Create an Outdoor Office

It is easy to create an outdoor office work space, no matter how large or small your yard is.  It need not be elaborate. All you need is a wireless signal, a surface for your laptop and beverages, and some shade so you can easily view your screen. The Basics of an Outdoor Office This post is inspired by an article by garden writer friend C.L. Fornari. The original article appeared in The Garden Center Magazine. C.L states, “An outdoor office can be simple or elaborate. Basically, what most people Read more

Hibiscus For the Desert Heat

Hibiscus abound in the nurseries now, and no wonder. They are beautiful plants with glossy green leaves, very luxurious looking, reminiscent of tropical jungles. And the flowers are pretty too. Hibiscus Flowers Seriously folks, hibiscus flowers are awesome. The large size of the blooms, combined with their exotic appearance and downright durability as a plant has helped them find their way into our cultural world view. Who hasn’t see photos of Tahitian maidens, or the paintings of Paul Gauguin, replete with luscious looking blooms tucked behind the damsels ear? Well, Read more

Figs are Easy to Grow in the Southwest

Figs are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow in our area. They do well in our alkaline soils, and can quickly grow into lovely, spreading shade trees. Trees produce fruit in as little as two to three years, and thrive and produce with little effort for the next hundred years or so. Figs do not need cross pollination, so a single tree can produce ample fruit for a household. Planting Figs Plant fig trees in the ground in late winter to early spring when they’re dormant. Figs won’t Read more

You Can Grow Amaryllis Outdoors in the Southwest

Save your Christmas amaryllis and plant it outdoors in your Southwest landscape! (Only if it doesn’t get below 15 degrees F where you live). Amaryllis will grow and bloom for years to come. But! Don’t do this in winter – wait just a bit. Amaryllis are from… You have heard me rant about common names before. Sadly this is another case of the common name being applied to two different plants. Luckily they are in the same family at least. Many “amaryllis” are technically in the genus Hipppeastrum – from Read more

Vegetables in the Southwest – Secrets to Success

If you’re new to growing vegetables in the Southwest, here are some guidelines and tips to help you get started right. There are four basic elements a garden needs – the secrets to it’s success – Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Sun (Fire) This should be your first consideration for your desert vegetable garden. Choose a spot for your garden in full sun — that means at least 6 hours of direct sun in the middle of the day. This is especially important for “fruiting” crops like tomatoes, peppers and Read more

Plant Bulbs in Autumn for Spring Color

Hiding underground for most of their life, many bulbs spring forth in Spring with shining flowers to brighten our gardens and days. I know the trailing heat of summer (especially this summer) does not seem like the best time to think of spring color but it is! (Nerd Note: In this article I am using the term “bulbs” to also include corms, tubers, and rhizomes.) Plan Now Like the title says, now is the time to order bulbs for planting now and into October. (Spring wildflowers too, but that is Read more