Mary Welch-Keesey (Photo credit: Deon Holt)

Mary Welch-Keesey,


Friday, February 21, 2020,

3:30-4:30 p.m.,

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Academy Village resident and professional horticulturist Mary Welch-Keesey will present an illustrated primer on spring-flowering plants native to the Rincon Valley, focusing on plants that may be coming up around the homes and in the open spaces of our community right now. She will cover some basics such as plant names, how to identify plants, and how to care for them, then talk about our most common wild flowers [space between words intentional], with copious photos to illustrate. There will be time for questions at the end.


Welch-Keesey, a resident of the Academy Village, has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Rice University and a Master’s in Horticulture from Purdue. After working as a biochemist in technical support and product development, she switched careers and became a horticulturist as a result, she says, of moving into a house with a birdbath during the fall migration. Feeding the birds led to gardening for birds, which led to studying native plants, which led to her getting a degree in horticulture followed by a 12-year career with the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service. She lectured extensively and trained master gardeners throughout Indiana and has numerous publications, including an award-winning CD on plant propagation. 

California Poppies on Hope Camp Trail, Saguaro NP East (Photo credits, Mary Welch-Keesey)

Since moving to Arizona full-time in 2011 she has become immersed in an entirely different type of native vegetation from what she knew in the Midwest. She is a volunteer at the herbarium collection of press-dried plants at the University of Arizona, which currently has over half a million specimens.

Written by Betty Feinberg and Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteers

This talk and those by Steve Harris on February 28 (Cacti) and March 20 (Succulents) are sponsored by the Academy Village Open Space and Trails Committee and are part of its outreach to the community.


Feb. 21: “Spring Wildflowers of the Rincon Valley” (Note special day and time)