With a media event on Aug.19, Saguaro National Park began spraying glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, on buffelgrass in the Panther Peak area. During the event, several local residents came to express their continued concerns over aerial spraying. Carol Owens of Picture Rocks Neighbors Helping Neighbors wanted to know why people with respiratory problems in the area were not notified so they could “get out of the way?” Chris Banks from Citizens for Picture Rocks noted the rising wind velocity and asked if aerial spraying was safe with the wind? The Avra Valley Coalition brought information about medical studies showing links between Roundup and birth defects, neurological disorders, DNA damage and human cell death.Park Biologist Natasha Kline was joined by Lindy Brigham, Executive Director of the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center and Ranger Kristine Simpson, defended the Park’s action. When asked about the effect of spraying herbicides on unseen wildlife in the remote areas that includes desert tortoises, Gila monsters, tiger rattlers and ground-nesting owls, she said there might be “collateral damage.”
Owners of Lazy K Bar Guest Ranch, located north of Saguaro National Park West, were approached by Mattamy Homes who now awaits approval to develop on the historic ranch.Lazy K Bar was homesteaded in 1928 on the original 160 acres of land. Eight years later, the property was turned into a guest ranch. An additional three guesthouses were built along with a dining room and an area to keep horses. The coming years, especially during the 50s and 60s, brought many guests and filmmakers to the ranch. Popular movies such as the “Maverick”, “How the West was Won” and TV series “Gunsmoke” and “High Chaparral” were but a few that were filmed on the ranch. Current property owners, Jim Shiner and Peter Evans, bought the ranch in 1998. For the coming years, the two tried to keep the guest ranch running, but had to close it down in 2006. Since then, the ranch hasn’t reopened its doors.Shiner and Evans have received frequent offers to develop on the 138-acres of land. The property is zoned RR (Resort and Recreation) and if developed as a resort-type could potentially accommodate up to 600 lodging units. The zoning could have a single-family residential development with minimum lot size of 3.3 acres, but would require a conditional use permit from the Marana Planning Commission. The proposal by Mattamy Homes is for the rezoning of RR to (F) Specific Plan. This would permit 178 single-family lots at 1.29 residences per acre. The developer could not be reached for comment.The representative for the property owners, Mike Racy, says that the landowners see the developers plan as a beneficial and reasonable fit.
The nose knows. Scent is one of our most basic senses, yet it is often ignored when planning a landscape. Last month I spoke of layers for the landscape. Along with layers of plants that appeal to our eyes, it is good to include plants that appeal to our sense of smell. I cherish my garden for all the wonderfully scented xeriscape plants in it. I often run my fingers up branches, releasing heady fragrance. I love the smell of the desert after the rain; my garden too has many fragrances released by humidity and pounding monsoon rains. Most scents defy written description. We can try, using perfumers terms such as; sweet, tangy, sharp, fruity, clear, warm, spicy, earthy, fresh, musky, plus refer to other scents. For example, rosemary is described as a “woodsy, fresh, camphoraceous” aroma.There are a wide range of arid-adapted plants that do well here and are highly fragrant. The list includes trees, shrubs, perennials, groundcovers, and even accent plants. I have my favorite plant palate, just as other landscapers have theirs. It is important for you to consider what you like and want in your space. Note that one added benefit of strongly scented plants is that they are usually unpalatable to rabbits, ground squirrels, javalina and deer. One of my personal favorites is the Mount Lemmon marigold (Tagetes lemmonii). This medium size shrub is ideal on the east or north side of a building where it gets no more than a half day of full sun. The bright green leaves emit a sweet musky scent, especially notable in the bloom season, November to April. Mexican anise (Tagetes lucida) is strongly anise scented, and anise tasting too, as it makes a delightful tea. Also called Mexican mint marigold, this plant looks somewhat like a mint, and prefers moisture as mint does. Mine thrives in my water feature, with one inch of the pot in the water. Golden flowers appear in cluster in the fall.