Does it look like fall where you live?

If you live in the West or Southwestern regions of the U.S. your answer is probably “no”.

Fall foliage we enjoyed on a trip to Williamsburg, VA several years ago.
 
Have you ever traveled somewhere else to find colorful fall foliage?
 
What if you could have fall color in your own landscape?
 
Believe it or not, there are several plants that can offer some fall color for those of us who yearn for signs of autumn in the desert garden.
 
I shared 6 of my favorite plants for fall color in an article I wrote for Houzz.
 
Do you have a favorite plant that gives you fall color?
 

As the garden begins to awaken in spring, our thoughts turn to getting our plants ready for the growing season, which often involves pruning.

There are different types of pruning, each of which, are used to accomplish particular results, ultimately keeping your plants attractive and healthy.

If you are learning how to prune your trees and shrubs yourself, it’s especially important to learn about the various ways of pruning to help you determine which way(s) are the best to employ.

To do this, let’s talk about the definitions for common pruning terms so you can choose the right method for your trees and shrubs. I break it all down for you in my latest article for Houzz.

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Pumpkins play a large part in our fall holiday celebrations. I remember trips to the pumpkin patch when my kids were younger and watching them choose just the ‘right’ pumpkin for our family.


A few weeks later, pumpkins take center stage on Halloween as their artfully carved faces add a festive element to costumed trick-or-treaters.

But, what do you do with them once the holiday is over? Instead of throwing them in the trash can, what if you could find new uses for your pumpkin?

 

Whether your pumpkin has been carved or left whole, I’ve shared 9 ways to reuse them in the garden and in the home, in my latest article for Houzz. I hope you enjoy!

 

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Do you grow herbs? I do. 

Herbs are easy to grow and thrive in arid climates and shrug off the heat. I’m the first to admit that I don’t like messing around with fussy plants and so herbs fit right in with my gardening style.

Toward the end of summer, my garden is overflowing with herbs – especially basil. I certainly have more than I can use right now, so I like to preserve my herbs in a variety of ways so that I can enjoy the fresh flavor of summer throughout the winter months.

One of the easiest ways to store herbs is by freezing them using olive oil or water. You can see my post on how to freeze herbs here

Herb salts are a newer way to keep the fresh flavor of herbs alive. The ingredients are simple, and they are a unique way to add a delicious taste to your favorite recipes. See how easy they are to make in this blog post

Finally, the most popular method for preserving herbs is to dry them. Some types of herbs are easier to dry than others, and there are different methods for drying herbs. I invite you to read my latest article for Houzz.com where it’s all you need to know about drying herbs. I hope you enjoy it!


Do you dry or freeze your herbs? Which herbs work best for you?

 

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?

 

 

In the past, succulents were valued primarily for their drought tolerance and found their way into gardens in arid regions. Today, while they are still a great choice for water-wise plants are wise, they offer many other benefits to outdoor spaces including adding colorful flowers and solving common garden problems.

Elk Horn (Cotyledon orbiculata)

I’ve written a series of articles for Houzz focusing on succulents and how you can add beauty to your garden with these versatile plants that will thrive in arid climates. 

I hope you find inspiration through them and look at succulents in a new way.

 

10 Spectacular Flowering Succulents

 

How Succulents Can Solve Your Garden Problems

 

How do you like to use succulents in your garden?

Taking photos of succulents in a hidden garden in California.

I have a love affair with succulents. 

There are so many reasons for my passion, but the biggest reason is that they are easy to grow, and a low-maintenance way to add beauty to the garden.

The popularity of succulents is taking off and nursery shelves are filled with numerous varieties to tempt gardeners. Many people are beginning to replace high-maintenance plants with fuss-free succulents.

Sticks on Fire Euphorbia and Elephants Food

Succulents can also be a great choice for solving common gardening problems.  For example, they make great container plants and require a fraction of the care that flowering annuals do. 

I share my favorite ways to use succulents in the garden in my latest article for Houzz. I hope that you find inspiration for solving your garden problems by adding these lovely plants.

How Succulents Can Solve Your Garden Problems

Have you ever passed through the fertilizer aisle at your local nursery or big box store and felt overwhelmed at the large selection? It’s not surprising with so many different brands and types of fertilizer vying for our attention. What do those three numbers mean and how do you know which one is right for your needs? 

In my latest Houzz article, I go through the basics of fertilizer and examine how they work so you can choose the right one that fits the needs of your plants.

 

 

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?

I don’t know about you, but I really value regional gardening information.

Whether you live and garden in the Southwest (like me), or the Northeast, Midwest, Great Lakes, the Rockies, the deep South, etc. – gardening tips tailored to your area are vital to your success in the garden.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Where else can you go to learn when to plant your vegetable garden or prune back your shrubs?

When to you start planting your containers with flowering annuals?

What type of plants do well in your area and what ones don’t?

For example: I can’t tell you how often I am asked how to grow gardenias in the desert.

I tell them that although you can grow them here – it is very hard.  They struggle with our alkaline soils and dry heat.

Arabic Jasmine

I tell them that if they love fragrant flowers and dark green foliage like the gardenia’s – then how about trying Arabic jasmine, which does well here, instead?

For me, the plant that I would most love to grow in my garden is hydrangeas…

Not from my garden.  I did enjoy seeing these hydrangeas growing in C.S. Lewis’ garden in Oxford, England.

But, I know better then to even try planting them in my garden, (even though I sometimes see them for sale at our local big box store’s nursery now and then).

They will not grow here in the desert Southwest.

In March, my vegetable garden is ready to be planted with warm-season vegetables such as corn, cucumbers and bush beans, while my winter vegetables are still ripening.  

Cauliflower, green onions, nasturtiums and hollyhocks.

But, in cooler climates – gardeners are still busy starting their seeds indoors.

So, what can a gardener do to get the right advice for their garden?

Jerome, Arizona

Check out a gardening guide for their region.

I enjoy reading the regional gardening guides from Sunset magazine as well as Phoenix Home & Garden magazine.

Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, I designed next to a golf course.

I have been privileged to write regional, monthly gardening guides for a national big box store, in newsletters, for magazines and for blogs for years – representing the Southwest.

The tips that I give in my regional gardening guides have been accumulated from my career as a horticulturist and include lessons learned from both successes and failures. 

*Believe it or not, I’ve also written regional gardening guides for the Rockies, the Great Lakes region, Florida and California – which I enjoy because I get to ‘stretch’ my gardening knowledge by going outside of my local gardening region.

Some of you know that I write the gardening content for the Birds & Blooms magazine’s blog.

Well, I am excited to share with you my latest writing project.

I am now the regional gardening writer for the Southwest for Houzz.com

 
 

 

 
 

Houzz is a great site that focused on helping people improve their homes and gardens with inspiration and advice.  They also have great gardening content including plant profiles, how-to projects as well as regional gardening guides.

I hope you’ll visit from time to time and hopefully come away with new information on how to make your garden even better.

However, regardless of whether you live in the Southwest (like me) or all the way up in Alaska…. find a regional gardening guide for your area.  Local magazines, newspapers are a good start as well as online gardening help like Houzz.com