May Garden Tasks

Due to warmer weather, it is best to water during the early morning and late evening hours to reduce evaporation.

Due to warmer weather, it is best to water during the early morning and late evening hours to reduce evaporation.


Rising temperatures cause changes in plants…prepare for summer!

 

~ Change watering schedule from mid-day to early morning or evening as weather heats up to minimize loss through evaporation.

~ Maintain a good mulch of organic matter (such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood) covering garden soil throughout the summer to hold in moisture, moderate soil temperatures for optimum root growth, improve the soil as it decomposes, and prevent weeds from germinating. Mulch allows you to water less often (but still deeply). Keep mulch several inches away from tree trunks and plant stems for good air circulation.

~ Remove spent flowers from annuals, perennials, and shrubs—unless you want to collect seeds (such as from Penstemons); “deadheading” old flowers stimulates repeat blooming.

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches.

~ Encourage your plants’ roots to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for May

 

 

 

 

 April Garden Tasks

    Color season is reaching its peak—spend time outside enjoying it!

 

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

~ Reset irrigation schedules and increase watering time as temperatures rise

~ Plant cold-tender perennials, preferably in pots so winter protection is easier

~ Transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from March to mid-April

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches

~ Keep mulch on the soil–especially with organic matter such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood–to temper the drying and heating effect of the sun; irrigation will be more effective with less frequency and quantity

~ Teach your plants to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

~ Check aphids on new growth; wash off with a strong jet of water

~ Continue pulling weeds before they form seed heads (if weeds are brown, you waited too long); you’ll have fewer weed problems later. Remember that weeds need disturbed soil to prosper; if you disturb soils with a hoe to remove weeds, you are cultivating the perfect bed for next year’s weeds. Instead, pull weeds by hand to minimize soil disturbance, or mow weeds before seeds form, then cover with mulch to prevent next year’s weed crop from forming. If you don’t have enough mulch to cover all your weeds, mow repeatedly during the spring growth season often enough to remove flowers before seeds develop. After just a season or two, you will greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for weeding.

 

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for April

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Plant of the Month – April

Warley Rose Rockrose

Cistus x crispatus ‘Warley Rose’

This spreading groundcover gets rave reviews from gardeners for its brilliant flowers and for its tolerance of heat, drought, cold, and poor soils.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 – 2 feet tall  x 5 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Apr – June)
  • Native to: Mediterranean region
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Warley Rose Rockrose will dazzle you with bright pink, crepe-paperlike flowers with golden, fuzz-ball centers that adorn its deep green, crinkled foliage. This low, mounded, evergreen shrub is named for its preferred native habitat of rocky, relatively poor soil on scrubby hillsides in Mediterranean Europe, and is perfect for sunny, dry, hot situations. Like all rockroses, it is a very drought resistant, sturdy plant that requires little maintenance, shuns fertilizer, and doesn’t like too much summer water. Prune lightly to shape after flowering, but don’t cut into wood, as it may not resprout. Warley Rose Rockrose thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, and is a great groundcover, border edging, or rock garden plant. Works well in containers. As a bank cover, this spreading plant helps control erosion.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for April

White Evening Primrose,
Tufted Evening Primrose

Oenothera caespitosa

This lush desert groundcover is surprisingly drought-tolerant due to its deep roots. It’s large, beautiful flowers attract pollinators all night, then say goodbye each day with a fading pink farewell.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 6 – 12 inches tall  x 2 – 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full or filtered sun
  • Bloom Time: On & off all year; most prolific in Spring, Summer, Fall (Apr – Sept)
  • Native to: Western U.S. and Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

White Evening Primrose creates masses of fragrant, four-inch wide, snow-white flowers each evening that attract night-flying pollinators like hawk moths. Throughout the next day, we can enjoy each one-day flower that opened at dusk as it ages from white to pink before closing in the heat of day. Plants form a rosette of large, fuzzy, dark-green leaves. While short lived (usually three years), this plant is fast-growing, and easily reseeds. Replace when plants begin to decline or die out. White Evening Primrose requires excellent soil drainage and a little supplemental water in summer, but too much summer water will kill it. Trim off dead leaves and seedpods. This southwest beauty makes a delightful border flower in small spaces, entryways, and patios, and offers a colorful accent in rock gardens.

 

 February Garden Tasks

    Good month to control winter weeds before they flower

 

Prune the rest of your summer-blooming deciduous fruit & nut trees, roses, and dormant shrubs

Prune the rest of your summer-blooming deciduous fruit & nut trees, roses, and dormant shrubs

 

~ Plant shallow-rooted ground covers, bulbs, low-water-use plants, & natives if you missed the fall planting season

~ Plant bare-root trees and shrubs through early March

~ Prune the rest of your summer-blooming deciduous fruit & nut trees, roses, & dormant shrubs

~ Prune evergreens now, but not later in spring or summer

~ Fertilize perennials & trees with slow-release food for consistent & gradual nutrition throughout season (most natives and drought-adapted plants do not need fertilizer)

~ Reapply any mulch around plants removed by rain or wind

~ Turn off irrigation timers if it rains

~ Water trees deeply to prepare for their spring growth surge (deep watering encourages deep roots, which protect trees from blowing over in strong winds)

 

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for February

Bulbine,
Shrubby Bulbine

Bulbine frutescens

Bulbine is becoming more and more popular due to its drought resistance, fast growth, tolerance of poor soils, and repeated blooms of cheerful flowers that are yellow or orange, depending on the variety.

  • Plant Form:Evergreen succulent groundcover
  • Water Use: Low – Moderate
  • Mature Size: 1 ft. tall x 2-3 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full or part sun
  • Bloom Time: Yellow-flowered plants:
    ~ Fall – Spring (Oct – Feb);
    Orange-flowered cultivars:
    ~ Spring – Summer (Mar- Aug)
  • Native to: S. Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Bulbine is a clumping, succulent groundcover that spreads by underground stems called rhizomes. Its thick, fleshy leaves equip it to withstand long periods of drought. Yellow or orange flowers on 12 to18-inch stalks hover over the mass of leaves in late fall to spring (in yellow-flowered plants), or spring through summer (in orange-flowered ‘Hallmark’ & ‘Tiny Tangerine’ cultivars). Each star-shaped flower flaunts a ball of fuzzy filaments in its center. Deadhead flowers to encourage continual bloom. This fast-growing perennial fills out quickly, and can be propagated from cuttings to fill in aging portions. After extended frosts, new leaves will quickly replace damaged foliage in spring. Bulbine is best planted in masses and in rock & cactus gardens. It is great in containers that can be moved during hard frosts.