We had the good fortune of connecting with Noelle Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noelle, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My goal was to help desert-dwellers learn how to garden the right way in our hot, dry climate. Gardening in the desert isn’t hard, BUT it is very different from other regions. As a result, people can quickly become overwhelmed and frustrated.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I moved to the Phoenix area, over 30 years ago, I was excited to begin adding plants and building a beautiful, outdoor space in our 1950’s ranch-style home. However, a year later, I had a backyard filled with dead plants and I even managed to kill many of the existing plants. I felt like a failure and was so frustrated.
But, I was determined to learn how to garden the right way in the desert. So, I went back to college and got my degree in Horticulture at Arizona State University.
You see, I wanted to be an expert resource for people to create, grow, and maintain a beautiful landscape that thrives in the desert.
Over my 20+ year career, I’ve worked for golf courses, as a landscape designer, and garden writer. I’ve taught at both the Desert Botanical and Tucson Botanical Gardens and enjoying speaking engagements.
For the past 12 years, I have worked as a landscape consultant where I help people create the landscape of their dreams. My latest venture is my online Desert Gardening 101 class where I have helped hundreds of people by de-mystifying how to garden in the desert.
It’s truly rewarding to see the transformation on people’s face once they have the knowledge they need and it’s easier than they imagined.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First, a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden is a must. A two-hour stroll through beautiful landscapes that have many people in awe of what can be grown in the desert. Then a delicious lunch at the on-site restaurant, Gertrude’s.
Second, drive to Scottsdale and visit the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park and stroll through the award-winning designed areas where you will be inspired. After our walk, go to historic Downtown Scottsdale and enjoy a lunch of wood-fired pizza and Arizona craft beer at the Craft 64 eatery.
Day three, drive to Superstition Mountains and take one of the many (mostly level) hikes available. One of my favorite restaurants ‘Waldo’s’ is in East Mesa and they have the best BBQ in my opinion.
A short drive east of Phoenix, near the town of Superior, the magnificent Boyce Thompson Arboretum. This is Arizona’s largest and oldest botanic garden and is located next to Picketpost Mountain. Bring your hiking shoes and enjoy the natural beauty of the desert and marvel at the 3,900 different species of plants.
To finish out the week, I would travel to the town of Gilbert and enjoy a delightful lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill sitting underneath the beautiful trees.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would credit the organization, GardenComm, for providing education opportunities and connections with fellow garden professionals. Because of them, I was able to take my 1:1 consulting services and expand them into online classes where I have been able to help hundreds of students.
Other: Online Class ‘Desert Gardening 101’ – https://azplantlady.lpages.co/desert-gardening-101-discount