The lady in the picture with me is my editor (my older daughter, Tiffany). She and I had a wonderful time at the Fall Festival at Metro Tech High School Saturday.
This event is sponsored cooperatively by the school and the Maricopa County Master Gardeners. Tiffany and I have been attending together for a number of years because this is a great place to buy unusual plants. This year, for example, I purchased a Yellow Tropical Milkweed as an addition to my monarch garden.
This year, we staffed a booth and talked to people about the importance of saving heirloom seeds. The goal of my new book, Baskets for Butterflies, is to educate readers about these rare treasures, which are acclimated to the local low-desert conditions of heat and alkalinity. Since my book uses Tohono O’odham I’itoi multiplying onions as an example to convey the heirloom story, Tiffany and I decided to conduct a drawing to give away several pots of these living antiques.
We also gave away small packets of Tohono Tepary bean seeds. Native Americans across the country planted the ‘Three Sisters,’ including corn, squash, and beans. The common table bean, however, had difficulty growing under the tough Arizona conditions. So local tribes substituted a tepary bean that was more acclimated to our desert environment.
Everyone was excited about growing plants! Yet, this doesn’t come without challenges. I told folks, “I wrote a funny book about trying to garden in the hot desert sun.” Everyone nodded, agreeing that this was difficult in Arizona. Few of them, however, thought it was very ‘funny!’ …I guess they don’t have a gnome.