learning more about the garden at The Refuge Noelle! I'm joining the list of people particularly keen to see what goes on in the vegetable garden 🙂

  11. Darla
    Darla says:

    What a happy place…I love that the entire family is interested in gardening. You show the desert in a way I would have never known about.

  12. says:


    I am so glad you are enjoying visiting the Refuge along with me. Goodness, knows that focusing on my garden alone would get boring, so I am glad that I have my family's gardens to share.

    Rose, I hope you have a great visit when you come out to AZ.

    Andrea, thank you so much for adding me to your sidebar :^)

  13. Carol
    Carol says:

    Lovely post Noelle… I enjoy visiting your sister's garden… what a view from her gardens! Gorgeous! I love her son's tee shirt!

Comments are closed.