Proprietor Michael Lanier III of the Bosque and Pueblo Nurseries Discusses Gardening Tools that Lighten the Load

When gardening enthusiasts enter The Bosque or The Pueblo in Phoenix, they immediately get a sense of the passion for local gardening that comes from a young entrepreneur with a vision for how outdoor life should be viewed in the Valley.

Proprietor Michael Lanier III started this passion project in 2015, and it has grown into a thriving business.

“I have a background in landscape architecture and horticulture, and while we do projects around the Valley, my focus is on helping others garden both indoors and out, forming a comfortable relationship with the environment here in the desert,” he says.  

Paying close attention to the weather extremes, especially heat, and having the patience for the longevity of your garden are two steps Michael says are crucial to achieving the look and feel you want. His shops specialize in tropical plants, and he says you can have a tropical look and feel, even here in the Valley.

“Having the correct tools is key to getting started, and anything is possible if you take it step by step,” Michael says. 

Step one is breaking up your soil, and that begins with a good, old-fashioned spade, ax or rototiller.

“We have a lot of clay in our soil here, and even with such tough soil, some places have organic matter from leaves falling and forestry to assist with breaking it down,” he says. “We aren’t that lucky in the desert, so we rely on these tools.”

 says that these tools act as a blender for the ground, allowing water to leach past the clay, soften and soak it, and help roots to grow without repelling water.

A successful garden also flourishes due to organic matter. This can come in the form of leaves, wood chips, compost or mulch.  

“Mulch feeds plants and lets nutrients in. People come into our shops frustrated with the hard ground here in Phoenix and they long to have a thriving garden,” Michael says. “I tell them as long as you add some organic matter and break up your soil first, you should have no issue obtaining positive results.” 

He adds that mulch protects the ground so seeds can grow even in extreme heat. When the sun hits the ground it can be more than 150 degrees in an Arizona summer and seeds can dry out. If you have mulch down, it will insulate the ground and keep it closer to 80 degrees so you will see growth the first year of planting.

Michael is optimistic when it comes to gardening, whether you are a novice or expert. He says his goal is to have people walk outside into a space they design and have peace of mind.

“This will inevitably tie you into your surrounding and bring bees, birds and insects,” he says. “It is possible to have a paradise in your own backyard if you set it up correctly and take the right steps.”

He says there is no need to reinvent the wheel—the ancient gardening tools mentioned are the best because they are tried and true. Gardening is labor-intensive, and those who did hard labor for centuries built great tools that are still the best today.

Michael wants people to think about a yard as one large society that works together.

“When you are mad at the heat in the summer, use plants as a beautiful excuse to be or look outside,” he says.  

The Bosque and Pueblo are curated nurseries that can assist everyone in building a lasting menagerie for their home while keeping it simple from the ground up.