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Best Plant Nursery--TIE

Harlow's Landscape Center and Nursery
5620 E. Pima St.
Mesquite Valley Growers
8005 E. Speedway Blvd.

READERS' PICK: These two places have been perennial favorites for years, and this year they split top-honors. With its well-tended paths and vast selection, Harlow's seems equal parts botanical garden and retail outlet. Whether you're looking for starter seeds or mature plants, you'll likely find it all under one shady, outdoor canopy here. Harlow's has a gardening boutique with a selection of tools and books that'd make any soil tender...um...green with envy.

Mesquite Valley Growers also offers a bumper crop of drought-tolerant plants (grown right there on the premises, so it's tried-and-true for your own desert garden). Located pretty far east for many of us, a trip out there is more like an outing--and with such a friendly, knowledgeable staff, a family of free-roaming resident cats, and shady mesquite groves to boot, why not make an adventure of it?

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: It's not just the plants at Desert Survivors, 1020 W. Starr Pass Blvd. (at 22nd Street). It's the people, too. And it's the most shining example of the promotion of growth, respect and dignity that exists in Tucson. Desert Survivors grows and sells native and low-water use plants--and employs persons with disabilities in their care and sale--in a showcase of harmonic convergence that Sedona ought to envy. There are flowering plant and wildflower seeds, 300 species of desert plants, shrubs, ground cover and trees, and adapted species from South America, Australia, and Africa. It's obvious on your first visit that the folks at Desert Survivors love their jobs, and especially their plants. Humans and horticulture have a long and fruitful (pardon the pun) history, and there's a unique and blessed relationship going on at Desert Survivors. You can learn about the healing qualities of plants, and you can learn about the healing nature of good people doing honest work. You'll connect with a lot more than cactus at this unique nursery. Like it says in their literature: "Grow native and protect the Sonoran desert."

Case History

1997 Winner: Harlow's Nursery
1996 Winner: Harlow's Nursery
1995 Winner: Harlow's Nursery

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