YARDS

At WDG, we value service to our community and our profession. This weekend our designer Nate had the opportunity to teach a group of at-risk youth about Landscape Architecture and the design process at a program called YARDS. YARDS provides vocational training in desert landscape and maintenance for youth at risk involved in the Pima County Juvenile Court System. The students learn a range of skills, including Tools and Safety, Desert Plant ID, Soils, Water and Plants, Water Harvesting, Pruning Techniques, Irrigation Systems and more. 

Nate introduced the group to the profession of Landscape Architecture and the design process. The students got an opportunity to re-design a parking lot and turn it into their ideal backyard. 

Check out some of the student's very creative designs below!

Hard at work

Hard at work

A lot of sports in this backyard. Looks great!

A lot of sports in this backyard. Looks great!

Great spot for a spa.

Great spot for a spa.

Snack shop, DJ booth, and a charging station? I'm in!

Snack shop, DJ booth, and a charging station? I'm in!

Nate teaching about final design graphics.

Nate teaching about final design graphics.

A very nice flower garden.                                     

A very nice flower garden.                                     

Great presenters!

Great presenters!

Could be some future Landscape Architects in this group!

More about the YARDS program here: tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org/yards-youth-landscape-maintenance-training/

Take time to smell the...Stapelias

What’s that rotting flesh smell you ask? It’s the flower of a Stapelia plant of course! August and September are flowering season for Stapelias, and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to catch a Stapelia in bloom, and better yet, get to experience it’s pungent smell.

Don't get too close! Credit: alchetron.com

Don't get too close!

Credit: alchetron.com

Stapelia is the genus of over 50 different species of this succulent plant that has spineless, clump-forming stems. Stems are toothed, have four angles, and branch from the base into a larger mass.  Stapelia flowers are red, purple, or yellow, and can get up to 18” in diameter (Stapelia gigantea has the largest flower). Flowers can be polished or hairy, and there are only two species of Stapelia that are pleasantly scented.

The four-sided geometric stems of the Stapelia plant. Credit: wikipedia.org

The four-sided geometric stems of the Stapelia plant.

Credit: wikipedia.org

Stapelias make great container plants as long as soil remains well-drained. They can handle full sun, but will be happier in an area that receives light shade. The geometric stems of Stapelias bring interesting structure and texture to gardens, and the stinky starfish-like flowers that emerge during bloom season are an added bonus.

Stapelia flowers just before they bloom. Credit: davesgarden.com

Stapelia flowers just before they bloom.

Credit: davesgarden.com

Can YOU guess the Plant of the Month?

UPDATE: The answer is Firecracker Bush, Bouvardia ternifolia. See you back here next month for September’s Plant of the Month!

This month we’re changing things up a bit, and we want YOU to guess the Plant of the Month for August! If you’ve been out in the rocky upland areas around Tucson lately, especially Madera Canyon, you most likely spotted this plant. This attractive species is a great addition to native plant gardens, and will be sure to attract hungry pollinators.

Source: fireflyforest.net

Source: fireflyforest.net

Source: polyploid.net

Source: polyploid.net

Our Plant of the Month blooms between April and October, and the flower is tubular, bright red, and very showy. Flowers grow in clusters, and each blossom splits into tiny lobes. The entire plant generally grows to three feet tall and prefers partial shade. Leaves are lance-shaped and can be up to three inches in length. If you touched a leaf, you’d feel tiny soft hairs.

Source: Greg Lasley Nature Photography

Source: Greg Lasley Nature Photography

We are not the only ones who love this plant; hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths eagerly pollinate this plant when it’s in bloom. Some species that love feasting on its nectar include the Cloudless Sulphur and Southern Dogface butterflies, and the Falcon Sphinx moth.

Do YOU have a guess for our Plant of the Month?

Leave your answer on our Facebook page!