Did you all have a good weekend?  It was way too fast for me 😉

Last Friday, I had to head a couple hours north of town to do a consult in Sedona, AZ.  Now, north of where I live is always cooler, which is a good thing during the summer.  

On my way there, I started to look for the tiny hillside town of Jerome, which is visible from the highway.  Known as the “largest ghost town”, Jerome is one of my favorite places to visit.

My family and I did visit there last month and I was pleasantly surprised to find beautiful, perennial gardens, window boxes, a garden made up of glass and junk and so much more….

I would like to share my visit with you if I may….

As you can see, Jerome sits on the side of a mountain.
Although many of the historic buildings have been restored and play host to artists, stores and visiting tourists – there are those buildings that have definitely seen better days.
When I saw this building where grass and trees were now growing inside one old rooms, I could just imagine what was housed inside during the 1800’s.
 The town sits on a steep 30% slope.  So, over the years, some of the older buildings have started to slide down the mountainside, including the old town jail.
In fact, when our two oldest daughters were very young, we would visit Jerome and they would have fun crawling around the ruins of the old jail.  Now the jail is completely ruined and our youngest kids can’t get near it.

Now, although I love the town itself and the shopping, I must confess that I was determined to take pictures on this visit.  My goal was to find some gardens and I must say that I was very happy with what I was able to capture with my camera.

I can’t wait to share them with you….

I first came upon a garden that was full of flowering perennials, including this hollyhock (which is technically a biennial, but I’m not going to be technical today).
The garden was also host to roses in addition to the hollyhocks.

There were quite a few bees at work collecting pollen.  Interestingly, I didn’t see any honey bees, just bumble bees.

Okay, I realize that I am focusing a lot on hollyhocks, but they are just so pretty, aren’t they?

Once I was able to tear myself away from the hollyhocks, I did notice some of the other pretty perennials…
Isn’t this Heart-Leafed Golden Alexander wildflower pretty?
I really don’t like extra long common names like this one 😉
It grows in zones 3a – 8b, which means that it won’t grow in my low desert garden, but it is very pretty.  It can be grown from seed and does best in sunny locations.
 I just loved tiered gardens, don’t you?

There were so many beautiful plants to see, but this Red Valerian caught my eye.
Now I have grown Red Valerian (Centhranthus ruber), which is also known as ‘Jupiter’s Beard’.   

I grew this in my first desert garden when we lived in a small house in Phoenix.

It grows in zones 5-10 and can be started from seed.
Eager to see what else there was to discover, I left this beautiful garden and pressed on…

I saw this Trumpet Vine growing on the side of this stone wall.  I have always liked Trumpet Vine, but haven’t grown it myself because it is deciduous in winter (loses its leaves) and I prefer using an evergreen vine such Purple Lilac Vine.

As I was walking, my husband and kids decided to take a break and play at the little park in the center of town.  Now, I only had about 20 minutes until we were to meet, so I hurried to see what else I could discover.
First, I stopped to enjoy the breathtaking view across the valley.  I could see the red mountains of Sedona in the distance…

Then I started walking towards one of the most interesting gardens that I have ever seen.

You know, I’m not sure that you could even call it a garden…

There are plants, but they are arranged around a bunch of ‘artistic junk’. 

I’m not sure why I am drawn to this unique garden, but I find it irresistible.

There are lots of old glass bottles, a steer skull hanging inside of a broken door, and so much more odd things that are hard to describe.
On my way back to meet up with my husband and kids, I spotted some pretty planters along the sidewalk.
I like how this restaurant filler their planter with quite a few herbs.  I think the flowering Verbena looks great alongside the herbs too, don’t you?

I spotted a beautiful Swallowtail butterfly and waited until it landed upon a Dianthus so I could take its picture…

Okay, so my time was up and I was going to be late to meet up with my husband and kids.  So I walked (I really don’t run all that well), back as fast as I could.  I was happy that my husband wasn’t upset at my lateness.  It’s probably because he knows me so well that he adds 10 minutes to the time that I say I will be back 😉

On our way to the car, I noticed a doorway in the side of a wall / staircase.

Now I’m not sure what this doorway was exactly.  But my kids knew what to do with it….

Go inside and explore!

That is until they realized how dark it was inside…..


Thank you so much for coming along with me on our day trip to Jerome.  I have been wanting to share my visit with you for some time.

If you get a chance, check out this link to find out more about this fun ghost town.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited our local Farmer’s Market with my mother and my two youngest kids.  Along with the fresh produce, bakery items, ice cream cones, kettle corn, petting zoo and other tempting treats – I happened across a vendor who was selling a small selection of nursery plants.

 To be honest, what attracted me to her area wasn’t the plants, but it was a vase of hollyhocks that she had displayed.

Now, I love hollyhocks.  There is just something so beautiful about these old-fashioned flowers.

Okay, back to the bouquet of hollyhocks that I saw at the farmer’s market – they were white with light pink centers.

As I was admiring the simple, but very pretty bouquet, I noticed that there was a small stack of envelopes filled with hollyhock seeds.

For only $1, it was my favorite purchase of the day.

I can’t wait to plant them.  
I have the perfect place that receives afternoon sun and receives carryover moisture from my vegetable garden.

How about you?  Where do you plant your hollyhocks?

Imagine a family farm where crops had been grown for years in their fields.  Then a developer comes in and buys the property in order to build houses on it.  Many of us have seen this happen often where we live.  A farmer sells his fields and new homes or a parking lot with stores rapidly pop up afterward.  Well, this is not exactly what happened in this case.  The family who owned this farmland decided to tweak things a bit.

Now, there was a subdivision that was built on their land, aptly named “Agritopia”.  But 12 acres of land was reserved for the creation of an urban farm.  There is a grove of olive trees and an orchard with citrus, apples, peaches, plums, apricots and blackberries.  Another area of the farm is a large field where vegetables, herbs and flowers are grown.  

In addition, the family’s original home was converted into a restaurant with beautiful surrounding gardens that are open for all to enjoy.

My first stop was to go and see the community organic farm, which grows food for the restaurant and the residents of the surrounding homes can grow their own plot of vegetables, flowers and herbs here as well.

Being the flower lover that I am, my attention was first captured by the beautiful flowers that were blooming among the vegetables.  The flowers attract bees to help pollinate the crops. 

As a new vegetable gardener myself, I was excited to see what they had growing and so I tore myself away from the flowers and stated to explore the beautiful vegetables that were growing.

Aren’t the artichoke heads beautiful?

Many of their vegetables and fruit are available for sale at The Farm Stand.  

As I finished my walk through the vegetable gardens, I decided to look closely at a crop that does grow in Arizona, that may surprise some of you.  It certainly surprised me when I first moved here 24 years ago.

Can you tell what this is?

Did you guess yet?  They are grapevines.  I love how the grapevines line both sides of the pathway.
At this point, I could smell some delicious food in the air and so I turned my attention across the street where the restaurant is located.

As you can see, it is actually an old home that has been converted into a restaurant.

Diners are invited to eat at any of the picnic tables under the shade of the trees.

In front of the main entry to the restaurant, were two absolutely huge Tamarisk trees.

The trees are so tall as you can see and easily dwarf the diners and the restaurant.
I then took a short walk through the gardens, and came up upon the coffee shop.

I particularly like to visit this coffee shop because the eating area is surrounded by roses – my absolutely favorite flower.

The fragrance of the roses was intoxicating.  

If you look carefully, you may find one of the hidden ‘rooms’ in the garden where you can sit and enjoy your coffee.

The smell of delicious food was in the air and I was hungry, but had no time to stop for lunch.  I will never make that mistake again….note to self, when visiting a restaurant’s gardens, make sure to have time to stop for lunch.

On my way out, I saw the beautiful flowers of the Passion Vine and the colorful snapdragons in the distance.

Okay, seriously, I am not getting paid to promote Joe’s Farm and Grill 🙂 But, it is a great place to visit to sit and relax, enjoy good food, kids are free to run around, the gardens are beautiful and the farm is an educational experience as well.
It is one of my favorite places to visit.
**There are still 5 days left to participate in April’s MGB (Monthly Garden Bouquet).  I’d love to see your garden bouquets.