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Potted Desert Garden

19 May 2015
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The Coachella Valley is enjoying slightly cooler than normal days and nights so far this month. However, per usual, weather systems are coming through, bringing high winds—and many of our homes have wind tunnels, of course. There are three things you can do to protect your pots from being tipped by our at-times crazy winds. 1. A pot with a wide base, as shown above, is your best solution to pots blowing over in our high winds. Vase-shaped pots will be safest in protected patio corners or near a protected front door. 2. Only plant tall plants in well-seated pots—in other words, pots described above. They’re your best solution for any trees, tall shrubs or grasses. Thick canopies of these plants, such as the tall pampas grass shown below, will act as a sail in a strong wind, so they are best suited in grounded pots. 3. If high winds…
12 May 2015
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It’s getting hot—and it’s really getting hot if you’re a rose bush. Although roses grow beautifully in the desert, the heat takes its toll. Don’t expect your roses to bloom in the middle of the summer, and remember to cut the amount of fertilizer in half from June through August. This allows your rose bushes to rest during the heat of the summer. Here are a few hints to maintain lovely rose plants over the next few months: Water, water, water! Be sure the water gets down to the roots. If possible, submerge the container in a bucket of water to saturate the soil. Once well-watered, return the container to its original location. Mulch, mulch, mulch! Using an organic mulch like straw, compost, chipped bark, ground western cedar or pine needles helps keep the soil cool and retain moisture. Use the hose on the gentle spray nozzle setting to sprinkle…
05 May 2015
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We have had a hot start to the spring here in the Coachella Valley! Many of you might be saying: “What spring?” The entire Southwest has been running 10 degrees above normal, jumping us into an early period of 90-degree days. I have heard too many people already complaining about the heat. Regardless, May is a good time to get your potted garden in good shape before the real saturated heat starts. Here are some tips to guide you along your way. Think about these this month before the intensity of the heat keeps you indoors. 1. It’s not too late! You can still plant summer flowers, shrubs, cactus and succulents this month. If you have a blank-slate area of your yard, consider getting out there with a few new jumbo-sized pots and some well-started summer plants—and make a major difference in your landscape. The most important things to keep…
28 Apr 2015
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Desert homes are often built with sizable front yards and comfortable back patios. However, how many of us neglect our oftentimes unused side yards? They’re used as a thoroughfare, or an area to stash things—yet these small corridors are often an eyesore on the homeowner’s never-ending to-do list. Here’s an idea: Transform this problem area with a beautiful potted garden! Start with a few pots to define the areas you want to enhance. The empty side yard pictured above has a back wall, a side door with a walkway, and a wooden fence bordering the yard. This picture of the initial planting, to right, shows that a small concrete table and metal chair were added to give anyone who stops by a place to rest. Filled with morning sun, the yard begins the day on the warm side. In the afternoon, the entire yard is in the shade, as the…
21 Apr 2015
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Check out the repetition of color in the picture above of an early summer annual planting in a desert container garden. The red celosia and “Strawberry Fields” gomphrena, paired with yellow “profusion” zinnias and “blue” salvia, echo the rainbow colors of the glass balls settled into the rock divider between concrete pads. We certainly have been able to enjoy all the beautiful blues of winter annuals—growers keep coming up with new hybrids of pansies, violas and lobelia to fill our gardens with wonderful blues. As we face our garden challenges of summer in the desert, many of us would love to plant some soft blues to help cool us off—at least visually. Unfortunately, blue is next to impossible to come by in summer flowers. In cooler parts of the country, homeowners are planting all of the flowers that we had during the winter, including blues—yet we have none. Yes, some…