Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fall Foliage for the Southwestern Garden

Does it look like fall where you live?

If you live in the West or Southwestern regions of the U.S. you answer may be "no".

Fall foliage we enjoyed on a trip to Williamsburg, VA several years ago.

Many of us find ourselves traveling elsewhere to find colorful fall foliage.

But, what if you could have fall color in your own landscape?

There are several plants that can offer some fall color for those of us who yearn for signs of autumn.

I recently shared 6 of my favorite plants for adding shades of fall to the Southwestern landscape in my latest article for Houzz.

Do you have a favorite plant that gives you fall color?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Beautiful, Desert Pots & Book Giveaway Winner

In the desert, we are fortunate to be able to grow plants in containers throughout the entire year.

Of course, living in the desert does bring along its special challenges when it comes to gardening and growing plants in pots is no exception.

However, with the right pot, location, planting mix and plants - it is possible to grow a perfectly lovely container filled with thriving plants.

I like to think of potted plants as a way to decorate your outdoor space with both color and texture.  They also offer the flexibility to change out plants easily for a different look as well as the ability to move the pots around to new locations.

A pot filled with plants is nothing short of a miniature garden in a confined space.

I hope that these photos of lovely potted gardens help to inspire you to get out there and create your own.

To help get you started, I highly recommend the book, "Getting Potted in the Desert", written by Marylee Pangman, Tucson resident who has over 20 years of experience growing potted plants in the desert.  She is a certified Master Gardener and ran her own company, "The Contained Gardener", where she designed and maintained container gardens for clients for years.

**Now it's time to announce the winner of our giveaway for a free copy of "Getting Potted in the Desert"**

Susan aka 'Gardening Granny', you are the winner of this fabulous book!


Thank all of you who entered and let us know what you like to grow in containers.

If you didn't win, you can still order a copy of this book for yourself or a friend who loves to garden.
Click here to be directed to the ordering page.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New, Innovative Products for Your Garden

For those of us who love to garden, we are often looking out for new inventions and products to decrease the amount of time we need to maintain our garden while also increasing our enjoyment. 

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the annual Garden Writer's Conference, which was held in Pasadena, CA.

In addition to informative seminars and tours of beautiful gardens, there was also a tradeshow connected to the conference.

The tradeshow was made up of vendors connected to the garden industry.  Their goods ranged from newly invented tools to make gardening tasks easier, unique garden items as well as the new plant introductions.

Today, I'd like to show you a few of the garden products that I felt would interest you.  
(My next post will involve some of the newest plants on the market.)

Soft-sided garden containers were a prevalent item at the show.  I particularly liked these colorful options offered in small to large sizes by Bloem Living

'Bloem Bagz' are made from recycled water bottles and can be used for growing flowers, herbs,  vegetables or whatever type of plant you like.

They even have a raised bed with bamboo supports that begins flat and easily folds out.  I can just picture growing herbs in this container.

Along the same line, Smart Pots, offers larger fabric raised beds that are ideal for creating raised vegetable beds.

Also offered are bags that you can be used to create your own compost bin.  Imagine not having to build a compost bin out of wood?

As you can see, the bags come folded flat.

They then easily unfold to create a portable and inexpensive container.

According to their literature, Smart Pots have excellent drainage, last for years and decrease the amount of heat retained inside the soil during summer.

Before we leave the innovative garden container products, I'd like to show you 'Ups-A-Daisy'.  

These are planter inserts that fit inside of containers, decreasing the amount of expensive planting soil that goes into pots.

I really enjoyed myself in this booth with its rainbow-colored products.

The Dramm display was largely dedicated to devices for watering plants.  

From long and short watering wands in any color you could imagine to innovative hose-end spray nozzles that have a multitude of settings from watering plants, washing your car or even your dog.

There was even a chocolate colored spray wand, which lent a somewhat elegant look to a garden tool.

The folks from Greenview Fertilizer had a variety of organic fertilizers.  

For Southwest gardeners, the citrus, palm, rose and all-purpose plant food would be a welcome addition to the garden.

I was given samples of the citrus fertilizer, which I can't wait to use for my lemon and orange trees.

Stretch Tie is an expandable plant tie.  This innovative tie expands and moves with plants as they grow, instead of girdling them as inflexible ties can do.

You can use these plant ties for houseplants, tomatoes, trees, and vines.  I will be giving some to my mother for helping her train her gourd vines.

Another garden tie product that I found interesting was Garden Connects.  I met the woman who invented them and it was easy to see how these silicon connectors could be used to canes and small stakes such as those used to create teepees  for vegetable vines to crawl up on.

While the sight of a rack filled with many different varieties of flower and vegetable seeds may not look out of the ordinary...

One that has seeds free for the picking isn't something you see every day.

Not surprisingly, this was a popular display - not just because the seeds were free, but because the types of seeds offered.  Many new or hard to find varieties of seeds were offered through Renee's Garden Seed Company.

I can't wait to grow the white, pink and pale yellow California poppies seeds that I got as well as some new varieties of nasturtium and poppy flowers.

Botanical Interests and Irish Eyes Seed companies also had impressive seed displays, several of which, made their way into my suitcase for the trip home. 

I hope that you are intrigued by many of these garden products as much as I am.

Next time, I will share with you some of the new plant introductions that were on display and my attempt to bring many home in my suitcase :-)

**If you haven't had a chance yet, I invite you to enter the giveaway for a great gardening book called "Getting Potted in the Desert".  The drawing is this coming Monday!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Container Gardening Book Review & Giveaway: "Getting Potted In The Desert"

Imagine a garden with containers filled with a variety of colorful flowers, herbs, ornamental grasses, succulents and even vegetables.

Wouldn't you love to have pots that look like this, overflowing with beautiful plants?

But, what if you live in the desert?  Can you grow plants in pots that aren't just beautiful but that can thrive in our hot, dry climate?  

Believe it or not, you can.  Whether your container garden is limited to one pot or several - you can grow plants in pots in the desert garden.

Now before you say, "I've got a black thumb...everything I plant in pots die", I have a great resource for you.  

"Getting Potted In The Desert" is a wonderful resource that shows you step-by-step instructions on how to create beautiful potted gardens that will thrive in our desert climate.

While you can find other books that offer helpful advice on how to create potted gardens, "Getting Potted In The Desert" speaks specifically to those of us who live and garden in the desert Southwest where our hot, dry summers bring about special challenges.

Beyond the helpful advice on selecting containers and the right location, the book also talks about plant choices including flowering annuals, perennials, grasses, herbs, succulents and vegetables.

Clear and easy to understand guidelines are given on how to water, fertilize and how to adjust to changing weather conditions including freezing temperatures.  

What's even better, the guidelines are broken up into monthly guides, making growing plants in pots, easy.

Lists of plants that do well in the desert container garden are also given along with lovely photographs of pots filled with plants, which will inspire you.

Herb Container Garden

The author, Marylee Pangman, has over 20 years of experience growing potted plants in the desert.  In fact, she is a certified Master Gardener and had her own company, "The Contained Gardener", where she designed and maintained container gardens for clients.

In addition, she has taught numerous classes on growing potted gardens that can withstand hot summers and desert winters.

Flower and Vegetable Container Garden

As a horticulturist who has planted and maintained container gardens over the years, I can tell you that Marylee's book is a godsend for those who love container gardening and need practical guidance.  


So, now for the giveaway...

Marylee has graciously offered to send a free copy of "Getting Potted in the Desert" to the winner of this giveaway.

1. To enter, simply leave me a comment about what plant you would like to grow in pots or what you like about container gardening.  
(Be sure to leave your email address if it's not on your profile, or I won't have any way to contact you.)

2. For a bonus entry, like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter - (be sure to let me know in your comment).

Let your friends know about this great giveaway and I will pick a random winner on October 5th.

You can also order your own copy of "Getting Potted In The Desert" and find out more about Marylee at


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