Tucson, Arizona
Gardens & Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest
A Pacific Horticulture Society tour
March 6-11, 2013
Escorted by Lorene Edwards Forkner
Editor of Pacific Horticulture magazine
Local Hosts Dick & Sue Hildreth.  Tour Manager Scott Borden
Online reservations now closed for this tour.  Possible
last minute space available,
Contact Us

Join us as we explore the beautiful Tucson area.  Our visit is
timed for peak spring wildflower bloom.  In addition to exclusive
private garden visits, guests will experience inside looks at the
famous Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Tohono Chul Park.
Also included are nursery visits, meals highlighting the delicious
cuisine of the Southwest and attendance at a meeting of the
Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society.  Book your place today!
Wednesday March 6
Make your way to Tucson and check into the Windmill Suites, offering spacious two room suites, fully equipped with
either one king bed or two double beds in the bedroom, a sleeper sofa in the living room, two televisions, a desk
work area, a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board. The hotel is located at St.
Philips Plaza, a Tucson landmark well known for its fountains, tile art, rose gardens, and towering trees. The Plaza
offers boutique shopping, galleries, restaurants and more.    Our tour begins this evening with a 6pm wine and
cheese reception followed by dinner and a presentation on “Gardening in Tucson”  from Tucson resident Dick
Hildreth, co-founder of Pacific Horticulture Society and Founding Director of Red Butte Garden & Arboretum.   
Reception, Dinner

Thursday, March 7   
After breakfast at the hotel, depart by motorcoach for the B&B Cactus Nursery and Demonstration Garden.  Our next
stop is the spectacular garden and collections of Donna and Robert Ellis. An impressive 35 year old Boojum tree
greets visitors, along with many other special in-ground specimens.  Robert's fantastic greenhouse containing 3
large raised beds of cacti of all shapes, sizes and colors (many sure to be in bloom), is pure enjoyment.  We’ll also
find an aviary containing several bird varieties, a tortoise enclosure and a pond with 15 kinds of turtles.  To top it all
off, Donna has a separate area housing her large succulent collection and artfully designed planter
arrangements.    We’ll take a break for a boxed lunch at
Agua Caliente Park, a true oasis in the city.  Next we visit the
garden of Chris & Bridget Monrad, where we’ll explore wandering paths to find over 15 different species of ferocacti,
multiple species of yucca  (including several large tree-form specimens), agave, cold hardy palms (including
specimens native to Mexico, Pakistan, Madagascar, and Southeastern US), every species in the genus Fouquieria,
nolina/beaucarnia (8 species), and Sonoran/Chihuahuan trees.  Our last garden of the day belongs to Geno &
Cindy Mapelli.  Here, colors and textures of the Sonoran desert provide a design focus for this landscape accented
with a healthy collection of rescued native plants. You won’t want to miss the spectacular prized mammillaria and
other potted treasures on the patio.   Return to the hotel in time to freshen up and have dinner on your own.  This
evening we are invited guests for the monthly meeting of the 1000-member Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society,
walking distance from our hotel.
 Breakfast, Lunch

Friday March 8    
After breakfast at the hotel, depart by motorcoach for a very
special visit to the
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  We’ll enjoy
docent-led tours of the Sonoran wildflower section and the
cactus garden.  We’ll also enjoy the Raptor Free Flight experience
and a Live and On the Loose talk.  In between we’ll enjoy lunch
al fresco and have an opportunity to visit the art gallery exhibit
“The Art of Sheridan Oman.”  Our last stop of the day is
Starr Nursery.  Owner Greg Starr, author of “Cool Plants for Hot
Gardens,” will give us an informal tour then we’ll have time to
browse this delightful nursery known for their cactus & succulents
and especially agaves.   Return to the hotel in time for dinner on
your own
Breakfast, Lunch

Saturday, March 9  
After breakfast at the hotel, depart by motorcoach for the garden of Thomas & Maria Voris-Staudt. Winner of a 2009
Xeriscape Award, Thomas and Maria have created an inviting, shady landscape focusing on low water use plants.
Passive water harvesting using well placed berms and swales creates interesting topography and active water
harvesting using collection tanks captures roof water for irrigation. Through a rich plant palette they have created a
lush desert setting.  Our next stop is the garden of Jane Evans &
Gene Joseph and the adjacent Plants for the Southwest Nursery.
Over the past 20+ years, Jane and Gene have created nearly 3
acres of densely vegetated wonder right in the middle of the city.
1.1 acres serve as a propagating nursery for their nearby cactus
and succulent business, “Plants for the Southwest”. Take time to
wander the paths through this treasure of special plants and
collections, then stroll down the block to tour the garden owners’
nursery.   For lunch today, we have a special treat---a stop at
El Guero Canelo, a Tucson legend.   Known for their Sonoran
style hot dogs, they also feature a complete menu of Southwest
and Mexican specialties.   After lunch in downtown Tucson, we'll
visit the garden of Barry McCormick and Caryl Jones which
features delightful patio landscaping, orchid and succulent greenhouses, and garden pathways that weave through
undeveloped areas.  Plants of note include Gymnocalycium saglionis, Agave geminiflora, Echinocereus nicholii,
Echinocereus brandegeei, Ferocactus cylindraceus, Stenocereus thurberi, Cleistocactus, Trichocereus.    Our last
stop of the day is the garden of our Tucson hosts, Dick & Sue Hildreth.   This garden is an eclectic mix of cactus,
succulents, flowering native shrubs, and native trees. There are many trichocereus which hopefully might be in
bloom.  With the varied habitat the garden is home to butterflies and birds.  Hummingbirds can be found year round
since there is always something in bloom. Dick and Sue have used rescue plants to good advantage. Everything is
hand watered, more the first year, less the second, and little the third year. Sue says, “We have a Darwinian
garden.  Either a new plant makes it or it doesn't.  I help by planting the same species in different microclimates in
our garden. Ultimately a plant may be happy in one of the yard’s microclimates or it may be food for the desert
dwellers” .We'll have time to stroll the garden, enjoy the view, and perhaps sip a glass of wine.   Return to the hotel
later afternoon, dinner on your own.     
Breakfast, Lunch

Sunday, March 10  
After breakfast at the hotel, depart by motorcoach for Tohono Chul Park.
Recognized as one of the great botanical gardens of the world, Tohono
Chul Park has been connecting Nature, Art & Culture for 25 years.  We’ll
enjoy private docent-led tours of the wildflowers and specialty gardens,
followed by brunch in the Garden Bistro.   We’ll have time to visit the art
gallery and gift shop before we depart for the garden of Dick Weidhopf.
Meandering specimen-studded paths take you through an amazing
collection of cacti and succulents and numerous small specialty
greenhouses add to the charm of this backyard.  Our last visit of the day
Arid Lands Greenhouses, which sells succulents and cacti to novice
and serious collectors. Owners Bob Webb and Toni Yocum have grown succulent plants for more than 20 years
and have traveled extensively in Africa and Arabia, looking for and photographing succulent plants. They offer
species of Adenia, Adenium, Euphorbia, Monadenium, Pachypodium, Haworthia, Aloe, Gasteria, Dorstenia,
Pelargonium, Fouquieria, Avonia, Uncarina, geophytes, Anacampseros, Avonia, Adansonia, Commiphora, Agave,
Sansevieria, cucurbits, asclepiads, pachycaul trees, pachyforms, terrestrial bromeliads and orchids, mesembs,
and bulbs.   We’ll return to the hotel in time to freshen up before our farewell dinner with wine at a the nearby
Union Public House, where we'll enjoy dinner in a private room.   Our featured speaker this evening is
Scott Calhoun, owner of Zona Gardens, and author of The Gardener's Guide to Cactus.  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Monday, March 11
Our tour ends after breakfast at the hotel this morning.   You may want to consider staying on to tour more of the
sights in the Desert Southwest.   Perhaps
Sabino Canyon natural area, Tucson Botanical Gardens, Saguaro
National Park,
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, or Chiricahua National Monument -- the possibilities are

Tour price $1295 per person based on double occupancy, $355 single supplement.
  • 5 nights suite accommodations
  • Welcome reception, 2 dinners, 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches
  • Transportation by private motorcoach
  • Services of Pacific Horticulture tour escort and Sterling Tours manager
  • All entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Gifts to garden owners
  • $150 donation to Pacific Horticulture Society
  • Driver gratuities
  • Taxes and service charges
  • Limited to 24 guests

To print a copy of the itinerary, click here
To view Terms and Conditions for this tour, click here

For more information, please contact:
Sterling Tours, Ltd            
2907 Shelter Island Drive Suite #105-262    
San Diego, CA 92106      Tel: 619 299-3010