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Sweet potato vine trail underneath a planting of lantana and ‘Victoria Blue’ salvia.

I’ve spent a busy week on the road traveling back and forth throughout the central and northern parts of Arizona. 

While my road trips were for pleasure, there were some work elements involved, viewing the newest trends of high desert landscaping, and taking photos of pretty plants.

Planters filled with green and black sweet potato vines trail over the railing at Tlaquepaque with Mark Twan (Samuel Clemens) sitting underneath.

During the first part of the week, I spent a few days in Sedona. This colorful, high desert town holds a special place in my heart. It is where my husband and I spent our honeymoon, and we make a point of coming back up to visit every few years.

A must stop destination for us are the shops are Tlaquepaque, which is modeled after an old Mexican village. Fountains and courtyards are scattered throughout the stores, inviting visitors to sit and enjoy the dappled shade while listening to the gentle sounds of water features.

To be honest, I do enjoy perusing the galleries and shops, but the main draw for me is the beautiful container plantings. Sweet potato vine, lantana, ‘Katie’ ruellia, and salvia are artfully arranged within the containers.

A ‘Painted Lady’ butterfly drinking nectar from a lantana.

Butterflies and hummingbirds are also frequent visitors to Tlaquepaque.


Area hotels also feature lovely examples of plants that thrive in the dry heat like the trumpet vine and yucca, above.

While in Sedona, we made side trips to Flagstaff and Cottonwood before it was time to travel back home.

After one night home, it was back into the car and off on another journey. This time, we brought our kids with us for a destination wedding in Skull Valley, which is a half hour outside of Prescott.

The wedding was held in the middle of the wilderness, reached by traveling over 20 minutes on a curving, unpaved road. Wildlife was plentiful as we spotted a coyote, deer, and a roadrunner, while also smelling a skunk along the way.

It was dusk when the wedding began, and the setting couldn’t have been more beautiful. A cool breeze welcomed guests to the venue that backed up onto the Prescott National Forest. 

The ceremony was beautiful, and the groom got all choked up in the midst of his vows. Guests spent a great time celebrating at the reception, held in an old barn, and we got back to the hotel late.

We took a back way back home, which involved driving some curvy mountain roads, but we traveled through little towns that we had never heard of such as Wilhoit and Peeble Valley. 

I love the fact that even after living here for over 30 years, I still enjoy the beauty of our state and yet encounter new places.

**Do you have a favorite place to visit in Arizona?

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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…..

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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.