This Page Last Updated: June 21, 2005
While the Phoenix Bonsai site has focused primarily
on bonsai in Maricopa County (south-central Arizona, Phoenix metro,
Zone 13: Low or Subtropical Desert), we have also had a little input
(southern Arizona, Tucson,
Zone 12: Arizona Intermediate
Desert). From late March 2002 to late June 2005, your humble editor moved up to
Arizona for family reasons after thirty-one years in the Phoenix area.
Never wanting to abandon bonsai nor this web site, I was in the process
of [re-]learning this gardening art in
Zone 10: High Desert.
Through the modern miracles of e-mail and snail mail, I was able to continue
in my chosen post as web master, just three hours up the road (State Route
93 into Interstate 40 and back again into 93). Occasional visits
to Phoenix area activities were expected. Club members continued
to report on and return photographs of the various events.
(Why do I use Sunset Zones on this page and elsewhere on this web site? The USDA Zone system is based on winter minimum temperatures. "Its focus on cold-tolerance alone, for example, places the Olympic rain forest into a zone with parts of the Sonoran Desert... [The Sunset] method of zoning considers a broad range of factors, including winter minimums, summer highs, elevation, proximity to coast or mountains, rainfall, humidity and aridity, and growing season. It gives gardeners a more accurate picture of what will grow where..." ( Sunset Western Garden Book (2001, Seventh Edition, pg. 28))
The climate around Kingman
(and similar parts of Mohave [moh-HAH-vee] County, elevation: 3500+ ft)
is at least 7 to 15° F cooler than Phoenix. This works out to
a winter season of 75 to 100+ nights below 32° F. Locals say
that it snowed on the previous two Easters (2000 and 2001).
Within the last couple of years the area has been visited by an itinerant bonsai-tree seller or two, I was told. As is unfortunately always the case, most of the trees sold out of the backs of their trucks are now long dead (and the pots discarded). Insufficient instruction. Mismatched climate.
To the north and east about 30
miles from Kingman is a vast Joshua tree (
) forest extending
out to Lake Mead and the western end of the Grand Canyon (where it is
known as the Hualapai Valley Joshua Trees). This is definitely larger
and more varied than the marked Joshua Forest Parkway northwest of
Wickenburg along Highway 93. RJB explored the possibility of some
form of a magical miniature of this landscape.
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For the time being, any
experience specifically based on
Zone 10 will be limited to the confines of this
page. Note: the High Desert is also in the eastern and southern
parts of New Mexico, the southeastern corner of Arizona (Cochise County:
Benson, Tombstone, Douglas, Nogales), dotted across central Arizona, into
southern Utah and Nevada, and into the adjacent California desert.
that local outdoors bonsai
can be successfully made out of the following, although no significant
experience has been had with these yet:
While very few maples and
have been seen in nurseries, their leaves are sure to fry with the
winds here. Blue spruce are said to be highly susceptible to an
incurable air-borne virus here. A virus has also been killing landscape ash
We know of an exotic nursery that is a supplier of reasonably priced small and starter bonsai:
Bamboo Bob's Emporium
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Based on selection of
plants, size of grounds, and knowledge of staff, the two good local nurseries
discovered by RJB so far (but without any bonsai accessories) are:
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