Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society Restores the Krutch Garden

Joseph Wood Krutch Garden Restoration 2014

What we now know as the Joseph Wood Krutch (pronounced KROOCH) Garden began more than 120 years as the University's first cactus educational display garden by Professor James Toumey. Since its genesis, this garden has stood as a lasting reflection of our commitment to preserve and to live in harmony with our native environment. It represents progressive practices in desert horticulture, and serves as an educational tool featuring the ecological roles, and ethnobotanical uses of Sonoran native plants. As such, the garden has been named in honor of the prolific author and naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch who promoted through his writings great respect and appreciation for the southwest desert. 

In recent decades, The Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society has played an important role alongside the Campus Arboretum as stewards of this historic and significant plant collection. In the spring of 2014, we initiated a project to restore and enhance the Krutch Garden. Student Andrew Hatch assisted local botanists Matthew Johnson, Mickey Reed, TCSS President Dick Weidhopf, and TCSS Member Jessie Byrd in completing an inventory map of the garden. Suitable plant species were identified and we set out to collect, buy, donate, and propagate these species. On May 3rd, 2014 we gathered UA students and members of the TCSS for a special planting and clean up day. Our work not only preserves the historicity of the garden but also enhances the garden's value as a natural sanctuary in the middle of campus. We look forward to many future events in the garden.

Special thanks to the Pima Co. Native Plant Nursery, Joe Frannea and CA Board Member Chris Monrad both with the TCSS Cactus Rescue Program for their plant donations. We also wish to express kind appreciation to UA Facilities Management Grounds Services for their support of the Campus Arboretum's goal to preserve this natural garden space.



New mammallaria plants lead to the JWG sign.Bill Thornton, TCSS member and long-time supporter of the Campus Arboretum oversees students installing new mammallarias.Although undaunted, we were not without casualties.


The planting team at the end of a great day!

New hedgehogs nestle in near the existing senita and santa rita prickly pear.Seth and Amelia, CA Student Workers are relieved to realize planting cacti is so much easier than planting trees.

A very heavy saguaro specimen is transported to the JWG.

New night blooming cereus plants preserve an historic aspect of the garden collections.

Campus Arboretum Student Worker Tracey Till installing cacti in the JWG.
A new set of barrel cacti round out an existing family under the catclaw acacia.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 07:00 to 11:00