About Scott Calhoun

Author Archive | Scott Calhoun

The Ballad of Dry Betty

Calhoun_20100124_23985 Dry Betty is a tough gal, a little yellowed from years spent in the sun, but stoic about her position in life—which is affixed to a tree stake waiting for rain. Dry Betty is the name I have given my rain gauge because where I live, dry is her most frequent condition. Although she is usually moisture free, she endures brown strata of rotted mesquite leaves in her apex that I have been unable to dislodge even with a pipe cleaner.

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Plant Music 2000-2009

The writer Jim Harrison says that anyone born after about 1960 can’t do anything without listening to music. He is probably right, because I know I can’t, but then again, listening to music is generally healthy. Dr. Phil Maffetone, a doctor/musician who counted Johnny Cash as a patient, says that listening to music can control stress, reduce pain, and improve brain function. For gardeners, I would add that it can keep you company. After all, ours is usually a solitary pursuit.

For me, one of the pleasures of garden design is that I can plug in and let Radiohead or Bach fill my head with sonic waves while I draw. This is something I can’t do when I’m writing—when any musical waves I generate need to come from within. But designing gardens, and working in gardens, are perfect activities for listening to music. A day spent outdoors with an iPod in a back pocket and Felco pruners in my right hand is my idea of a great staycation. Continue Reading →

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Going in Circles

Dear Gardening-Gone-Wilders, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Scott Calhoun and I’m a writer and garden designer living in Tucson, Arizona. I love exploring backroads and backcountry in search of plants, gardens, architecture, and food. I’m the author of five books which are mostly about plants: Yard Full of Sun; Chasing Wildflowers; Designer Plant Combinations; The Hot Garden; and Hot Pots. I also write for magazines including American Gardener, Horticulture, Sunset, and Wildflower. Currently, I’m working on a book about the mighty American agave plant.

Here are the vital statistics about my gardening region: USDA 9b; Sonoran desert; 3012 feet above sea level; 12 inches of annual precipitation; record high 117; record low 16; alkaline soil; preferred regional tool: Mikita electric jackhammer (for planting 1 gallon plants).

And now…Going in Circles: Continue Reading →

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