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Potted Desert Garden

01 Dec 2015
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We all move pretty fast these days. I’m not talking about a physical race (although a lot of Coachella Valley residents are runners and bikers). What I mean is that over the last 50 years, life’s pace has gotten more and more hectic. Even many retirees I come across are very busy. On the flip side, there is a movement toward “slow food,” across the country and even the world. This movement “officially” started in 1986 in Italy. The slow-food movement strives to build a region’s cuisine and encourages the local farming of plants, seeds and proteins distinctive of the local ecosystem. As a result, more and more restaurants are sourcing local ingredients. There has also been a huge upswing in home gardens with vegetables and herbs, as well as an influx of chickens at home—and even some home beekeepers! Those of us who don’t want to have a miniature…
24 Nov 2015
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Consider using your garden for your gift-giving ideas. Plants that you may already have around your yard will make great gifts! Beyond that: If you are the creative type (and aren’t all gardeners?), you can give gifts that truly come from your heart as well from your garden. Herb-Infused Vinegar With the movement toward slow-food and sustainable gardening, making herb-infused vinegar is a wonderful idea that your friends will appreciate, in part because you made it from your own herbs. Below is a simple recipe on how you can accomplish this quickly and easily. Some herbs that work well include: Basil Bay Cilantro Dill Fennel Garlic Lemon Balm Marjoram Rosemary Sage Savory Tarragon Thyme You can also use edible flowers such as the winter flowers of calendula and nasturtium. Consider adding dried chilies or peppercorns. Materials: Bottles or jars Lids or corks Vinegar (many recipes use apple-cider vinegar or white-wine…
17 Nov 2015
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When it comes to boosting the curb appeal of your midcentury modern home, the rule of “less is more” is key. Of course, Palm Springs has one of the greatest concentrations of midcentury homes around. These homes lend themselves beautifully to minimalist gardens, with clean lines and room to breathe between each landscape component. I love large picture windows that look out on front and back yards. With these windows, you are sure to bring the outdoors inside by capitalizing on the view. When you are designing with pots, replicate the lines of the midcentury home by thinking about the flow from one garden element to another. Use a simple repetition of plantings along with square and round pots with simple lines, and avoid a strong singular focal point. In the concrete planters with pedilanthus shown to the right, a little cleanup of the plants’ wayward branches will give a…
10 Nov 2015
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This evergreen shrub plant with its many varieties is recognized by many name: Boxwood. Box-leaf. Winter creeper. If you are daring, true gardener, you might simply say euonymus (yoo-on-uh-muhs). Because of its diversity, the euonymus has many different uses; I love using these plants in containers. The full shrub works well as a stunning specimen plant, in a combination planting or an as attractive living screen. In the landscape, it is often used as a hedge. Most euonymus plants grow well in either full sun or shady conditions; however, the variegated evergreen forms generally need more sun to develop and maintain their best color. They prefer moist, well-drained soil, especially when planted in pots. Shopping for Euonymus Varieties I have successfully used in pots are the following (in order of my favorites): Golden euonymus, or “aureo-marginata,” has bright golden foliage (shown above). “Silver king” has green leaves with silvery white…
03 Nov 2015
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The holidays are coming quickly: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s are all looming in the not-so-distant future. If you handle things properly now, your desert garden containers will be in illustrious bloom—and off your long holiday-prep to-do list—well before the festivities begin. Think about your color scheme for your home and how you will add to it for the holidays. Do you go all-out in reds and glitter? Are you more subtle with whites, or do you enjoy delving into the romantic blues? Or are you all about color, with a desire to bedeck the halls with rainbows and bling? Do the backbone planting now, and add fall colors into the pots temporarily with chrysanthemums. When those flowers are spent in late November, add your winter colors so they are in full bloom by mid-December. Thanks to our gentle early winter temperatures, your plants will grow and bloom quickly…