Plant with Purpose

Build backyard biodiversity with native plants from the Desert Museum’s Annual Plant Sale!

Imagine sipping your morning coffee or tea with a kaleidoscope (the beautiful and fitting name for a group of butterflies) of butterflies fluttering around your backyard garden as early sunlight creates a mesmerizing glow. Birds fill the morning air with their calming call and response. Native bees are attracted to the floral abundance and help support the backyard biodiversity you have cultivated. Reptiles and even some mammals feel safe to visit your backyard oasis. This can be your reality when you plant with purpose and choose native plants for your garden!

Did you appreciate the abundance of butterflies and other pollinators we had this summer? The monsoon created the perfect conditions for a proliferation of nectar and host plants. Recreate these conditions in your backyard with the right plants and regular watering. You will find a great selection of pollinator-friendly plants at the Desert Museum’s annual Plant Sale on October 16 (member’s only) and 17 (public sale.) The best part? You’ll get to chat with our expert Botany team to pick out the perfect plants for your own home and lifestyle. (Curious what you’ll find at our Plant Sale? Click here for more details!)

Besides the botanical beauty, there are endless benefits to choosing native, arid-adapted plants for your garden. Whether you have a small balcony or an expansive yard, you can help rebuild and create pollinator networks and corridors, conserve precious water resources, and contribute to making our urban spaces more welcoming to local wildlife. Restoring native plant habitat is crucial to safeguarding biodiversity. By creating a native plant garden, each Tucson backyard can become part of a shared endeavor to nurture the living habitats for numerous animals by providing nutriment and shelter to local pollinators, which have co-evolved with these plants and depend on them for life. Plus, growing natives gives you the best chance of success in your gardening efforts! If you envision a lush oasis in your own desert backyard, growing natives is the most water and energy efficient way to achieve this vision.

Our plants are ready for you!

In the world of ecology, human borders mean nothing. Tucson sits in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert and due to the proximity of the U.S./Mexico border to our south, many native plants unfortunately go overlooked, often eliminated from the vision of our local flora. In summers such as the one we just enjoyed, we begin to reconnect with our more tropical side and realize how many of our desert plants can put on a show fit for the tropics. The plant selection at our Plant Sale attempts to fill in these gaps and highlight these connections by introducing a wide selection of Sonoran Desert natives that can play all the parts. With the added benefit of being particularly attractive and supportive to native pollinators, your yard is really coming out on top!

You can play a significant role in supporting biodiversity, which in turn supports the overall health of the ecosystem and builds ecological resilience, something we desperately need in the face of climate instability. Plus, it’s just way cooler—making you way cooler! (Want bonus points? We know you do. Try creating a Monarch Waystation or Certified Wildlife Habitat!)

We hope you’re convinced that planting and nourishing native plants in our gardens has never been more important. In these uncertain times, when global climate change and ever-expanding human development presents grand challenges for humanity and the biosphere, and mass extinction events are already well underway, we can all do our part for the planet. Make the world a friendlier place for our plant and animal friends: act now and grow native!

Written by Elena Makansi.

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