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Homepage / Special Features  / Editor's Journal  / Editor’s Letter – April 2020

Editor’s Letter – April 2020

By John Roark

Important note: Below is the April 2020 Editor’s Letter as it appeared in print, however, after press time due to growing concerns for the public safety we have made the decision to postpone the Garden Tour. It will now be held on November 7th. More details will be available soon.

We have reached that sweet spot in the year when sweater weather is behind us and triple-digit temperatures are still far enough away that we’re not yet feeling anxious. Our open doors and windows welcome citrus-scented breezes. Colorful spring flowers accent our landscapes. Fresh air rules.

During these months, our staff logs a lot of miles scouting properties for upcoming editorial features and to showcase on our annual Garden Tour. We always enjoy these outings with some of the Valley’s top landscape professionals because it gives us the opportunity to see what they have been working on and to chat about what’s happening locally, what they’re noticing and what their clients are asking for.

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to spend a day with Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning landscape architect Russ Greey, whose work has graced our pages many times. He and I visited a handful of beautiful properties over the course of several hours. What we saw spanned the gamut from vast and stately, to rocky and mountainous, to charming and quaint. Each was a feast for the eyes and provided food for thought.

Also interesting was what Greey described as a transition he’s noticed in the gardens he’s recently been commissioned to create. For example, the Arcadia neighborhood, known for its farm-style homes, green lawns and profusions of white roses, is seeing a move toward a more traditional desert aesthetic. Cacti and succulents are finding their way into this area’s typically lush landscapes—not in a xeriscape extreme but instead as complementary components to softer plantings. Not only does such a trend make sense from a water-conservation standpoint, it also honors the flora that was here long before we were. As a result, Greey says, he is looking at these desert plants from a different perspective as he reconsiders their place and applicability.

In celebration of spring’s pleasant temperatures and our matchless outdoors, we encourage you to enjoy this issue in the fresh air, whether that means on a front porch, backyard or balcony or beside an open window with curtains fluttering in the breeze. We also invite you to attend our annual Garden Tour on Saturday, April 4, which promises to inspire with landscapes of many sizes and aesthetics. For more information, visit

John Roark
Editor in Chief


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