Gardens Founded in 2001 - Home in 2002

Echinacea - Photo by Laura Davis

The garden began in 2001 with the help of Norm Erickson, a Northland Hospice volunteer, at the corner of Switzer Canyon Drive and Turquoise. At that time the home had not been completed but a beautiful sign was placed on the corner. Norm continued to work on the beds on the east side of the sidewalk along Switzer Canyon Drive and in front of the home, until 2008. The rest of the gardens were developed by a core of Coconino County Master Gardeners initially led by Laura Davis and since 2007 by Loni Shapiro.

The garden crew is active from April-October and sometimes in November weather permitting. Work happens weekly throughout the garden season on Monday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 am-12:00 pm. It also is scheduled for one Saturday a month from April through October. Cancellations due to weather will be posted by 6:00 am of the workday on this blog. You must attend a spring orientation to the garden and Northland Hospice & Palliative Care in order to work. A summary of the work that has been done is included on the blog. Look for weekly postings on this blog during the garden season.

Volunteering in the Garden

2015 Calendar

April 13, 11:30-1:30 Lunch and orientation for new volunteers at hospice and TB testing for all

April 16, 9:15-10 TB tests read and 10:00 garden orientation. First Thursday workday 9-12

April 20, First Monday workday 9-12

May 2, Saturday workday 9-12

If you are interested in volunteering, please email

Please note: TB testing is required annually for all garden volunteers.

If you have current TB results that were done by a physician or at a hospital, these may be submitted to Northland Hospice.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please contact the volunteer coordinator Kathy Simmons ( to schedule a time for testing and orientation.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Master Gardener Column 1/23/10

Olivia White Garden Gazebo in the Moonlight
Theme Gardens

Organization is something I enjoy. Indeed, family and friends have been driven crazy with my obsessions. I love lists. One of the reasons I became an Occupational Therapist was that I could help people who'd suffered illness or injury reorganize their lives under new circumstances. When confronted with changes in our physical or mental abilities, we often need to find new ways of doing ordinary things like eating or dressing.

So when I began to spend more time gardening in retirement, it was only natural for me to find a way to organize it. In Flagstaff, I began by cataloging all the plants in my yard by their needs. A difficult task because I'd lived in Oregon for 20 years and didn’t recognize most of the plants. I soon began clustering them by their needs for water and sun.

Most gardeners go to the nursery, see a plant they like, buy it, and find a place for it. I found that to be overwhelming with so many wonderful plants, so little space, and even more work. When I began working as a volunteer at the Arboretum in the greenhouse, Jan Busco the horticulturist, had a great project for Suzanne Carney and me for Christmas. She had us put together “theme container bowls” (Italian, Thai, scent, and cat) for the Christmas plant sale. What a concept! All the frustrated gardeners got to garden happily through the winter. Also, it was useful, actually quite attractive and, need I say, organized.

A few years ago, I took some classes in Horticultural Therapy. In one of the classes we spent time creating “theme garden lists” that might be utilized for programming. One of my favorites was a cat garden – cat mint, catnip, pussy toes, cat’s claw, pussy willow, and cattails, only many of them have very different needs regarding water, sun, and soil. However, there are ways of doing theme gardens successfully with a little organization.

First, find an interesting theme. The possibilities are endless – countries, such as English Cottage. Some are hardscape, such as rock, and others by type of plant, such as bonsai. Still others use senses, like color, aroma, taste, and touch. Sometimes a hobby works, such as a model railroader with a Garden Railway with dwarf conifers and rock plants.

The second step would be to decide on the design, size, and location of the garden. It could be very small, even a container. Loyalton once did a pizza garden in a very large pot with peppers and herbs used in pizza.

The third step consumes the most time along with being the most enjoyable, finding plants that fit the theme and need similar light, water, and soil.

The last step is actually planting the garden and adding hardscape features fitting the theme.

At hospice in the fall of 2008, we began creating a moon garden after hearing a lecture at the Coconino Center for the Arts. With many different kinds of moon gardens, our goal was to have a white/silver theme, visible from our new arbor bench at night. In the fall of 2008, we created a small garden bed with white/silver rock, filling it with compost from the garden. In the spring, we transplanted sun loving Shasta daisy, snow in summer, white elfin thyme. Then we added new plants, phlox, carpet rose, heather, linaria, bellflower, evening primrose, and creeping baby’s breath. We used drip lines. Most are perennials with a few showy annuals, like dusty miller, licorice plant, and cleome. Then in the fall we added tulips, daffodils, and crocus. Two solar gazing balls with moons were added for daytime beauty and night light. On a walk during the full moon, the white flowers were visible, but the silver shone.

Moon Garden fall 2010

For anyone thinking about a theme garden and having trouble coming up with an idea, try googling “theme gardens” or the book Theme Gardens by Barbara Damrosch. Public gardens like the Arboretum are also a good source for ideas. Stop by Olivia White Hospice Home during the garden season to check out our Inferno Strips, Tea Garden, Faerie Garden, Rock Garden, Native Garden, and Moon Garden.
(Loni Shapiro is a Master Gardener volunteer. Dana Prom Smith, a Master Gardener volunteer, is coordinating editor for the Master Gardener Column. He can be contacted at For more information about the Master Gardener Program, call Hattie Braun, Coordinator of the Master Gardener Program, at 774-1868 ext.17 or visit our Web Site:

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