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Southwest Regional Reports

Inside Dan Johnson’s High and Low Desert Gardens | Southwest Regional Report

Dan's Tucson garden. Photo: courtesy of Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson is a bit of a horticulture god in our world. Dan splits his time between Denver, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona. In Denver, he works as the curator of native plant collections and the associate director of horticulture for the Denver Botanic Gardens. He also has a home in Tucson, where he spends some of the year. Dan has created two amazing gardens at both his high and low desert homes, utilizing mostly native plants while still pushing the envelope on others.

Dan’s Denver garden. Photo: courtesy of Dan Johnson

We asked Dan about some of the biggest design challenges he faced between his Denver and Tucson gardens. Dan explained that both gardens were “essentially flat, blank slates except for a mature tree here and there.” This allowed Dan to determine where he might want to change elevations and place larger specimens instead of smaller, more intimate plantings.

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