New Home

They are here!!!  I was oh so patiently waiting for my English roses to arrive from Heirloom Roses.

I had ordered three different English roses a few weeks ago as it has been too long since I have had roses in my garden.  You can read more about that here if you like – “I Have a Confession To Make”  and “I’ve Made My Decision”.

English roses

I thought it would be a nice idea if each of my three youngest children could adopt one of the new rose bushes and be in charge of taking care of it.

They each picked one based on their favorite colors.  My youngest daughter picked ‘Graham Thomas’ which is yellow (note her yellow SpongeBob shoes).  My son picked ‘William Shakespeare’ because it is red.  My third-oldest daughter picked ‘Abraham Darby’ because she absolutely loves pink.

So since they are adopting their new roses, that means, they have to help dig the holes and plant them.  The kids are anxious to help.

English roses

Thankfully, their dad was willing to help them dig the holes.

*I was taking pictures of the whole planting process and my son decided that he would take pictures with his red camera.

English roses

I love kid-sized shovels and other gardening tools.

*I think I need to buy another kid-sized shovel because my daughter is throwing dirt into the wheelbarrow with her hands.

English roses

Trying to be brave and touch the earthworm they dug up.

New Home

It won’t bite….

New Home

There is just something about dirt that attracts kids…

New Home

I think this photo clearly illustrates the difference between boys and girls. My daughter is drawing a happy face in the dirt while my son is touching a worm.

Tomorrow, we will finish preparing the holes and planting our new roses.  The kids are so excited!  So is their mom.

Will post more tomorrow….

Arizona

That was my first thought when I came out to Arizona as a young bride over 23 years ago.  Brown mountains, strangely shaped cactus and words like ‘javelina’, ‘dust devil’, ‘haboob’ and ‘gila monster’ that meant nothing to me were soon to become part of my new world.

Southern California

I grew up in Southern California.  I loved the beaches, the beautiful tall mountains, the rolling hills and the trees.  I had spent two years attending college in California and my dorm room had a view of the ocean and I could see the Channel Islands on a clear day.  My entire family lived in California and I was sure that I would never leave.  But, then fate intervened….I fell in love with an Arizonan.

Before I knew it, I was married and driving across the desert to Arizona.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought Arizona was pretty in kind of a stark, prickly way.  I mean, who doesn’t like how cool Saguaro cacti look?  But, I was homesick for the bright and dark green colors that had been a part of the landscape I had grown up in.  

What Planet Have I Landed On?

There were trees, but not as many as I was used to.  Areas of grass were more limited and were bordered by concrete curbing.  The rest of the ground was covered by small rocks, called gravel which came in different kinds of colors.  And people placed large boulders in the landscape on purpose.

Strangely shaped cactus

Strangely shaped cactus

Once my eyes had adjusted, I realized that the desert was quite green.  But the green colors were much more subtle with hues of gray and blue mixed in.  Coming from an area with dark green plants had made me temporarily blind to the green beauty of the desert.

My oldest daughter in our backyard

My oldest daughter in our backyard – 1992

I had dabbled a bit in gardening in California while growing up, but nothing serious.  What made me a gardener was the purchase of our first house in Phoenix.  We bought a home with a large yard which included 3 mature citrus trees, 3 roses and 10 California Fan Palms and I had no idea what I was doing.

My second oldest daughter

My second oldest daughter and friend playing in the irrigation water as DH watches. Berms along the edges keep the water from running out into the street. 

Even more interesting and this is an Arizona thing – our front and backyard was irrigated by flood irrigation.  We would open a valve in the backyard and water would fill the backyard to a depth of about 4″ high and then flow into the front yard.  My children loved playing in the water, especially in the summer.  I loved the price – only $56 for an entire year back in the 90’s.

My neighbor's garden

My neighbor’s garden.

With my newly inherited garden, I wanted to learn all I could and bought gardening books only to learn that they really did not apply to gardens in the desert.  For example, just because a book, (written and published on the east coast), says that a particular plant can be grown in zone 9, does not mean it can survive the heat of our summers.  I learned the hard way.  So, I decided to go to our local library and read all I could on desert gardening.  After that, I was hooked.  I took out some grass and planted a perennial garden in the front and also planted 40 roses as well.

My thirst for knowledge did not end and I was at a crossroads in terms of deciding what I wanted to do in terms of a career.  I had two years of college under my belt, but needed to figure out what to major in.  It was then that I decided to get my degree in Horticulture.  I have never looked back and absolutely love what I get to do.  And the rest they say is history…. 

Strangely shaped cactus

Hiking through the desert with my four youngest children.

They love the desert as much as I do.

I’m sure most of you know how much fun it can be to garden with your kids.  I remember my dad building each of us a raised planter where we could grow vegetables and flowers.  Today, my kids and I went to the store to buy flowers for their new garden.  You will NEVER guess what they are planting their flowers in…

Easy Garden

Our first stop was our local nursery.  Each was allowed to pick out two six-packs of flowers.  The kids decided to each pick a different type of flower and then shared them.  My youngest daughter, Gracie, selected geraniums and blue petunias.

Easy Garden

Ruthie went the fragrant route and selected stock, (beautiful and fragrant despite its ordinary name) and white alyssum.

Easy Garden

Dianthus and snapdragons were Kai’s choice.

Easy Garden

We finished making our selections and then got ready to go home and start planting.  The only question the kids had was – where were they going to plant their flowers?

Easy Garden

How about their old kiddie pool?  You know – the ones that cost about $10 that your kids play in during the summer.  However, once summer is over, most people either throw out their pool or store it somewhere out of the way.  

Well, now you can use it as a planter for either flowers or shallow-rooted vegetables or herbs.

The process is easy, and your kids will have fun assisting you.

First, move the pool where you want the garden to be as it will be too heavy once you fill it with soil.  Then make multiple holes on the bottom for drainage.  Then fill with a mixture of potting mix.  Sprinkle some slow-release fertilizer and now begin planting!

Easy Garden

Gracie planted her first plant, a peach-colored geranium.

Easy Garden
Easy Garden

My teenage daughter, Rachele, was overseeing our progress while texting on her phone.

flowers

We finished!  The kids are so excited to see their flowers grow.  The garden will be a riot of different colors and has no sense of design, which is as it should be for a children’s flower garden.

flowers

This will be our ‘before’ picture.  We planted alyssum, dianthus, geraniums, petunias, snapdragons, and stock.

If you would like to try this at home and want the garden to become a more permanent part of the landscape, you can add a brick border or plant shrubs and perennials around the outside of the pool.