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After a record-setting February, I think that it’s safe to say that spring has officially arrived.  Plants are waking up a bit early with flower buds bursting forth with glorious blooms.


‘Sierra Star’ Fairy Duster (Calliandra ‘Sierra Star’)

Of course, an early spring means that people are anxious to get out in the garden.  I always say that spring for horticulturists is like tax season for accountants as we get very busy helping others with their gardens.

This has certainly been true for me the past couple of weeks.  Staying up until 1 a.m. in the morning and then up early the next morning for the next appointment and afternoons spent designing landscapes and writing articles – I can hardly see straight at the end of the day.

I thought that I would give you a snapshot of the past 10 days.


It all started with an early morning meeting with a landscape committee regarding adding come color to the entry areas of a community.  An hour later, I was standing in the middle of a busy street, dodging traffic while taking multiple photographs of sixteen different corner landscapes.

Cereus peruvianus with golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Later that morning, I met with some clients who had a lovely home and a landscape with ‘good bones’, but that needed some more color according to the clients.

Ironwood tree (Olneya tesota)

The property was situated along a golf course and had lovely specimen trees that offered welcome filtered shade.

Fragrant flowers of Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

As I walked around the landscape taking photographs for my report, I took some time to stop and smell the fragrant blossoms of their Texas mountain laurel, which smelled like grape candy.

Pink bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides)

The next day, I visited a family who needed help redesigning their backyard.  However, as I approached the front door, my attention was caught by the beautiful pink bower vine that was blooming in the courtyard.

I spent that Wednesday working on designs and reports.

The next day, I visited a lovely ranch style home.  The backyard was wall-to-wall grass and the homeowner wanted to create a border around the entire yard filled with flowering shrubs and perennials.

‘Heavenly Cloud’ sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Heavenly Cloud’), yellow bells (Tecoma stans stans) and bougainvillea in my backyard.

As a flower type of girl myself, this was a fun design to get to work on.  I created a plant palette that included white and pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri)purple lilac vine (Hardenbergia violaceae)tufted evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa), firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana), and angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) among others to ensure year round blooms.


Friday found me at a beautiful home in the foothills where the client had recently moved in.  She wanted help adding more color as well as symmetry to the landscape.  This was a large project that was split up into four separate designs/reports.


Saturday morning was spent attending the SRP Water Expo, where I bought my discounted Smart Irrigation Controller.  


There were numerous displays, each with a focus on saving water in the landscape.  

I saw many people I knew and walked away with my new irrigation controller, which will save water in my landscape.  You can learn more about this controller and the Expo here.


After such a busy week, I indulged myself with getting a pedicure 🙂

This week was spent working on creating designs and reports for all of my consults the week before.   I did have a few appointments, one of which, involved issues with problems with the turf areas in HOA common areas during which, I spotted more suspected cases of oleander leaf scorch.


This area of Phoenix is seeing a lot of cases of this bacterial disease for which there is no known cure.  Affected oleanders typically die within 3 – 4 years from when they first show symptoms.

Gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida) and Parry’s penstemon (Penstemon parryi) in my front garden.


At home, my own landscape is having some work done.  Our 15-year-old drip irrigation system is being replaced.  The typical life span of a drip irrigation system is typically 10 – 15 years, so when ours started developing leaks and the valves also began to leak, we knew it was time.  So, my garden currently has trenches running through it with PVC pipe everywhere.  It will be nice to have it finished and working soon.

On another note, my little grandson, Eric, is now 13 months old.  He is a bright ray of sunshine in my life and helps me to keep life in perspective when the busyness of life threatens to overwhelm me.  


I am so blessed to have a front row seat as he is learning and discovering the world around him.  

I think he would like his own pair of cowboy boots, don’t you?

As summer begins to slowly fade and the heat begins to dissipate, the Southwestern garden comes alive.



Plants perk up in the absence of 100+ degree temperatures and people begin to venture outdoors  (without their hats!) to enjoy their beautiful surroundings.

When people talk about their favorite season, many will tell you that spring is the time that they enjoy the most as their gardens come alive, spring forth with new green growth and colorful blooms.

Sky Flower (Duranta erecta)

While spring is a glorious time in the desert landscape with winter blooms overlapping with spring flowering plants along with cactus flowers – it isn’t the only ‘spring’ that the desert experiences.


Fall is often referred to as the “second spring” in the desert Southwest as plants take on a refreshed appearance due to the cooler temperatures with many still producing flowers.  Many birds, butterflies and other wildlife reappear during the daytime hours in autumn.

Desert residents often find themselves making excuses to spend more time outdoors whether it’s taking a longer walk or bringing their laptop outdoors where they can enjoy the comfortable temperatures and surrounding beauty of the landscape.


Fall is also a time where we take a look around our own garden setting and decide to make some changes whether it is taking out thirsty, old plants replacing them with attractive, drought tolerant plants or creating an outdoor room by expanding a patio or perhaps adding a pergola.

Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus v. wrightii) 

No matter where you live – the East Coast, Midwest, Northwest, etc., fall is the best time of year to add new plants to the landscape as it provides plants with 3 seasons in which to grow a good root system before the heat of the next summer arrives.

What do you enjoy most about fall?  

**Thinking of making some changes to your landscape?  Click here for a list my favorite drought tolerant plants that provide fall blooms.  

Have you ever come upon something in a surprising place?


I have – just yesterday, as a matter of fact.


I found myself driving through the historic neighborhoods of the Encanto district in downtown Phoenix, yesterday morning.  I had just finished up a landscape consultation in the area and I decided to take some time and drive through the neighborhoods and admire the homes in the historic district.  


My goal was to see if I could find the home that my grandparents owned in the 1940’s.  While I didn’t find the home, I did see a house that not only made me stop my car – I had to get out for a closer look.

What first drew my eye was this parking strip (also known as a ‘hellstrip‘) between the sidewalk and street.  It was filled with a bounty of flowering annuals and perennials.

I could believe that this was growing just blocks away from the skyscrapers of downtown Phoenix. 


I whipped out my phone and started to take pictures.  While the California poppies, red flax and plains coreopsis caught my eye, in the background I noticed the old, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum where the Arizona State Fair is held every fall.


As I made my way up the planting bed, I saw more colorful, annual flowers intermixed with globe mallow, ‘Thundercloud’ sage and red yucca.


One flower that I did not expect to see growing in the desert, not to mention downtown Phoenix, was larkspur with its deep purple spikes.


Multi-colored bachelor’s button flowers grew among scarlet flax and plains coreopsis.

As I stood admiring the effect that all these flowering plants had on the street landscape, I happened to meet the son (James) of the owner of the house.  He was busy working out in the garden and he was flattered at my interest in this space that he had created.

Last fall, James took 3 packs of wildflower seeds (multiple varieties) and threw them on the bare parking strip, added some compost on the top and watered well.  Then he watched them come up and even he couldn’t believe how beautiful they were.

It just goes to show you that wildflowers are easy to grow and thrive on neglect.

He then offered to show me what he had done to the backyard and I couldn’t wait to see it after seeing what he done on the outside.

(A few of the following photos are a bit blurry.  I’m not sure what went wrong with my phone’s camera, but you can still get a sense of the beauty in the backyard.)


The backyard consisted of a lawn, which was split in two by a large planting bed filled with hollyhocks.


I love hollyhocks and always have some growing in my garden.  They self-seed and flower for me every spring.  All I give them is a little water – that’s all they need.


The small patio in the back of the house was filled with an old-fashioned table and chairs – it fit the age of the home perfectly!

The pathway that separated the two lawn areas and led to the garage in the back, was created using concrete molded in to geometric shapes.


Bermuda grass was allowed to grow into the cracks for an interesting look.


The patio was edged with flowering annuals and yellow daisy (Euryops pectinatus).


In this blurry photo, a large crown-of-thorns plant was thriving in a tiny container.  Believe it or not, it is 20 years old and is seemingly thriving in a very small pot.  According to James, he waters it twice week in summer and weekly throughout the rest of the year.


Two Chinese elm trees provided dappled shade on this beautiful spring’s day.


A small potting bench stood in front of the wooden fence that had been painted a greenish-chartreuse color, which blended in well with the garden.

A fountain stood in the center of this grassy area, adding the refreshing sound of water.

I could just imagine how relaxing it would be to enjoy this outdoor space, even in the middle of summer with all of its shade.


As I bade a reluctant goodbye to the hollyhocks, we then ventured back out to the parking strip and James then showed me that he had planted wildflowers next to the detached garage.



Bright pink and vibrant orange – doesn’t that remind you of the 70’s?


These tall poppies were planted from 3 year-old seed that James was going to throw out.  I’m certainly glad that he decided to plant them instead.
While old seed won’t germinate as well as young seed, you’ll often still get some seeds to sprout – just not as many.


Poppies always have a spot in my garden.  I have red poppies with black centers that come up every year from seed.  They grow in my vegetable garden where they get the extra water that they need.

It is unexpected surprises like this that make life interesting.  This garden was fairly small, but beautifully tended to.  Ironically, most of what was growing in it, grew from seed with little effort.

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Easter is always a busy time in our family.  After church in the morning, we all gather at my mother’s for a delicious dinner and more importantly, the Easter egg hunt for the kids.

My granddaughter, Lily, was really getting the hang of finding the eggs.


But, even the big kids were able to find a lot of eggs too!


Here I am posing with my sisters (I’m the one in the middle).  While we don’t plan to take photos together, we always seem to get one of the three of us together every Easter.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday!
Firecracker Penstemon
While much of the country is suffering from a truly awful winter season, those of us who live in the Southwest are having the exactly opposite problem.

This has been a very warm winter season, with the exception of a few freezing nights back in December.

With temps 10 – 15 degrees above normal, we have been enjoying temps in the 70’s.  

I have seen some signs of our warm winter including the fact that I have ditched my slippers and am going barefoot every chance I get.  Plants have begun to emerge from their winter dormancy and people are asking me if they can prune their frost-damage plants early.

In regards to the pruning question, there is still a chance of Southwestern residents getting a spell of freezing weather before we approach the average last frost date.  So, pruning too early can actually hurt your plants if by some miracle temps dip below 32 degrees.


But, that may not stop everyone from grabbing the pruners.  If you happen to be one of these impatient pruners, make sure that you cover your recently pruned plants if temps dip into the low 30’s.

In the meantime, enjoy the glorious weather!

Do you have plants in your garden? 


I am assuming the answer is “yes” if you are reading a gardening blog.  If you have trees, shrubs and ground covers in your landscape, then you have to deal with cleaning up fallen leaves.

 
It used to be that the tool of choice for cleaning up dead leaves was a trusty leaf rake.  As a child, I remember scattering the piles of leaves that my father had spent hours carefully raking up, much to his dismay.

 

 
Well that was then.  Now, we have helpful equipment such as leaf blowers that make cleaning up leaves much easier.


As a member of Troy-Bilt’s Saturday 6, I have partnered with the folks at Troy-Bilt on their new campaign and have been able to try out quite a few of their products.   


 
Early last year, I had the opportunity to test one of Troy-Bilt’s handheld leaf blowers.  I was impressed at how easily it started and its relatively light weight, which made it easy to use.
 
For my own landscape, Troy-Bilt sent me a 4-cycle TB4BP backpack blower to try out.
 
 
The blower came with easy to follow directions, which made assembly easy.  Troy-Bilt also has a helpful video that guides new users in step-by-step assembly, including instructions for use and how to maintain the blower.
 
 
The backpack harness is adjustable and made from a nylon mesh, which help keeps the wearer cool.
 
 
I must confess that I do not like pull-starts.  As a horticulturist and certified arborist, I have had to operate my share of equipment and it can be challenging for a woman to use equipment that has a pull-start.
 
One of the things that I have been most impressed with, after operating numerous pieces of Troy-Bilt equipment, is how easy it is to use their pull-starts.  In addition, much of their equipment has the ability to be started with JumpStart.
 
 
This rechargeable starter uses a drill bit, that fits into a portal and starts up equipment without having to use a pull-start.  
 
I did not have to use the JumpStart for my new leaf blower, because the pull start was easy to use.
 
 
The front landscape was filled with fallen flowers, leaves and seed pods, so I got to work.
 
My palo verde tree had finished flowering and the fallen flowers had dried and faded, so I used my leaf blower to help clean them up.
 
 
I then moved onto using the blower to collect a few fallen seedpods from my cascalote tree into a pile.
 
On the inner handle of the blower is a cruise control lever, which allows you to set the speed of the air blowing out.
 
 
The next task for my new blower was cleaning up the fallen leaves from my large sissoo tree. 
 
 
I got a little carried away with the power of the leaf blower – it can blow up to 150 mph, which is helpful for large piles.  My piles weren’t too big, so I used the cruise control lever on the handle to lock in the desired speed.
 
 
I blew the leaves into a corner, which made it easy to trap the leaves.
 
 
Did I mention that Troy-Bilt sells vacuums that can suck up leaves?  I may need to get one 😉
 
 
Did you know that leaves can make a great mulch for plants?  In nature, leaves fall and decay, enriching the soil. I took some of the leaves and used them around my newly-planted feathery cassia shrubs.
 
 
I took the rest of my newly-blown leaves and put them in my compost pile, where are considered “browns” or carbon-rich material.  The other part of compost is made up of “greens” or nitrogen-rich material.  
 
The leaves will break down and enrich my compost, which I will later use in my edible gardens.
 
 
I took my blower into my largest edible garden where I used it to clean out fallen debris underneath my blackberry bushes.
 
**For areas struggling with drought, a leaf blower can be a great way to clean a sidewalk, driveway or deck instead of using spraying with water.  I love seeing dirt being blown out of the seams in my patio.
 
 
The TB4BP is a 4-cycle Gas Leaf Blower that runs on unleaded gasoline – there is no need to mix gas and oil.  
 
Thoughts and observations:
 
– The leaf blower was surprisingly light and the backpack was comfortable.  After blowing my entire landscape, my back felt fine.
 
– The blower worked great for blowing leaves, but without using the cruise control, the powerful engine can blow piles apart when you are attempting to pull them together.  So, I will always use the cruise control to set the desired speed.
 
– The long, flexible handle was easy to use and decreased the elbow strain that some people can get moving a hand-held leaf blower side to side.
 
– As I mentioned before, this blower is very easy to start.
 
If you have a large garden, then a backpack blower may be just what you need.  However, for those of you who have a smaller landscape, one of Troy-Bilt’s handheld leaf blowers may be just right for you.
 
The great news is that folks at Troy-Bilt are allowing me to give away a brand new leaf blower!
 
The winner of this giveaway can choose the TB4BP Backpack model or the handheld TB4HB Gas Leaf Blower model.
 
All you need to do is leave a comment.  For an extra entry, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter and be sure to let me know when you leave a comment.
(Be sure to leave your email address if it’s not on your profile, or I won’t have any way to contact you.)
 
I will pick a random entry on Saturday, May 31st.UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO SEE WHO WON!

 
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I am a proud owner of several pieces of Troy-Bilt equipment.  You can read about my experience with Troy-Bilt’s Neighborhood Rider Lawn Mower and my String Trimmer, Cultivator and Chain Saw.
I am paid for my involvement with the Saturday 6 and the equipment, described above, was provided to me at no cost by TroyBilt, who wanted my honest opinion – good or bad.  I can honestly state that I am very impressed by the quality and design of their leaf blowers and other pieces of equipment that I have tested.
 

Where do you expect to see vegetable gardens planted?


Most of the time, vegetable gardens are found in the backyard.


But, have you ever  thought of locating your vegetable garden somewhere else?


This home in the Encanto district, in downtown Phoenix, has a great way of utilizing space in the front yard for growing vegetables.  


The homeowners decided to utilize the space beside their driveway for planting a vegetable garden.

I think that this vegetable garden looks great in this area, don’t you think?

By the way, do know why the homeowner has planted flowers at the end of each vegetable row?

The marigolds and lavender not only add beauty to the garden, they serve an important role in keeping bad bugs away from the vegetables.

Pairing flowering plants and herbs with vegetables is a practice known as “companion gardening”. 

 There are many other plants that can be planted with vegetables to keep damaging insects away.  You can read more about companion gardening here.


I also like how the homeowners added vegetables in front of the house.  Some people would tend to plant annual flowers in this area instead, but think how much more fun it would be to plant vegetables there instead.

The vegetables look at home among the ornamental plants such as Agave angustifolia, Texas Mountain Laurel and Red Yucca


A couple of years ago, I was driving home from a landscape consult and saw this home’s front yard filled with raised beds.


I returned a few months later to visit these vegetable gardens filled with zucchini, Swiss chard, tomatillos and carrots.


This is another home in east Phoenix that has homemade trellises, made from rebar and wire, with cucumber plants growing up on them.  

The cucumbers are in the perfect spot where they receive afternoon shade from the large front yard tree.

Both of these gardens are planted and managed by the Farmyard group, who grow organic produce on urban farms in Phoenix and Scottsdale.  You can find out more about this group and the services the offer here.

As cool as these vegetable gardens are, most of us cannot grow vegetables in our front yard due to HOA restrictions.

However, if you do not live in a neighborhood with an HOA, maybe you should think about including vegetables in your front yard?

You can start out small – maybe that area that you would normally plant flowers?  
** A word of caution: don’t plant vegetables in front if you have problems with deer, rabbits or javelina.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about growing vegetables in the front yard…

*Disclosure: I was given this book, free of charge, for my honest review. 

Anyone who likes to garden knows that birds are naturally attracted to many types of plants – especially native plants.

Costa’s Hummingbird visiting the velvety flowers of Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)
I particularly enjoy watching the hummingbirds visiting my garden.  
 
The blooms of Ocotillo are irresistible to hummingbirds.
As I visit other gardens, I enjoy seeing the feathered visitors and note what it is about that garden space they find attractive.
As a garden writer, I am often given the opportunity to review books by the folks at Timber Press -especially those that marry gardening with birding.
 
So, I was thrilled to see their latest book on my doorstep…
 
 
This is a fabulous book filled with all you need to know to attract birds to your garden.
 
For example, what if you could create a bird-friendly garden that attracted birds that you don’t always commonly see in your neighborhood?
 
 
One winter, this small blue bird found its way onto my garden wall.  I had never seen any type of blue bird visit my garden, so I was thrilled.
House finches gather for a quick bite of bird seed.

For many people, our efforts to attract birds consists of hanging out a bird feeder and filling it with seed.

 
While you are providing food for birds by doing this, they require more then bird seed.  They need water, shelter and native plants to feed upon.


Gardening For the Birds by George Adams, will help you to create a sanctuary in your own garden filled with beautiful plants that will attract feathered visitors.

Inside this book are lists of plants, separated by region, that will help to attract birds to your garden.  In addition, many of these plants have over-lapping bloom cycles, which are there to provide a year-round source of food for birds.
 
I am not a black & white type of girl – I don’t like books about gardening (or birding) that only have black & white photos.  That is why I love the colorful photos of plants and birds in Gardening for Birds.
 
So are you ready to move beyond your bird feeder?  Get this book and learn how to add shelter, water, nesting sites AND native plants to your garden.  You will soon be rewarded with a wide variety of birds visiting your garden.
 
Roadrunner checking out the front patio.
Now, I am not going to let go of my copy of this book.  BUT, I AM HOSTING A GIVEAWAY WHERE YOU CAN WIN YOUR OWN COPY!
 
If you only own one book about birds and gardening – this is the one!  It would also make a fabulous gift for the bird-lover in your life (Christmas is just around the corner).
 
All you need to do is to add a comment, below, to this post.  For an extra entry – ‘like’ me on Facebook or ‘follow’ me on Twitter.
 I will pick a winner 1 week from today.  
 *I was provided a copy of this book for free, for my honest review.


Enjoying the beautiful birds of summer!

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*
Have you ever seen a miniature garden?  They are becoming very popular and are sometimes called ‘fairy gardens’. I must admit that I’ve been quite intrigued by them and so I was very excited with the publishers of “Gardening in Miniature” sent me a book, free of charge, for my honest review.
 
If you aren’t familiar with miniature gardens, it is helpful to think of them as large gardens shrunk down in size into a tiny world that fits into a single container.
 
If you like to peruse Pinterest, you have undoubtedly seen some great examples of miniature or fairy gardens.
 
I came upon a collection of miniature gardens for sale at an antique shop in upstate New York a couple of years ago.
 
 
They were planted in old enamelware pots and bowls.
 
As you can see, there is a pathway delineated by the larger pebbles, small fiber optic grasses, and a yellow viola in this garden.
 
This garden has a tiny shovel and watering can in it.  
 
For some people, the accessories are the most enjoyable part of creating a miniature garden.  I would probably be stuck in my local Michael’s or Hobby Lobby trying to decide what small accessories to include in my little garden.
 
I must admit that I have been thinking of creating my own miniature garden.  Imagine a tiny world neatly contained inside of a pot.  For those of you who experience cold winters, you can enjoy having a little garden indoors all winter long.
 
Have you considered trying to create a miniature garden?
 
Well, if you have – then I have a great book for you to read…
 
 
Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo is a visual feast of beautiful and unique little gardens.
 
Of course, there is much more than miniature garden photos.  The book has all the information you will need to create your own tiny garden.  From container selection, a list of plants, soil type and how to care for your little garden – this book covers it all.
 
A beautiful garden is well-designed and small gardens are no different.  Gardening in Miniature offers helpful advice on how to design your tiny garden using plants, pebbles, water features and adding small furniture or figurines.
Have you ever created your own miniature garden?
 
*I was given this book, free of charge, for my honest review.

Spring is in full bloom in my garden.  I love this time of year and frequently walk around, noting what is blooming and how quickly everything is growing.

Timber Press has a great tool for helping you get ready for spring.  They have monthly tips and are offering one of their great giveaways.  

The giveaway consists of a collection of their most popular gardening books. 
I had the opportunity to read one of their recent books and I just love it! 
Those of you who know me personally, know that one thing that I don’t like are landscapes that require a lot of maintenance.  
My ‘new’ favorite gardening book is called “The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden” by Valerie Easton.
 
She shares many of the same gardening philosophies that I do.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
“…..they have a minimum of lawn, little pruning or dividing to be done…Most often, plants are placed where they can grow to their own natural sizes and shapes without interference.”
“….most are neither manicured nor scruffy, but maintained at a state somewhere in between that might be called lived-in.”
 I love that description, don’t you?

Leaf lettuce and garlic grow among alyssum, nasturtiums and violas, which repel bad bugs and attract beneficial insects to my vegetable garden.
 Here is my favorite quote that I feel describes my garden perfectly:
“New low-maintenance gardens offer beauty to feed your eyes, flowers to fill your house, fruit and vegetables to fill your family and friend‘s bellies….but don’t wear you out on the way.”
The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden has great tips and guidelines to get you on your way to creating your own beautiful, low-maintenance garden.
Take a few minutes to check out the Timber Press guide to spring and enter their “Ready, Set, Grow!” giveaway. 

 

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