A Place All Our Own: Lives Entwined in a Desert Garden (Paperback)
For twenty years Mary Irish, along with her husband Gary, tended a garden in Scottsdale, Arizona. Over the years they transformed it into a lively and lovely spot that reflected both its place in the world—hot, dry, and often hostile to gardeners who don’t understand its ways—and the particular passions of its two creators. Of course, not everything went as planned, and the garden talked back as much as it obeyed. But for these two gardeners, the unexpected outcome is one of gardening’s great pleasures.
Mary Irish is a delightful writer. With grace, wit, and obvious affection, she tells the story of how she and Gary transformed a barren half-acre plot around their house in the center of Greater Phoenix into a haven: for its creators and their friends, for the birds and insects and other critters that have discovered it, and for the plants that have made it their home. Although it describes the experience of gardening in one of the most extreme climates in the inhabited world, A Place All Our Own will interest anyone who gardens—and everyone who enjoys a well-told, true-life nature tale.
Mary Irish is a garden writer, lecturer, and educator who lived in Arizona for 25 years. She is the author of many books, including Gardening in the Desert (also published by the University of Arizona Press). For more than a decade, she served as the Director of Public Horticulture at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. She has been a gardening columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper and has served as a consultant on many large-scale landscaping projects. She now teaches classes and conducts workshops on a wide variety of topics in desert gardening.
“The writing is exquisite, and I found the descriptions of the weather and plants spot-on, insightful, and occasionally surprising and graceful.”—Scott Calhoun, author of The Gardener’s Guide to Cactus: The 100 Best Paddles, Barrels, Columns, and Globes
“Mary Irish is a desert gardener par excellence. Anyone who prefers native plants to manicured lawns should read her account of how she and her husband turned their home ground into a showcase for a diversity of arid-lands plants, which are vastly more interesting than the typical suburban Bermuda grass.”—John Alcock, author of When the Rains Come: A Naturalist’s Year in the Sonoran Desert