Jenny Stocker in Tucson, living the Sonoran Desert Dream

I first met Jenny Stocker at the 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin, Texas. At the time, Jenny was living in Austin, and her fabulous walled garden was on the Fling itinerary. On her blog Rock Rose she documented the evolution of her Austin garden for many years.

In November 2021, Jenny and her husband David moved to Tucson, Arizona to be closer to their son. It was quite a change for them, going from a 2-acre property with multiple garden areas to a significantly smaller property with a patio for a backyard, not to mention acclimating to a completely different environment.

When I was in Tucson last month, Jenny and David graciously invited me over for brunch. Even though I’d gotten glimpses of their garden on Jenny’s blog, my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the views from their house:

Yes, that is what they see from their kitchen, dining room, and living room, and of course from their patio!

Their backyard is small, but the views are so expansive, it feels like they’re right in the middle of the desert instead of in a suburban community. Looking straight out towards the Santa Catalina Mountains, you see no other houses—just rocks, saguaros, and other desert plants.

The lots are separated from the undeveloped land by a culvert that channels the summer monsoons:

The “fence” is a row of Corten steel pipes of varying height. I love this design, because it keeps the javelinas out (they can wreak havoc in a garden) without obstructing the view.

Since there’s little room for in-ground plantings, Jenny is growing vegetables in deep trays set on concrete blocks:

In the year that Jenny and David have lived in their new house, she has replaced most of the plants that had been there before with her own favorites.

Some plants look fantastic year round without ever needing water:

When you have little room horizontally, you make use of vertical space:

Jenny and David’s next door neighbors have a trio of perfectly grown whale’s tongue agaves (Agave ovatifolia):

Jenny’s garden in Austin had a number of spectacular Agave weberi, and their new place has some too:

They were decorated for Christmas when I visited.

Jenny also has one of the most beautiful specimens of Agave victoriae-reginae I’ve ever seen:

Jenny and David brought a cherished few citrus trees with them from Austin. Here’s one:

The front garden has another Agave weberi growing next to a palo verde:

The house is on a slight rise and has a long driveway:

Jenny and David brought in tons (literally) of new rocks and replaced virtually all of the plants:

I loved the silver and red Christmas balls stuck onto some of the spiky plants and scattered among the rocks:

Golden barrels (Echinocactus grusonii)

These are some choice barrel cactus!

Blue barrel (Ferocactus glaucescens)

Blue barrel (Ferocactus glaucescens)

Blue barrel (Ferocactus glaucescens)

Fishhook barrel (Ferocactus wislizeni)

California barrel (Ferocactus acanthodes)

Mexican lime cactus (Ferocactus pilosus)

Bougainvillea against the garage wall:

Metal armadillo and barrel cacti:

No nook or cranny is left unused. This is near the front door, a spot where live plants would struggle (too dark most of the day until the afternoon sun blasts it):

And finally a few photos of Jenny, the nicest person you could ever hope to meet:

After brunch, Jenny and David took me on a walk through an undeveloped section of their community.  I took so many photos that I moved them to a separate post. Click here to read it—you’ll agree that Jenny and David have chosen a part of Tucson that’s unrivaled for its scenic beauty. They’re living the Sonoran Desert dream!


© Gerhard Bock, 2022. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. Oh thank you for this expanded look at Jenny and David's new digs. I cannot imagine a view like they have! Jenny I love what you've done with the place and your holiday decor is super fun.

    1. The view is insane! It rivals anything in Saguaro National Park.

  2. Thank you so much for this lovely post of your visit and for addition to my garden. It was wonderful to see you and please know that you are welcome any time you plan a visit to the area. There will be many new things to see as I have more plans for planting and new areas to redo. I also plan to consolidate all the pots of waifs and strays into larger square spots more conducive to the design of the house. Could not post with my name and url for some reason! Jenny

    1. It was a privilege to visit. What a special piece of heaven you have! Can't wait to come back soon to see the latest updates.

  3. Jenny and David are wonderful folks. What a great post about their new place. Thank you. Your photos and your descriptions are awesome!

    1. Thank you, Beth! It's easy to take good photos when everything is so beautiful.

  4. Thank you for sharing your visit with Jenny and David, Gerhard. I'm not at all surprised that Jenny's wasted no time making the new garden her own.

  5. My husband Kurt and I love Tucson! We almost moved there back in 1981 when we came out here. Jenny's garden is marvelous and with that view who really needs anything more. What she has planted is perfect for the Tucson environment and Tucson's long time water conservation efforts. I need to try her Agave holiday balls on my Agaves! Oh, and I love the fencing but, here in Sun Lakes, the rabbits would decimate my plants. They even eat certain very spiny Feros and Echinocereus!

    1. I don't know if Jenny has rabbit issues. But apparently javelinas are a real threat.

  6. What a treat to see your pics of Jenny and David's new garden! Jenny has already put her distinctive touches on it. It's beautiful, and I see connections to her beloved Austin garden (beloved by all in Austin!). Thanks for sharing, Gerhard.

  7. Thank you for sharing Jenny and David’s Sonoran Desert Vision. I am inspired to reimagine my succulent garden.

  8. Jenny and David have completely embraced their new environment!

  9. With a spectacular view like that, a small garden is perfect, and what they've done with it is also perfect.


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