Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I love Bloomin' Tuesdays...I find myself hoping for 'this' or 'that' to be in bloom so I can share it with everyone.
Yesterday, I received a little help in the garden pruning the trees. The blooms are mostly gone and it is growing season so the Palo Verde and Palo Brea were masterfully pruned.
I must admit, I get a physiological response to pruning. And, I know that when a plant is properly pruned the pruning contributes to the overall health and beauty of the plant, but I still feel like I should wait and see what is does next... I guess that isn't to say that plants left to there own devises are not beautiful, but they do tend to be in a perpetual stage of potential...and help is a good thing...which reminds me that I am the branches that are masterfully pruned.
Here is what is blooming today in my AZ garden.
Above, Larkspur ( Consolida ambigua) and Perry's Penstumum(Penstemon parryi)
Above, Desert Senna (Senna covesil)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
One of the reasons I love spending time in the garden, is that it is always changing, evolving into the next and over time the garden comes into its own. Just when I feel, wow, this is beautiful the garden makes an adjustment and something new catches my attention.
Over the first few years here in Phoenix, I have spent a good amount of time waiting and watching as plants that I am not familiar with catch my attention and wow me to the core.
Today in my AZ garden the Blue Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum), Arizona's state tree, is in bloom along with the Palo Brea and the Creosote Bush.
The picture above is the Blue Palo Verde, meaing green stick. Notice the trunk and branches are green. They are used for photothinsis as during low water seasons the small leafs and thin branches are dropped to conserve water.
Ah, my Palo Brea...I thought something might be wrong with this beautiful tree however, the display of spring flowers are showing no sign of struggle. The mass of pink flowers is Mexican Primrose (Oenothera speciosa), and the bush to the left forefront is a Creosote Bush. If you attend any of the desert garden walks, there is always a wealth of information communicated regarding this native and useful bush. Most notably is its fragrance, crush a few leafs in the palm of your hand or wait for a shower and it smells like a desert rain. And, when rain becomes a luxury to smell and feel the Creosote is prized companion in the garden.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Put them in containers!
Over the weekend, I attended Cherie Czaplicki "Container Gardening" class at the Maricopa Extension http://cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden/html/general/hort.htm and learned a lot. The fabulous cascading plant is a Myoporum parvifolium 'Prostratum' used a ground cover here in Phoenix. Cherie has had her Myoporum in this pot for 4 years with a little pruning effort she said it looks this great all year long.
Success with Container Gardening
What do I need for successful container Gardening?
- A container – consider size and material.
- Growing Medium – consider making your own mix.
- Plants – consider annuals, perennials, grasses and bulbs. Exposure – consider amount of sun and/or shade.
- When choosing a container, choose a nice size 12” or larger.
- Use the rule of thumb, drain hole(s) should be about the size of your thumb and preferably on the lower side.
- Clay pots provide excellent movement of moisture and air through the walls of the pot and act as “mini swamp coolers.” In addition, both moisture and air are needed for a healthy root system thus healthy plant.
- One-third high quality commercial potting soil
- One-third pumice (pumice is porous and weighty and will aid in moisture control and help to keep soil molecules from clumping into a mud mess)
- One-third shredded sphagnum peat moss or sifted home-made compost
- Two to three part pumice
- One part potting mix
- One-third vermiculite
- One-third perlite
- One-third shredded peat moss or sifted compost.
- Place window screen over drain holes in container.
- Fill with growing medium mix.
- Most container gardens include trailing plants, tall spiky plants and mounding plants.
- Tip: to encourage trailing plants to trail, tip root ball a bit onto its side and be sure potting medium will cover adequately.
- Place plants as much in the center as possible. Avoid planting against the sides of container.
- You may consider a mulch of some type to top off your container.
After class, I headed straight for the nursery to pick up pumice and Happy Frog, then straight home to repot all my plants!!! What a wonderful day!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
This is my first "Bloomin' Tuesday" post.
I found the Bloomin Tuesday group when visiting the Water When Dry blog. I was looking for a little desert garden help. http://waterwhendry.blogspot.com/
After my enjoyable and inspirational virtual walks through the other Bloomin' Tuesday gardens, I wanted to invite each of you to join me in my AZ garden.
Remember to visit my MI garden this summer by clicking the link on right "In the Garden at the Lake."
Here is what is in bloom today in my AZ garden...
Purple Prickly Pear Cactus - Opuntia violacea var. santa-rita. I love the purple flesh color of the cactus and the lemon yellow color bloom.
There are a couple of other verities of Prickly Pear that have a greener flesh with bright blooms. The Beaver Tail Prickly Pear that has a fuchsia bloom and one variety has the most vibrant orange bloom. I must add those to the garden.
The paddles of this cactus are used in Mexican cooking and have the consistency of Okra. The fruit produced by the bloom I hear makes a beautiful jelly. My Prickly Pear needs to get a bit larger to produce enough fruit for jelly.
Gaillardia grandiflora 'Arizona Sun' is blooming very interestingly this season!!!
Chocolate anyone? Chocolate Daisy Berlandiera lyrata - smells like chocolate.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
However, after attending the http://ag.arizona.edu/extension/ 8th Annual Real Garden for Real People Garden Tour and seeing/hearing about all the benefits of composting in the desert, my love for the dark earthy humus resulting from composting had me searching out compost bins and clearing out a space in the yard.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Look how big the tomatoes are getting...
The pepper plants are growing quite nicely and some of the flowers have beared fruit.
A few posts back, I commented on my garlic being ready in March...I have been corrected. I understand the garlic should be ready in May. Also, I have read that the sign that garlic is ready to harvest is in the green tops. When the green tops have turned brown then the garlic is ready.
How to store the garlic - Do not store garlic in the soil it will dry out. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator there is too much moisture. A nice presentation for storage is to braid the garlic. Both soft and hard neck garlic can be braided. http://www.ecst.csuchico.edu/~atman/Misc/braiding-garlic/index.html
I have added a couple of globe artichoke to the garlic garden. Since then, I have seen how large the artichoke plants will get!!!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
We have a beautiful Palo Brea that is about 4 years old. This winter I noticed black spots by spring the black spots were ozing sap.
I have made several calls one to DBG plant hotline, one to the Maricopa Extension and several to local tree experts per recommendation of DBG and Maricopa Extension and internet searches.
I found out that what is occuring is very normal. The sap begins to run in the spring when the tree is ready to leaf and flower. The wood peckers love to peck at the tree and the ants come for the sap and the wood peckers come back for the ants.
Or, hybridization can cause an issue that shows up in the bark and the tree dies a slow death. Unfortnatily you will not know if your tree has this defficiancy until years into its growth.Best practice - keep the tree healthy, water deep (3 feet) once a month during the hot summer and not at all during the winter, practice good pruning during summer months when the tree can heal properly.
Time will tell.
See side panel for recommended reading - Pruning, Planting & Care by Eric Johnson
Friday, March 20, 2009
The "weeds" have bloomed. Last year the yard was a burst of California poppy - an orangey/yellow brillant bloom blanketing the front yard and a large patch of red phlox about 3 feet tall . This year the prodomenent color is purple!!! Purple Lupines in large patches and sprinked about, fantastic!
Citrus Tree update. We fertilized the last week of February and they are full, full, full of blooms.
- Spray them off with hose water.
- Put on a pair of surgical gloves to protect the plants from skin oil and pick the "little things" off and squish them.
- Put 4 TB spoon canola oil. 1 Gallon of water. 1 TB of original Dawn dish soap (not the antibacterial.) Spray on the plants.
- Plant some Merigolds in the garden.
- Lady bugs, lots and lots of lady bugs. You can buy lady bugs at http://www.bakernurseryaz.com/ What you really want is the lady bug larvae which you are bond to get with a bag of 1750 lady bugs.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I think it is a Hornworm...
The other day, while taking a peak out the window into the garden, I noticed something had eaten the leaves off one of my tomato plants. So, I marched out to the garden ready to squash the "bugger." But, found nothing. Today while Vern and I were transplanting some of the seedlings he started, he pointed out that while the leaves were growing back nicely on the plant previously eaten, the "bugger" had nibbled all the leaves off a different tomato plant. Okay, I still have three tomato plants with leaves and two have flowers beginning!!!
The pepper plants however are growing strong...yummy, I can almost taste the spicy infused vodka in the most Perfect Parade Bloody Mary!!! SPIN IT...SPIN IT....
Monday, February 2, 2009
I know if you are one of my Michigan Blooming Buddies, you are dreaming about your spring garden and here in Arizona the winter rains have my front yard bursting with what Vern calls "my weeds." And, I remind him that once "my Weeds" burst into bloom even the passers by slow their gait, or vehicle of choice to take in the beautiful display of color and smile.
BL, before Linda, Vern's front yard was a well orchestrated desert landscape with a couple of trees a Palo Verde and a Palo Brea, some fab Cati and a few containable flower patches. All of which I love and was a part of picking out.
However, after that informative and seed collecting class at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) I headed out to the front yard and carefully placed each type of seed precisely where I had learned they would best grow. That winter rains were light and after handfuls of seed, I had a few patches of wild flowers. Nice, but if I would have put that much seed down in Michigan I would have had a small forest of wild flower. Thus, when it came time to dead head, I let the plants go to seed. After all, I wanted a magnificent display of desert blooms. A display that would be so spectacular that it would make it hard for me to lament my peonies and the tulip bulbs from our trip to Amsterdam left back at the house in Royal Oak.
Now, we both have a better understanding of the "wild" in wild flower. At first I blamed the scattering of seed and bloom on the untimely relief of the landscapers who, each week blew clean our front yard with one of those noisey leaf blowers. This season I am giddy with anticipation and happily await the burst of bloom from the scattered seed that maybe I might be to blame.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
At the time, there were two large trees on our neighbor's property and they provided too much protection from the sun and nothing really produced. But, we kept trying.
This past summer, the trees were removed and so we plant again with vigor. Ron Miller provided us with a few garlic bulbs (I need to get the name of the garlic) this fall that he has had success growing and it looks like we might just have a harvest come March.
Over the last couple of weekends we have begun to plant tomatoes Early Girl and Celebrity, peppers, artichokes and chives.
Vern started some seedlings - squash, desert water melon, corn, sunflowers, basil and more.