Now that we are in the middle of fall in the Mojave Desert you might start thinking about planting and landscaping your yard.  Fall and winter can be the best time to plant and whether you are new to the Mojave or if you are a desert rat, you might need a few ideas.

Earlier this year the Joshua Basin Water District opened a demonstration garden for public viewing with five different garden examples.  The demonstration garden is a great way to do research into the plants and trees that thrive in the Mojave Desert and that are water friendly.  The five different garden displays include:  Mediterranean Garden, Desert Ranch Garden, Rock Garden Sloped Yard, Thornless Garden and Native & Wildlife Garden.

When you walk into the garden one of the first things you notice is the beautiful park atmosphere.  It is a great place to spend the afternoon.  Each plant is labeled for easy identification with the name painted on a rock in front of the plant.  It would be a good idea to take pen and paper as well as a camera for easy identification after you leave.

I was lucky enough to run into one of the mural artists that happened to be there that day just by chance.  Shirley James is a local artist that painted each mural inside the garden on each of the walls that separate the different garden areas.  She told me that on the day that she painted each mural she painted the sky on each one to be similar to the real sky on the day that she painted it.  It was a very good idea and knowing this fact really added to my appreciation of this garden.

Just because we live in a desert does not mean that you can’t landscape in a beautiful yet economical way.  If you are interested in viewing their garden in person you should give these friendly folks a call beforehand at 760-366-8438.  The garden is locked when not in use and you must schedule a time to view it.  The address is 61750 Chollita Road, Joshua Tree, CA, 92252.  This educational trip is well worth the time.

This is a link to the Joshua Basin Water District’s website:

Thisa is a link to their planting guide for their area of the Mojave Desert:

Sunset Magazine recently did a spread on their demonstration garden, you can find it at this link:

Take It Easy – Mojave


  1. Great article. Thanks for writing about the demonstration garden. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m up that way!


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