Spring 2014 Fall Plant Sale March 7-23

Winter events showcased our Australian gardens and plants of Southern Africa; eucalyptus and gum trees, colorful aloes that thrive in desert environs. Visitors marvel at mature examples of these plants and trees throughout the gardens - and you can can buy your own this month at our annual Spring Plant Sale fundraiser.
March brings a great selection, its also a prime time to buy annual membership here, our annual members save 20-percent on plant purchases during the fundraising sale of trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, cacti and succulents.

Need planting and landscaping advice? Arboretum staff are joined by engaging volunteers from Pinal County's Superstition Mountain Master Gardeners program there to advise and assist buyers with suggestions for trees and smaller plants ideal for a wide range of landscaping projects. Special events during the March plant sale include lectures, guided tours and weekend wildflower walks; most are included with daily admission of $10. Experienced BTA horticultural staff and Master Gardeners not only grow many of the the plants we sell, but also maintain many of these same plants in the gardens and plant exhibits throughout the grounds. They really know how these plants perform, from nursery pot to maturity in your garden or landscape!


* March 8, Saturday: Master Gardeners Share "The Buzz About Bees" Plus a Bonus Honey-Tasting from 10:00am to 12:30pm in the Smith Building Lecture Room. You read alarming reports about 'colony collapse disorder,' and how this has impacted populations of wild honeybees -- join Maricopa County Master Gardeners Lee Ann Aronson and Mike Hills to learn more about the status of wild bees here in Arizona, why we should be concerned about the loss of honeybee -- and how gardeners can employ 'bee-friendly' strategies to encourage pollination, restore habitats, encourage native bees, and explore concepts and techniquess of 'Integrated Pest Management' for environmentally friendly ways to get rid of pests without harming bees. Which flowers and plants most help bees, and which don't? What's the difference between honeybees, wasps, hornets and native bees -- and what about bumblebees, leafcutters, carpenter bees, stingless and digger bees? The lecture will include safety (what to do if you see a bee swarm), and a presentation on Africanized bees. And to truly "sweeten the deal," for their audience, Master Gardeners Lee Ann Aronson and Mike Hills will bring along a selection of honeys for tasting at the conclusion of the lecture

* March 8: Wood Carving And Wood Art from 10:00am to 2:00pm near the Smith Building
Celebrate the inner beauty of wood March 8 when 'The Carving Curmudgeons' club of Florence will be here demonstrating their creative skills with knife-carving, and their unique creations on display at tables on the Smith Building flagstone courtyard; or indoors if weather's inclement. Cottonwood bark and basswood are the primary woods used within this group. Look for whimsical houses, carvings-in-the-round, caricatures, relief carvings, "cypress knees" and more. For information or to connect with club members email Richard Adams [richadams1952@gmail.com]

*March 8 and 23: Edible - Medicinal Desert Plants Guided Walks at 1:30 p.m.
Explore our guided tour of the Curandero, a one-hour relaxed walk where you'll hear about edible-medicinal uses for Prickly pear cactus fruits and other edible and medicinal Sonoran Desert plants that have fed, healed and clothed Sonoran desert peoples for more than one thousand years. Jean Groen leads the walk March 8, Saturday; ethno-botanist Dave Morris is our special guest touruide March 23. ** Please note: this tour explores the Curandero Trail, which has steep sections that are not suitable for visitors who use wheelchairs or walkers."

*March 8 Lecture at 3:00 pm : Pickett Fire: Three Years of Plant Survival & Ash Mineralogy
Remember the Pickett Fire? Nearly three years ago (May 8, 2011) it erupted in the desert west of BTA – burning perilously close to the Arboretum before firefighters fully contained it two days later. ASU researcher and 20-year BTA annual member Laurence Garvie's an avid hiker who savors the terrain of Arnett Creek and Alamo Canyon – and was among our members watching in horror as fire consumed 1,336 acres of Arizona Upland. Since the fire he's been documenting plant mortality and re-growth, as well as Ash Mineralogy of the fire zone. His research continues, but March 8 he'll present a lecture and slideshow at 3:00 updating fellow BTA members on the fire and its after-effects.
"This region is floristically lush because of the bi-seasonal rainfall, but fire broke out during a severe drought, with only 27 cm of rainfall recorded from May 2010 until the start of the fire," said Garvie. "The burn area occupies canyon lands and steep terrain cut by Arnett Creek and Alamo Canyon. Vegetation of the steep terrain is dominated by cacti (compass barrels, hedgehogs, saguaros) as well as bushes such as jojoba and paloverde trees, with mesquite and hackberry, too. Fire moved rapidly over the steep terrain but lingered in the low areas causing more intense burning of the vegetation. My research since explores effects of the fire on the vegetation, showing survival strategies employed by the cacti, revealing the complex and varied mineralogy of plant ash as a function of species and burn."
Does the name sound familiar? Faithful readers will recall Laurence Garvie from the lecture he gave last month – an enthralling presentation about meteorites. Among charismatic BTA annual members, Laurence curates ASU's meteorite collection – and brought a dozen of the ultra-rare space rocks with him for his audience to see and hold.

* Tree Tour With Jeff Payne March 16 at 1:30pm So, just what is an Arboretum? BTA staffer and Certified Arborist Jeff Payne guides a walk where visitors learn the answer to that often-posed question during a relaxed and leisurely guided tour through forested areas of the Arboretum to learn about oak and olive trees, native hackberry and mesquite.

* Equinox Didgeridoo Jam Friday March 21 from 4-6pm. The haunting, howling drone of the Austrlian aboriginal didgeridoo can be heard all around the world as players across the planet herald the Spring Equinox with a "worldwide didge jam" -- and didge player are celebrating at BTA, too! Join the circle -- or just enjoy the meditative sound. Bring your own folding camp chair, a picnic dinner -- and listen from 4-6pm. Flute and didge musician Bernie Haley leads circle, and invites didgers to contact him for details by phone at 250. 927. 5544, or e-mail him at bahaley@live.com.

* Geology Tour March 22 at 1:30 pm. ASU Professor Steve Semken returns as guide for this once-a-month walk, a chance to see rocks and volcanic formations along our main trail on a guided tour that compresses almost two billion years of geologic history into just over one educational hour! Learn about Pinal schist, the volcanic origins of Picket Post Mountain and the Apache Leap tuff.


WHAT: Annual Plant Sale

WHERE: Boyce Thompson Arboretumis a 320-acre Arizona State Park located at highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior; just 45 miles due east of Mesa or about 90 minutes drive northeast of Tucson via Oracle Road to highway 79 north to highway 60 east

WHEN: The sale continues daily during business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through Sunday, March 23

HOW MUCH: $10 adult admission ($5 ages 5-12) to enter the grounds, even if the visit is simply to buy plants during the plant sale event

FMI: listen to an updated recording about tours or events by calling 520.689.2811; to check with our staff about whether specific plants are available please call 520-689-2723 during business hours daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.