Q: What is it about plants that intrigues you?
A: My mom has a big green thumb. She's from Costa Rica, the mountain region in a tropical cloud forest. She is very in tune to the universe with plants and definitely has a gift when it comes to plants; I think I inherited my love for plants from her. Although I was raised here in the desert, she would always try to have a piece of the tropical oasis in our front and back yard. People always commented about her garden and I try to apply what she taught me to my own gardening; but these are different times and I am much more conscious of low-water use plants. This topic is very important to me, I believe people should be very wary of water usage and understand that you can create a lush garden with low-water use plants.
Q: Do you draw inspiration from plants? If so, how?
A: Absolutely; a friend of mine who is very knowledgeable, especially about Sonoran Desert plants, once expressed in conversation: "It's a wonder why not every single person is a gardener or has a love for plants on a certain level. We have this endless, seamless connection to plants, they feed us and provide us oxygen. In return, we don’t regard or respect them the way we should. In a lot of ways we are disconnected." I believe that plants are a beautiful way to be in-tune with the world around us.
Q: Have you ever turned your car around to take a closer look at a plant or take a picture?
A: I do this every day, or at least every other day, to take a picture or to admire. An exceptionally memorable time I did this was when I drove past a Ceiba speciosa, the silk floss tree, in bloom in the Mesa desert. It's one of my favorite plants not native to the Sonoran Desert.
Q: What is your dream plant to have?
A: Can I choose three? 1. A giant Arborescent African euphorbia because they can’t take full-sun in Arizona, 2. A Silk-floss tree - I’ve had one and it struggled to adapt to our climate, and 3. A giant Pachycereus weberi - I have one planted, and although they can do well here, they are really frost sensitive during the winter.
Q: Is there anything else you wanted to share?
A: My grandmother just spent six days in a hospital with no windows - no trees or birds to look at, just the sterile hospital equipment. Since, she has been transferred to a hospice center with windows, and right outside of her room is a Palo Verde with birds coming and going. This tree brings her so much peace and happiness in her last few days, and I think plants play a large role in health and wellness.
We wanted to send a huge thank you to Marco for sharing his stories with us.
To learn more about Marco, be sure to check out his Instagram by clicking here.