Last updateSun, 30 Aug 2015 2pm

Potted Desert Garden

02 Aug 2016
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As I mentioned last month, gardeners are typically rule-breakers. We bend the rules and seek out plants that we are told will definitely not make it in the desert. We try to grow our favorites, climate be damned, saying as we stomp our foot: “Yes I can!” Unfortunately, it’s proven a lot more difficult for potted desert gardeners to successfully break the rules this year. I have heard from a lot of desert gardeners recently who are trying to grow plumeria. While some fortunate souls may luck out, the recent high heat in the Southwest U.S. has been killing off these plants rapidly. I cannot believe how many people I’ve heard from in the Coachella Valley complaining about the plants they are losing this year. Tropical plants just cannot live in our summer heat unless they are placed in an area that can be temperature-controlled. Of course, as I also…
05 Jul 2016
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Gardeners are typically rule-breakers. We don’t always follow instructions; we try the untried; we seek out plants that we are told will not make it in the desert. Desert transplants and snowbirds often yearn for the gardens we had “back home,” leading us to try to replicate our favorites. This has led to many dead tulips and fuchsia plants. I am sure some of you are reading and saying, “I have them in my Palm Springs garden!” If so, you are an exceptional gardener, likely with the perfect location and conditions for these plants that love water, humidity and non-scorching temperatures. There are constant gray areas within the rules of gardening in the desert. For example: I teach beginning gardeners to place plants with the same light, sun and water requirements together in the same pot. Ornamentals, succulents and drought-tolerant plants all have their place in our gardens … happily…
07 Jun 2016
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There are different ways to look at the arrival of summer in the Coachella Valley. While many people complain about the heat and the hefty power bills, summer also brings a lot of good. Our winter visitors have left, which means we can get into popular restaurants at a reasonable time, possibly without a reservation—and we can get some great deals, too! Traffic is certainly less troublesome. In your garden, summer offers opportunities, despite the heat. Of course, we can simply rely on the strongest desert and arid plants, which require little water and minimal work, such as cacti and succulents, bougainvillea, trees and shrubs. But that’s kind of boring, isn’t it? The largest pots in our yards offer us another opportunity: You can choose to do some minimal but productive gardening in pots that are 24 inches or larger (in width and height), as they will retain enough water…
03 May 2016
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Do you hate it when you look through your yard and see a fence or block wall? A majority of our desert homes are cordoned off by walls. These walls can seem restrictive—but they certainly do not have to be prison-like. Walls are linear—that is, they go on in a line. Even when the wall is curved or turns a corner, it is still linear (just not straight). Unless your design is minimalist in its truest, purest form, this can get rather tedious. If your walls are boring, be creative while enhancing the view from your home. This can certainly be done with landscaping: Trees, shrubs and even vines can go far in limiting the view of the wall. Structures such as a gazebo, shade sails or even a planting shed can also move the eye away from the wall. But sometimes, we just don’t want to put more things…
05 Apr 2016
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Have you ever looked at a picture of a stunning garden and wished you could have someone create it in your home … right now? Living in the desert, we do have some limitations regarding what we can achieve, but not so many that we should stop trying to create lovely gardens for ourselves. For both newcomers and experienced desert gardeners, it sometimes pays to begin with a few new pots—and a little success will give you the confidence and motivation to go for more. One way to achieve an enjoyable container-garden landscape at your home is to think in terms of small spaces. Divide your property into separate areas based on the following: Home entries (front door, front gate, front courtyard) Other doorways, gates and sliding doors Back patio Pool area Shade structures Shady areas (under/around trees) Bordering walls Key viewpoints from inside your home, where you look out…

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