I do hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with friends and family.  Have you already put away your decorations?  I certainly haven’t, but I usually get it done by New Year’s Eve.  I still turn the lights on my Christmas tree because it looks so pretty, even though it is a little bare without presents underneath.

We did experience some illness in our family over Christmas.  My daughter, Gracie, had a fever and a horrible sinus infection so she missed much of the festivities.  The blessing was is that she felt so sick that she really didn’t mind….as long as she still got to open her gifts 😉  She is much better now.

I have been watching the news and seeing how much snow has fallen all over the east coast.  It strange to think that I was just there 2 months ago when the leaves were turning and much was still green.  

We are expecting some very cold (cold for us) and rainy weather tomorrow.  Highs will maybe hit 50 degrees and the lows will get down into the 20’s, so I will be bringing out my old towels and sheets to cover my sensitive plants.

A couple of weeks ago, we had some wonderful rain.  I love rainy days because we do not get them too often.  I usually stay indoors, but stepped out into the garden to let the dogs out.  It was then that I noticed something so beautiful in my vegetable garden.

 My nasturtium leaves each had a large raindrop centered in the middle of each leaf.
Now you may be asking why I have nasturtiums in my vegetable garden.  Well, they actually help to repel damaging insects that would eat my vegetables.  
They have been working very well and I just love how pretty their leaves are.  It was fascinating to see how the raindrops would fall into the center of each leaf to form a large drop of water.
Now I do not normally stop to look at raindrops on my plants, but it really can be quite beautiful.  
I discovered how pretty it was when I downloaded the photo below….

Look at the tiny raindrops on the edge of the leaf…..
Okay, enough about raindrops and leaves……I have a New Year’s giveaway that I am excited about.
I have made a 2011 calendar using pictures from my garden, Double S Farms and some beautiful scenery from our desert.
I must admit that I had so much fun making this calendar and I still had lots of beautiful photos left over.  I will definitely need to make another one for 2012.
Most of the pictures are of my garden, but I also included some from Double S Farms which is one of my favorite places to take photos.

There are also pictures from some of my travels around our beautiful desert as well.
So, if you would like to win this calendar – just leave me a comment or send me an email and I will pick a winner at random on January 1st.
Good Luck!!!
**If you do not win, I will be more then happy to order new ones and send them to you for $25.
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

21 replies
  1. rohrerbot
    rohrerbot says:

    Count me in:) Looks like a great calendar. I am off to buy sheets….I love the rain but not the cold that is coming for the next several night here….I am going to be moving pots indoors starting tomorrow morning…and buying cheap sheets to cover the plants with….it's funny that it's not the heat that gets our plants as much as it is the frost of our winter!

  2. FlowerLady
    FlowerLady says:

    What a lovely calendar, and whoever wins will enjoy it. Maybe I'll be the happy winner. 🙂

    I'm sorry to hear that Gracie was sick and glad to hear she's on the mend.

    I always love seeing raindrops puddled in leaves and flowers. Your nasturtiums look really healthy.

    Happy New Year and Happy Gardening.


  3. Mary-anne
    Mary-anne says:

    Happy holidays from Down Under. I love visiting with you every few days – It brings back memories of my trip to Phoenix last year. reading your blog has also inspired me to sort my garden out, which was looking very sad after 11 years of drought – thankfully we too have had some rain and things are looking much brighter in the vege patch.

  4. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    What beautiful pictures Noelle. Glad Gracie did not get too sick and is on the mend. I have my Christmas decorations from indoors put away but the outdoor ones will wait until we have this warm up at the end of the week. Too cold at the moment. Your calendar looks so lovely. Have a Blessed New Year ahead.

  5. Amy
    Amy says:

    Beautiful images on the calendar. We had several nights of cold-for-Austin weather recently, and I missed one night of covering the veggie bed…the nasturtiums were the only thing that froze (luckily they grow fairly fast). Hope you and your family have a happy new year!

  6. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    I'd love to have nasturtiums in my garden now. They do look really pretty with the raindrops on them.
    The calender is very pretty!
    Glad your daughter is feeling better. My oldest is sick now, seems like winter break someone is always got something.

  7. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    Poor little girl…so hard to be sick at Christmas. Glad to hear that she feels better. I remember one year we let our little boy open his gifts and then left for the ER…his asthma was so bad that day.
    I think that nasturtiums have the prettiest leaves. Almost better than the flowers.
    Count me in on the giveaway. I so enjoyed the pictures on your blog and now will be able to enjoy them again in the calendar.
    Hope you have a Happy New Year and also…hope that no one else in your family gets sick…Balisha

  8. TZel
    TZel says:

    Such beautiful photos! I wish we could see pretty growing things in our garden right now here in the far north! Sigh…oh well! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Wow Noelle, i am glad i am not yet late to join your raffle for the calendar, hahaha! I just dont know if we are not exempted from it. I have long been dreaming to do just the same, but of course it is a bit different here in a developing country. I also wanted to make an alphabet of flowers for the kids,but of course it also needs some funds which i dont have. I wonder when i can do that. Your photos are always beautiful and those nasturtiums are lovely. The waterdroplets also happen here with our taro leaves, whose leaves are also water repellant. We dont have nasturtium here in the tropics, i wonder why, maybe nobody has just brought it in yet.

  10. Carol
    Carol says:

    Noelle, Noelle, Joyeux Noel! You have put together a beautiful calendar! Its beauty would be wasted on me, for I never hang them only fold them in my various folders for my retreat and wedding work. I already have three. I do want to Wish you and your precious family Many Many Blessings in this upcoming New Year! I love to look at Nasturtiums holding water and have them in my veggie gardens too. It is not lost on me that you have them growing now, whilst I am under snow! Ah, to have a winter garden in Arizona!

  11. p3chandan
    p3chandan says:

    You are right, those raindrops on your green nasturtium look so enchanting and you caputured them so nicely! Very lovely pictures on your calendar, a good idea to preserve the images of your beautiful garden in print as gifts to your friends and loved ones!

  12. Peg
    Peg says:

    I love looking at your photos of your garden.. They make up for the other part of desert gardening – when I don't get it right:)

    Nice give away opportunity. Thank you.

    Happy New Year!

  13. jeansgarden
    jeansgarden says:

    Happy holidays, Noelle! (I'm glad to hear that Gracie is feeling better; those sinus infections can be nasty.) It was delightful to see the vivid colors of your nasturtium.

    I'm nuts for calendars, especially those with great garden photos, so please include me in your drawing. -Jean

  14. Jan
    Jan says:

    Great photos of your Nasturtiums. I also passed along your tip about planting them in the vegetable garden to my son who is a newbie to the gardening world.

    My tomatoes are tucked in with a flood light and keeping toasty this chilly 32 degree morning!

    Happy New Year.

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I have a daughter who regularly gets sick at Christmas so I understand (she's 23 now and this year was no exception). I am glad to hear that Gracie is better. Your calendar is lovely, such pretty pictures – it must have been hard to choose which ones to include! The raindrops are so pretty, would it be greedy to ask for more the next time it rains here?

    My backyard looks like the dryer exploded – I have sheets, bedspreads, towels, afghans, etc. on every hibiscus, short palm and miniature citrus tree. I did go ahead and get some ficus [silly me] and they are also wrapped in sheets. I crocheted wraps for their trunks to try to keep them from freezing – don't know why I insist on trying to grow them here, I was heartbroken when I lost 6 ficus in the freeze of 2006/2007 – they were about 25 feet tall. A seventh struggled to come back, lost its top and is now a very large and hardy bush.

    Take care and have a wonderful new year!
    – Daisy in Ahwatukee

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