Bisbee is blooming. The 2006 monsoon dropped much-needed rain on this old mining town just in time for the Bisbee Bloomer Garden Tour Saturday.
“The rain has just made everything go wild,” says Fred Miller, president of the Bisbee Bloomers and owner of the Copper City Inn. “All the plants are really loving it. Next week is going to be the apex. You’re going to see a lot of color here.”
Particularly the green hues of the Sonoran Desert.
“We live in Tombstone Canyon, and when I looked out my living room window the canyon was completely brown,” says Bisbee resident Roger Hossman. “Now you can’t believe how green it is.”
Hossman’s garden took a pounding during the recent rainstorms. He lost a few pots of petunias, but the selfdescribed old farm boy from Iowa worked quickly to repair the damage. His labor of love is one of eight gardens on the tour.
“The yard is full,” says Hossman. “I have a lot of color back there — I have petunias, alyssum, geraniums.”
Located on the south side of the Mule Mountains, Bisbee is built on the slopes of Tombstone Canyon. Rock, extreme soil alkalinity and the altitude make gardening in Bisbee an exercise in human ingenuity.
Terracing, fence building and rock enclosures are common techniques Bisbee gardeners have used to overcome the terrain. Hossman’s garden, for example, is a collection of containers on the back porch of his home.
If the tour had a leitmotif, it would be “hidden Bisbee.” The tour will take visitors through secluded streets, back pathways and Bisbee’s famous staircases.
Gardens 2, 3 and 4 are inaccessible from the main roads that are familiar to many tourists. To get to these gardens, you must take the stairway or go around the main street.
“We arranged the tour so people could see as much of the hidden Bisbee as possible,” says Miller.
Visitors will see that Bisbee’s gardens are as eclectic as its homes, and that it’s possible to create a tranquil oasis in a cramped space. They’ll also have an opportunity to listen to local musicians perform in and around the featured gardens.
The tour is two miles round-trip if you decide to walk, so bring comfortable shoes, sun protection and water. A shuttle service will be provided for an additional $1.