Gazing at the Garden

Posted on August 26, 2014 by Borderlands Restoration in Uncategorized

Molly McCormick’s latest piece for the Patagonia Regional Times here.  Scroll down to page 21 for “Gazing at the Garden”.


Gazing at the Garden

A monarch caterpillar feeds on Asclepias subverticilliata, photo taken early Septemeber in Chiricahua Mountains. Borderlands has this species of milkweed available for sale.

A monarch caterpillar feeds on Asclepias subverticilliata, photo taken early Septemeber in Chiricahua Mountains. Borderlands has this species of milkweed available for sale at our nursery. The yellow dots in the photo are aphids which are another species of insect who loves to feed on milkweed.

As I gaze out the open window, sipping my morning tea, I observe the activity in my backyard.  Along with barking dogs, I hear the curved-bill thrashers who have nested in the yucca, a juvenile Grey Hawk, the cooing of the Eurasian Collared Doves, the twinkling chorus of songbirds, a rooster’s crow. There are three species of fledgling hummingbirds at the feeders; bobbing around awkwardly, like Bambi on the ice, as they get adjusted to the first few days of flight. My eye follows a Dusky Flycatcher as it alights on the outstretched branch of a Sycamore in the corner of the yard.

The patch of green under the massive Sycamore brings a smile to my face; it is my own little ecological habitat, a collection of symbols that connect me to place. This small space is nothing fancy, a mish-mash of plants that happened to come my way; nestled into mulch-filled basins. I’m still obtaining my daily lunch salad from the greens I purchased as garden starts at the Community Garden in April. I acquired the Red Runner Bean seeds this spring during a watershed presentation with Patagonia Public School. The Yarrow was transplanted from the mountains; I will harvest it for medicinal tea.  The Milkweeds are for the Monarchs and were purchased at the Borderlands’ Retail Space. The Butternut Squash seeds were saved from last year’s dinner that I purchased at Red Mountain Foods.  The buoyant yellow blossoms of Primrose and red tubular blooms of Hummingbird Mint are a flurry of butterfly & bee activity.

I eagerly await the burst of happiness from the Havasupai Striped sunflowers, whose seeds I acquired from Native Seed/SEARCH. The sunflower is symbolic to me because I grew up in the sunflower state of Kansas, but this variety is extra meaningful because it was cultivated at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, my last home before Patagonia. The Havasupai Striped Sunflower is also a hero of sorts. This variety helped save the sunflower seed industry in the 90s, because it was 1 of 3 varieties resistant to races of fungus that was working to destroy the flowers.P1050424

There are some seedlings popping up in my garden beds. I checked out the seeds for these from the Patagonia Pubic Library’s new seed library. I planted the seeds with the first monsoon rains, a traditional way to garden in this region.  I enjoy participating in this way with those who came before me, and continuing my role in the web of life that is my backyard in the Sonoita Creek Watershed.

Borderlands Restoration is hosting a “Design Your Own Pollinator Garden” workshop, August 3 at 3rd & McKeown, downtown Patagonia. Find out more on the events page at or on Facebook.


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    The mission of Borderlands Restoration is to reconnect wildlife, land, and people in the Arizona/Sonora Borderland region by involving people in restoring the ecosystem on which we depend.

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