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  Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society

Monthly Meeting

  • June 02, 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sky Islands Public High School


Presented by Margaret Joplin

First off…disclaimer: I am not an expert on Art in Gardens! I am a landscape architect and an art enthusiast who loves to combine these worlds.  

In 1973 I left Oklahoma City to enter Prescott College at age 18.  I loaded my VW and hit the road.  After the first year, I felt directionless and did not want to return.  I just wanted to stay in Prescott.  The next good idea I came up with was to enter Yavapai College part-time taking random art classes.  My father told me to get a job if I was to stay.

I found a job at a new retail garden center, The Greenery Nursery.  The owners were Ken Asplund and Ted Rose.  I was their first employee starting as labor progressing to manager.  Ken opened the world of plants to me; he was a natural teacher.  Ted taught me the business end.

After 5 years at the nursery, I was 25 years old and questioned my direction.  I wanted to stay in a plant field and found Landscape Architecture.  For me, it had everything: design, plants, art, community, natural environments.  In 1981, I moved to Tucson to enter the undergraduate program at the UA.  I completed the 5-year program in 4 years with my random Yavapai College classes.  I had the honor of 4 semesters with Warren Jones.  I loved my studies.  My senior project was “Urban Plazas in Arid Climates.”  I thought I would get my registration and then move to a large urban center, working in a large firm.

After graduation, I worked in land development firms to accrue work experience and take my registration exams.  During that time, I attended a workshop presented by the Tucson/Pima Arts Council on Art in Transportation.  Artist, Vicki Scuri, used tire treads in concrete form-liners to transform an unwanted new parking garage in a neighborhood and artist, Stan Edminster, transformed old bridges in Baltimore by painting them to match their context.  That day changed my life, it was the moment I knew what I wanted to do: incorporate art into design.  That was the beginning.

By 1990 I had my registration and established Design Collaborations.  The name, Design Collaborations, was selected to represent my core design philosophy. I believe that excellent design is produced through collaboration and participation, and I strive to carry that to all the different types of work I do.  Over time there have been many iterations of my firm with public art always being a component.  

In 2012, I got a public art project with cast glass, having never done it.  That is when my husband, Michael, with glass experience, joined me to create this vision.  It is now we/ours.

Today, Design Collaborations is an innovative design firm creating hand-made glass works, public art and landscape architecture located in Tucson, Arizona.  I am so glad I never left!  Please look at our website to see the range of our work.

With all that being said, my presentation explores: definitions of art and gardens; what came first: art or garden; how I got here; types of art in gardens, what I have seen, what I have learned and what I thought I understood, and finally my/our work.  

I will bring a hanging piece of glass on ¼” wire rope as a raffle gift.

If you have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19 you are welcome to come and join us for this excellent in person presentation (masks will be required by all). This meeting will also be a Zoom program and will be an important educational and informational event you must see. Also, if using Zoom, be sure to log in to win a $25.00 gift certificate from TCSS or choose a copy of the new 3rd edition of the Field Guide to Cacti & Other Succulents of Arizona. Plant give-a-ways will also be happening at the in person meeting as well. When leaving the live in person meeting, everyone can get a free plant offered to you by the TCSS.

Join us on Zoom

Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society

PO Box 64759  -  Tucson, AZ 85728  -  Phone: (520) 256-2447  -   Email:

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