Do you like orange flowers?
|Orange Jubilee (Tecoma x ‘Orange Jubilee’)|
I am always on the lookout for beautiful landscapes that are well-designed and need minimal care. I like to call them sustainable or ‘fuss-free’ landscapes.
A week ago, my friend and fellow-blogger, Pam Penick came into town on a quest to see examples of gardens that use little water. So, I was more then happy to spend a day with her looking at some great examples of gardens around the greater Phoenix area.
The first part of our journey began with a visit to the beautifully-designed Arizona State Polytechnic Campus, which included cisterns, man-made arroyos and creative uses for urbanite. If you missed it, you can read about our visit, here.
The second leg of our tour took us to a butterfly/hummingbird demonstration garden along a golf course and a well-designed parking lot (yes, I said a parking lot).
First, was our visit to a butterfly/hummingbird demonstration garden.
|Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatoni)|
|Pink Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)|
|Coral Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua ‘Coral’)|
|Firecracker Penstemon, Purple Trailing Lantana and Damianita.|
|White Globe Mallow|
Last week, as I was frantically rushing around getting ready to fly out to Chicago to attend my daughter’s Navy graduation, I received an email from a reader of my blog, which literally stopped me in my tracks and brought a huge smile to my face.
When you blog, it is almost always a one-way conversation. I don’t often get to know if my ‘ramblings’ help or inspire others, except for when I meet some of you in person. So, this email just made my day (or should I say, my entire month).
Here is a small excerpt…
“Since moving here (from SC three years ago) my son and I have found your Pinterest Page, and Facebook page AND blog as our source when we have questions about things we have planted. Because of that my 14 year old has been mightily successful in his gardening efforts: veggie gardens, herbs and his hummingbird garden too. This mother thanks you for being willing to show not only your success but not quite so successful growth too (ie your onions.- they weren’t failures, just small). Jacob, my son, was so gleeful (as most boys [I guess] would be) when he pulled his onions this week and they were bigger than yours. (I don’t know what it is about competition and boys…. ) He is currently awaiting his corn harvest. He has planted two varieties to compare the difference- one The Golden Cross Bantam (Hybrid) and some other kind I cannot think of at the moment (silver queen or something..)“
I wrote her back and told her how much her email meant to me. And then, I wondered if she wouldn’t mind if I make her son’s garden a subject of an upcoming blog post.
Jacob is 14 years old and in addition to being a great gardener, also likes birding.
Are you ready to see Jacob’s garden?
“There are many things I have added to my hummingbird garden.
That is it so far but you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Four different species have visited my garden; Anna’s hummingbirds are year round residents, Black-chinned hummingbirds stay throughout the summer, the Rufous and Broad-tailed hummingbirds are common in migration. The hummingbird garden is situated near our kitchen window(s), I really enjoy sitting at the table watching them. Last year we actually got to enjoy watching a mama Anna Hummer feeding her babies. The house Finch and sometimes the red headed woodpecker visit too. The curved bill thrashers love to eat the bugs.”
“Some of my favorite vegetable(s) to grow here is corn, and tomatoes The corn partly because it is something new for me to try producing. I am growing two types this year; Bantam corn and sweet corn. I will compare the two to see which harvests the most and grows better. The tomatoes have so many new varieties that I have not grown before so I am having a blast trying new tomatoes this year. I am trying the Summer Set tomato, Lemon boy, Roma, Cherry tomato, Big Beef, Early Girl, and of course the Phoenix. All have produced except the Phoenix, so far.
I also planted Okra last year. The plant generated much, but I waited till they were to big and they were bitter. I kept the plants though because the flowers were very pleasing to the eye.
White Icicle Radishes were another vegetable I had fun growing. I found a watermelon called Moon and Stars that was believed to be extinct, I am growing that also.”
“Squash seems to be the hardest for me to grow here in Arizona. I haven’t been to successful but I keep trying. I have Zucchini and crook- necked squash growing this year, hopefully I will be a little more successful.”
“I would love try Purple Bell Peppers. They would be fun to grow, and to eat.”
“My gardening tips are more of an encouragement. Never be afraid to try new things even here in the desert. Some things might be successful, some may not. Don’t give up even if your things don’t produce. Try again, they may in the next year. Gardening is about succeeding and failures and learning from them.
|Praying Mantis hatched from a purchased egg case.|
Now you may be wondering how on earth am I going to combine the above topics into one post.
Well, they all occurred yesterday while we were visiting my in-law’s house. We go there every week to help out around the house and do the things that my father-in-law can no longer do since he is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Okay, first I will talk about curiosity and a bug. Actually this involves my three youngest children and a praying mantis that they found in my in-law’s backyard.