Do you have a plant that DOESN’T bring you joy?
I do. There is one particular that has been bothering me for a while and I finally did something about it as I explain in the video below:
While there may be some sadness when removing a healthy plant, I confess that I didn’t feel that this time. The frustration that I feel each year with its under-performance in my garden that I was ready for it to go.
Although it doesn’t show in this photo, there was a healthy root system on this tiny orange tree.
I sat and watched them plant my new tree. They did a great job!
I will keep you updated as to how it does. It will be hard to wait for two years for new fruit, but it will be worth it!
What plants do you have that no longer bring you joy?
Today’s post is written by guest blogger, Emily, who writes about sustainable gardening.
Getting to landscape your own yard is exciting, and it can prove to be really fun! You can decorate your yard with the plants you love in whatever way you want them to look. There’s no end to all the ways that plants can bring life and beauty to your backyard, but what types of plants you have to choose from can be narrowed down because of where you live.
Even beginner gardeners know that plants are affected by the amount of sunlight and kinds of temperatures they deal with on a regular basis. Some plants do better in warmer climates than others. If you live in the southwest, you know that hot, dry weather is something your plants are going to have to be prepared for. Check out some of the best trees you can pick from for your yard that will thrive in the rising temperatures of the southwest.
Your Best Options
This tree list is for those who want to look through a list of potential trees without having to do a bunch of research and get disappointed when they find out that the tree they like won’t work in their yard. Extreme heat doesn’t mean that you’re limited to only a few kinds of trees. You can have large, beautiful trees that have thick foliage and provide lots of shade. You can also have fruit trees if you’re interested in growing your own food. Read on to see which trees might fit with what you’re looking for.
- Aleppo Pine – Choosing to grow the Aleppo pine might be right for you if you’re looking for an ornamental tree. It has a distinct trunk and can grow up to 80 feet tall. This tree is a great addition to a yard that looks like it’s missing some character.
- Desert Willow – This tree is distantly related to the Willow tree, but it doesn’t have branches that hang down as far as its cousin’s branches. It’s extremely drought tolerant and loves full sun conditions, much like these smaller stunning desert plants.
- Acacia Tree – If you’re looking for a tree that’ll grow quickly, the Acacia might be for you. These trees are bright with green, yellow or white colors and live for around 20-30 years. They’re also known for stabilizing soil with their roots, which is perfect for erosion-prone areas.
- Texas Mountain Laurel: A shrub that disguises itself as a tree, the Texas Mountain Laurel is a beautiful plant that provides lots of shade. It can grow to 15 feet high and when in bloom, it’s covered in massive purple flowers. Take note that the seeds it produces are poisonous if ingested, so those with outdoor pets or small children should watch this tree carefully.
- Santa Rosa Plum – Fruit lovers, rejoice! You can still plant a variety of fruit trees in desert climates. The Santa Rosa Plum tree does particularly well in full sun as long as it’s watered regularly. Expect delicious summer fruit after an average full growth cycle of four years.
- Citrus Trees – Many homeowners choose to grow a variety of citrus trees in the southwest because they do so well. Lemons, oranges, grapefruit and lime trees are especially common in yards since they naturally take to the weather.
Give It Time
Whatever tree you choose will need time to grow to its full maturity. This will be a different length of time depending on what kind of tree you decide to go with. Always talk with local gardeners to make sure you know what you’re getting into. On the other hand, you should also be prepared to make some mistakes! You’ll learn how best to care for your tree with time, so don’t feel like you have to know everything about your type of tree before you plant.
Jump Right Into It
The more you research, the more you may feel overwhelmed. This is normal for beginner gardeners, but learning how to grow your own tree really isn’t that difficult. It’s just a new way of gardening! And don’t think you’re alone. Ask around in your community to see if there are any gardening groups you can join, and if not, you can look online too. There are people ready to help guide you with your gardening passions so you can grow the trees of your dreams, no matter which kind you settle on.
Emily is an avid gardener. She writes in the sustainability field and loves getting to try new composting methods to grow food with less waste. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.
**For more tree profiles that will add beauty to your desert garden, click here for earlier posts where I share some of my favorites.
While most of the garden is asleep in winter, citrus trees are filled with sweet, tart fruit ready for picking.
One of the best things about having a garden in the desert southwest is our ability to grow citrus of all kinds. Lemon trees are a popular fruit tree and I am often asked what type of lemon do I recommend.
There are different types of lemons but the one that is my favorite isn’t a ‘true’ lemon tree at all. It’s a Meyer lemon, which is a cross between an orange tree and a lemon tree.
The result is a fruit that tastes sweeter than your typical lemon and has a lovely thin, smooth skin. Meyer lemons are suitable for use in the same ways that other lemons are, but you can use them in additional ways as well due to their sweeter nature.
I recently shared the reasons why you should plant a Meyer lemon tree in one of my latest articles for Houzz.
Have you ever grown a Meyer lemon tree?
Living in the desert southwest, I am blessed to be able to grow a variety of citrus trees in my garden and they do very well under most circumstances.
However, when temperatures outside of the average highs and lows occur, steps need to be taken to protect them. With this week’s record-breaking highs, my orange tree has been suffering as is evident from its sunburned leaves. So I thought, this is a great opportunity to talk about how to protect citrus trees from a heatwave.
1. Provide temporary shade
The west and south-facing sides of citrus trees are susceptible to sunburn during a heatwave. This shows up as yellowing or browning on the leaves on those sides of the tree. Sunburn can also occur on immature citrus fruit, so it’s important to protect them.
While spraying citrus trees with sunscreen isn’t an option, adding temporary shade is. Put a large piece of burlap over the tree, focusing on those south and west-facing exposures. Burlap is inexpensive and does allow some sun to penetrate, which is important. You can purchase burlap at your big box store, nursery, or Amazon (affiliate link below).
You can use a bed sheet in place of burlap for temporary shade. Another option would be to place a shade tent/canopy to help block the sun’s westerly rays.
Shade cloth is very useful as a sun shield when placed on a scaffold or other support – it’s important not to rest it directly on the tree as it gets hot and can burn the leaves.
2. Increase irrigation and water early in the morning
When temperatures soar above normal, citrus trees, like most plants, lose more water through their leaves. As a result, their regular watering schedule isn’t enough to meet their needs, so increase the frequency of watering as long as the heat wave lasts.
When you water is vital as it is difficult for plants to uptake water in the middle of the day. This is because all of their resources are dedicated to enduring the stresses of the heat and it’s hard for them to divert those to uptake water. Water in the early morning, which will allow them to build up a water reserve that will help them through the day.
Once the heat wave is over, remove the temporary shade and resume regular watering. By implementing these two methods, you’ll enable your citrus trees to weather brutal summer temperatures and minimize any negative effects.
*Sun protection for the trunk and bark of citrus trees is essential throughout the entire year. Here is a past blog post showing you how to shield these parts of your tree and why it is so important.
Part 3 of the tour of my back garden looks at my favorite flowering shrubs, a hummingbird container garden, and a peek at a part of my garden that few people get to see.
I hope that you enjoyed the tour of my garden. Admittedly, it isn’t fancy, but neither am I. It reflects much about my personality – rather carefree, not fussy, and lover of color. My hope is that you will find some inspiration for your own outdoor space.
There is nothing quite so refreshing as the fragrance of lemons as you slice through their yellow skin. Lemons are a very popular fruit tree for those of us who in zones 8 and above and their lush green foliage and yellow fruit add beauty to the garden.
If you have been thinking of adding a lemon tree to your landscape, March is the best time of year to plant new citrus in the garden as it gives them time to become established before the heat of summer arrives.
I am often asked about what type of lemon is best for the garden. My personal choice is ‘Meyer’ lemon for a number of reasons. You may have heard of this type of lemon tree, but what you may not know is that it isn’t a ‘true’ lemon – it’s actually a naturally occurring hybrid of a lemon and ‘Mandarin’ orange. This results in a pseudo-lemon that is sweeter and less acidic than true lemons such as ‘Eureka’ and ‘Lisbon’.
See why you should consider planting a ‘Meyer’ lemon tree in your backyard in my latest article for Houzz.com. (Click on the photo below to read the article).
*What type of lemon tree to you grow?
One of the things that I enjoy about living in the Southwest is the ability to garden throughout the year. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration – I don’t especially like gardening in July or August. During those months, I simply like to view my garden out the window from the air-conditioned comfort of my home. But, you’ll often see me outside spending January in the vegetable garden through the winter months.
So far, this year’s cool-season garden hasn’t been very impressive. In fact, it was quite disappointing. Our drip irrigation system wasn’t watering this particular vegetable bed well because the tiny holes had become clogged from mineral deposits left behind by our notorious hard water. As a result, a handful of romaine lettuce transplants survived, but none of the seeds that I planted in early October germinated except for the radishes and a couple of carrots.
To make it worse, when I discovered the problem last fall, I was so busy trying to keep up with my landscape consulting that I didn’t fix the irrigation troubles. Spring and fall for horticulturists is much like tax season for accountants, and little else gets done.
Well, I felt bad looking out at my sad little vegetable bed, so I cleared my calendar to give it a little TLC earlier this week. First on the list was to pull out the lettuce plants, which had bolted and were ready to be taken out. I was able to get a few radishes, much to the delight of my youngest daughter who loves them.
Before planting, I added a 4-inch layer of compost to help refresh the soil. There wasn’t any need to mix it in with the existing soil – in fact, it’s better if you don’t do that.
Like many people, I find working out in the garden therapeutic and the stresses of day to day life simply melt away. What made this day even better was that my husband came out to help me. At this point, I should mention that he isn’t one of those men who loves to work out in the garden. Oh, he does a great job at it, but he doesn’t like it – at all. Poor guy, he had no idea that the woman he married 30 years ago would turn out to be a plant lady who lives, eats, and breathes all things related to the garden.
My darling husband took an entire morning out of his busy schedule to help me in the garden, fixing the drip irrigation system in my garden. Forget flowers, if spending a morning out in your wife’s vegetable garden fixing irrigation doesn’t shout “I love you,” I don’t know what does.
The drip irrigation system in my vegetable garden is made up of a main poly drip line that runs up the center of the garden. Micro-tubing, with small holes along the length, are then looped along the length of the main drip line. We pulled out the old micro-tubing and replaced it.
Once the irrigation repair was finished, it was time to add plants. Luckily, there is still plenty of time to plant cool-season favorites. To get a head start, I bought romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach transplants. The rest I would grow from seed. Irish Eyes Garden Seeds is one of my favorite seed companies.
Another seed company who I have used over the years is Burpee. I remember perusing my dad’s Burpee seed catalog when I was a child and planning on which ones I would order for the little plot of land that he gave me in the back garden.
I still order seeds from Burpee and was pleasantly surprised to receive a gift from them this Christmas – an advent calendar where each door opened up to a seed packet filled with one of their new 2017 plant introductions. What an ingenious marketing tool! Every morning, I felt like a kid again waiting to see what new seeds I would find behind the door.
I selected ‘Dragon Tail’ radish, where you eat its purple seed pods and NOT the roots. It is a version of an Asian heirloom radish and has a more delicate flavor than regular radishes. I am very excited to see what this one does in my garden. ‘Rido Red’ radish and ‘Bend and Snap’ snap peas also found a spot in the garden.
Marigolds and nasturtiums are always present alongside cool-season vegetables as they attract beneficial pollinators, discourage harmful insect pests, and just make the garden look pretty. Imagine my delight when I saw new varieties of my favorite flowers in the advent calendar. ‘Strawberry Blonde’ marigolds and ‘Orange Troika’ nasturtiums will add welcome beauty to my vegetable bed. There were other seeds in the calendar that I plan on using including ‘Bend and Snap’ snap peas. I plan on giving some of my seeds to my mother for her garden. Burpee has a list of their new 2017 introductions, which you can access here. I’d love to hear if you grow any of them.
Next to the vegetable garden is my young ‘Meyer’ lemon tree. We planted it two years ago, and this is its first ever fruit. Young citrus trees can take a year or two, after planting, before it produces fruit and I look forward to years of delicious fruit from mine.
Meyer lemons aren’t true lemons. They are a cross between a regular lemon and mandarin orange, and this gives them a sweeter flavor and a deep yellow skin. The story behind Meyer lemons includes overseas exploration, threatened extinction, and Martha Stewart.
Well, that is what is happening in the January vegetable garden. What is growing in your winter garden?
Have you ever gotten a sunburn? Maybe a better question is, “Who hasn’t?”