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ESTRELLA PUBLISHING produces West Valley's premier and preferred community magazines,

From Your Neighbors, For Your Neighbors. 

We have a variety of publications that are available free of charge to affluent communities including; Estrella Mountain Ranch & CantaMia (Up The Hill magazine), PebbleCreek (Viva magazine), Palm Valley (The Hamlet magazine), Litchfield Park (The Park magazine), Verrado & Victory (Main Street magazine), Vistancia & Trilogy (Mountain View magazine), and Marley Park (The Front Porch magazine).

From Me To You


I have always considered myself somewhat of a successful amateur gardener. As a young girl I grew plants in pots, I bred spider plants for years, taking the ‘babies’ from the parent plant and re-potting them. I lived in a house with a large garden and there were always veggies to pick and beds to weed. The fact that I was not actually growing or tending anything on a regular basis didn’t bother me at all, I was learning. Once I became a teenager there were bulbs to plant in the fall followed by the joy of seeing flowers pop up in the early spring.


As an adult I managed to conquer an entire garden of flowers and even established a raised bed of veggies. That vegetable garden was my pride and joy. I experimented with tomatoes, zucchini and herbs, learning how to use other plants as pest deterrents, and enjoying the bounty of my labors.


When we moved to Arizona I set about replicating my successful relationship with the earth. It took me about 2 years of failure to realize that I was not going to be able to garden as I had hoped. My old standbys did not thrive in this climate, or in this soil. I did have a raised bed for a while, which was mostly capable of producing crops, but the climate and my lack of consistency stymied me at every turn. I did grow the most amazing artichokes and tomatoes - but there are only so many of those you can eat in one season. In the 16 years we have been here almost all of the original plants have died and been replaced with more suitable drought tolerant varieties.


The one great success I have had is something I always wanted to grow but ironically was never too successful with. A Jasmine, or Honeysuckle plant. Honeysuckle is a climbing creature that seems to be nothing more than a mass of green leaves for most of the year. Then for two glorious weeks in the spring it explodes with tiny white flowers and the smell is heavenly. I planted my Honeysuckle by the front door, and as luck would have it, that is the perfect place for it to thrive. It has shade and just the right amount of water, and I get to murmur positive words to it as I pass by everyday. Not sure what effect the words have but I am not stopping now.


As I write this, spring has well and truly sprung and the Honeysuckle is in full bloom. Even though the combination of circumstances that led to this green thumb moment have very little to do with my abilities, I am still able to pat myself on my back for the next week or so. I get to believe that I can grow things out here in this unforgiving climate, at least for a little while. Of course the Arizona summer is looming and that will knock the confidence right out of me again. The desert will reassert it’s dominance, and I will have to wait another year to be proud of my green thumb.


Catherine Uretsky

Editor in Chief, Estrella Publishing