by Sharon Boyd & Mandy Alexander, Director, Coolidge Youth Coalition
In 1982, Julie and Phil Bond saw an opportunity, a chance to realize a dream called The Distinctive Earthscapes at The Avocado Nursery. With Julie teaching at Central Arizona College, it was the perfect time to turn 10 acres in the Sonoran Desert south of the campus into the premier nursery in Pinal County and Arizona.
After teaching vocational agriculture for over 30 years, Phil, an Arizona native and master gardener, was ready to put his vast skills to use in desert greenhouses, drip irrigation, propagation of plants and wholesale growing. With Julie’s expertise in business, The Avocado Nursery was up and running.
Phil and Julie poured the footing for their unique Frank Lloyd Wright-style underground house in the brutal July heat of 1982. With a distinctive avocado tree in the yard, it became known around these parts to “go ask the man with the avocado tree” any nursery questions.
This nursery at 6855 N. Overfield Road is historic and unique, from the original wood beams from mines in Douglas, Bisbee and Superior to a wooden wall with buckshot lodged in it from Tombstone, which graces Phil’s office and warehouse. The Bonds also own property in Douglas where many of the nursery’s harder-to-find desert plants come from, such as the ocotillo and rainbow barrel cactus. These give The Avocado its niche as the nursery to find rare and indigenous Sonoran landscape plants. Public tours of this iconic nursery are available.
For more than three decades, Phil and Julie “paid it forward” and gave back to the Pinal County community through 4-H, FFA, the Julie Bond Scholarship Fund, workshops for youth and by opening their doors to anyone and everyone with an interest and love for our beautiful Sonoran Desert.
Phil is currently teaching a master horticulture class at CAC for the University of Arizona, with its primary function being the construction and landscaping of a desert arboretum on Signal Peak behind the campus.
Phil and Julie Bond have given their teaching careers and hearts to Pinal County, our youth and our families.
Sadly, Julie passed away in 2013.