Scottsdale Desert Garden Tour

Our Sonoran desert in North Scottsdale is on the verge of bursting into bloom.  In a few weeks it will be covered in flowers.  Each spring for the past 11 years Master Gardeners across the Valley of the Sun hold a garden tour.  This year’s tour in North Scottsdale was held last Saturday and featured 7 gardens.  Each of these gardens is unique and were lovingly created by a Master Gardner.  Most of them are National Wildlife Federation certified wildlife habitats.


Exterior front: How many Golden Barrels & Agaves do you see?

All of the gardens are lovely; my hands down favorite was Mike Platta’s Desert Serenity garden.  I have walked by this garden in the early morning hours and watched him transform it over the years from a bare uninviting space to the lush garden it is today.  Mike’s house is hidden in this desert oasis.  Entering through the courtyard you will notice the exuberant colors of the courtyard walls which perfectly set off the colors of the native plants contained in them.  As you stroll through his garden you will notice his collection of over 160 Golden Barrel cacti spread over the entire area.  Also apparent will be his affection for agave’s & succulents – they are everywhere and who knew there are so many varieties.

This is a desert garden; there is shade everywhere due to the abundant Palo Verde and Mesquite trees.  Another secret of this garden are the many intimate seating areas; a veritable garden of rooms.  There is a Koi pond & fountain with a circular stone wall for seating.  There is an iron arbor with its own seating on what once was a pond and a fire pit with its own area.  He placed his swimming pool so that when you look across it you look thru recycled iron rebar at what appears to be lush undisturbed desert miles from civilization.  Into all of this he has tucked his green house which produces most of the family’s produce.

Those of us who pass by this garden frequently are looking forward to seeing it erupt into bloom over the coming weeks; it is a truly special place.

You can contact Mike at


Pool: The recycled iron rebar fence behind the pool provides views of seemingly undisturbed desert.



Rear Garden: More reclaimed materials used in this space surrounded by lush indigenous plants.