Here are some more details about the sites and towns you're visiting on the 2023 Desert-Wise Landscape Tour.
Mojave Desert Land Trust Site #1
The unusual MDLT headquarters building (some term the style adobe moderne) was designed by noted local sculptor Steve Rieman, a longtime friend and supporter of MBCA until his death in 2021. In 1987 Rieman completed the design of the former Hanna’s Nursery Building, using sustainable design methods that now provide an ideal site from which to conduct the desert preservation work at the heart of MDLT’s mission.
A Mojave Desert Seed Bank Tour will be offered at 10:00 AM. Email [email protected] to reserve a spot as the number of attendees will be limited.
Photo by Stacy Doolittle
Jeff McClellan Site #2
61772 Alta Mura, Joshua Tree (Google Maps)
Artist and stylist Jeff McClellan acquired this architectural gem, a Joseph Arch-designed home, in 2007.
A DIY site, McClellan blended 50 year old established plantings of cholla and creosote with Mediterranean and other native plantings. Jeff shares that he likes to work with the balance of a neo-classical garden juxtaposed with organic elements. He also shares that he looks to commercial landscape design for inspiration in siting and designing plant vignettes. His native backyard garden area features an intact and working bomb shelter at its center.
Joe Arch Builds His House
Morongo Basin Historical Society Newsletter, December 2021.
Photo Courtesy of JBWD
Joshua Basin Water District Demonstration Garden Site #3
Find out more about the garden on the JBWD website. Made up of different design areas, including Mediterranean and Native, the garden was completed in 2014. This regional community garden was funded largely by grants from the Mojave Water Agency and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Park in the JBWD lot, or along the street.
Joshua Tree Dining
The village of Joshua Tree can be quite crowded on a Sunday around meal time.
For a seated lunch, there is something delicious for everyone at Crossroads (61715 Twentynine Palms Highway, (760) 366-5414). You will likely have a moderate wait.
For the quickest lunch, buy excellent deli sandwiches and salads at downtown's Roadrunner Grab + Go (6554 Park Blvd, (760) 974-9290 and have a picnic on the grounds of the National Park headquarters. (Alternately, you could visit our local community park and eat there, approximately two miles away from downtown at 6171 Sunburst Street). The Dez on Hwy 62 and Sunset (61705 Hwy 62, (760) 974-9747) also offers delicious to-go items but there is often a line to get in and order. There is also a Subway at Hwy 62 & Park Blvd (61794 29 Palms Hwy, (760) 366-8899).
Photo Courtesy of 29 Palms Inn
29 Palms Inn Site #4
73950 Inn Avenue, Twentynine Palms (Google Maps)
There will be expert-guided tours of the 29 Palms Inn's grounds at 11 AM and 1 PM, hosted by Pat Flanagan. Meet at the office at the Inn. Otherwise, tour anytime between 9 am - 4 pm.
The 29 Palms Inn has an established landscape thousands of years in the making, starting with its palm oasis. Palm oases in the desert are created by earthquake faults. See Faultline Garden (PDF). The Oasis of Mara pond was originally a mile in length. The water level has dropped over time and now the palms trace the Pinto Mountain Fault rupture that created the Oasis 9,000 years ago.
Once this oasis declined, sometime around 2,000 years ago, native people gardened in the enriched soil here. The exposed soils from the old oasis are still a gardening site for the restaurant's expansive food garden. Be sure to check out the quite inventive uses of palm fronds for fencing and barriers around the site. The Inn was first opened in 1928.
Note: There is no public lunch service. Restaurant is only open for non-guests at dinner, which begins at 5 pm.
29 Palms Dining
Restaurants in 29: https://visit29.org/restaurants/
The curiously named GRND SQRL (Ground Squirrel, 73471 Twentynine Palms Hwy, (760) 800-1275) has a choice menu of burgers, barbeque and salads, including specials. Park on side streets.
Valerie Davis Site #5
5786 Marvin Dr, Yucca Valley (Google Maps)
Valerie Davis's home is located approximately one mile from Hwy 62 in Yucca Valley. The artistic talents of Davis, who has owned the home for ten years, can be seen throughout the property, with painted planter pots and unusual sculptures, amid desert-wise plantings of cactus, creosote, cholla and more. Plants mainly came from propagating what existed already, and passalong plants from friends. Be sure you don't miss her hand-painted porch floor!
Davis's boyfriend built the recently-installed greenhouse, where she grows many types of food plants. She estimates the cost of materials for the building at approximately $1,000. Note the plastic sheeting which offers plants wind protection, while still allowing light to come in.
Park in the driveway or along the road.
Aerial Photo by Cole Gibson
Scot McKone & Kim Monnie Site #6
7903 Palomar Ave, Yucca Valley (Google Maps)
Hidden from the road, this site features a pocket garden protected from hungry rabbits by a fence. Park anywhere on the south side of the house as you come down the driveway. Near the western edge of Joshua Tree National Park along Palomar Wash, this 6.5 acre site remains mostly untouched surrounded by native juniper and pinyon pine.
Following the adage, “Use what you need and leave the rest”, the owners’ goal was to maintain a small protected area around the home with a planting of desert-hardy perennials. Two guidelines applied: Confine it to a small area, and, if landscape trees or shrubs cannot survive a week or longer without water in the still-heat of summer, it was not a species to be considered. The spacious self-contained, interior courtyard includes the protection of a low-slung wood fence, landscape boulders, a meandering walking path, recirculating water feature, and a myriad of drought-tolerant shrubs and flowers. This is an example of creating a colorful desert showcase where spring through fall, the reward is the tranquility only a garden can provide.
Yucca Valley Dining
Yucca Valley has many places to dine, fortunately without the wait time or lines one finds in Joshua Tree. A few of our favorites places for dine-in lunch include Yucca Kabob (57345 29 Palms Hwy, (760) 820-1644), Tiny Pony Tavern (57205 29 Palms Hwy, (442)-205-0163), and John's Place (56249 29 Palms Hwy, (760) 365-0144). All are open Sunday for lunch.
Landers Post Office Site #7 (Bighorn-Desert View Water Agency Water-Wise Demonstration Garden)
890 Landers Ln, Landers (Google maps)
Prior to creation of this water-wise garden, the site was a long, narrow, barren strip of dirt. Following completion of the concept by landscape designer Mike Branning (Unique Garden Center), dirt was moved in from Yucca Valley's Super Wal-Mart construction site. Next, two large Joshua trees were relocated from the Senior Housing Project in Yucca Valley and rocks were harvested from the county landfill in Landers. A dry wash element is lined with old cans once discarded as trash in the desert.
Volunteers from the Landers Garden Club, the 29 Palms Marine Base and many citizens of Landers pitched in their time to install the drip irrigation system and to finish planting a wide variety of drought tolerant plants, shrubs and trees.
The garden was completed in 2014.
Several varieties of native flowering plants have found their way into the garden over the years. Unfortunately, the transplanted Wal-Mart Joshua trees from 2014 did not survive. However, a keen eye will note a number of “baby” Joshua trees have volunteered to rise up in their place! Two more Joshua trees were planted in 2017 and they are doing well.
This demonstration garden has been maintained primarily by Mr. James Staley in honor of his wife who always longed to see this corner transformed into something the community could enjoy.
La Copine, (848 Old Woman Springs Road, (760) 289-8537) a nationally-recognized restaurant, is our number one pick for dining in Landers. It is open from 11-4 on Sundays. Reservations are preferred.
Check out Giant Rock Meeting Room (1141 Old Woman Springs Road, (760) 348-8992) for tasty pizzas. They are open on Sundays from 3-11 pm.
Morongo Valley Dining
The Morongo Valley Cafe (49780 Twentynine Palms Highway/Hwy 62, (760) 363-6939) offers traditional breakfast-and-lunch options.
If you're headed out of the area through Morongo Valley (west on Hwy 62) in the late afternoon, consider a stop at Spaghetti Western (50048 Twentynine Palms Hwy, (760) 363 7444), which promises to deliver a genuine Western Italian experience. Sunday hours are 4-9 pm.