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Have you ever been on live television?  

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said “no”.  I had done some filming for “how-to” gardening videos for SheKnows.com – but they weren’t live and took place in my back garden.  Somehow, live TV is quite different.

Last time, I told you about my upcoming appearance on our local ABC station to talk about creative container gardening tips.

Posing next to my newly-planted container filled with purple basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley.  White petunias add beauty to the pot.

Posing next to my newly-planted container filled with purple basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley.  White petunias add beauty to the pot.

This was the second time that I had been asked to appear on Sonoran Living, which is a local morning program.

Last time I was on the show, I spoke about ‘Fuss Free’ Plants.  This time, I would be talking about  creative tips for container gardening.  

So, I went shopping for my ‘props’.  I decided to plant an herb container as well as a pot filled with vegetables and flowers.  I bought several medium-sized pots, a variety of potting mixes and of course, plants.

 Sonoran Living

My sister came along with me to help with the props and setting up.  I had planted the pots ahead of time, so setting up wasn’t too difficult.

The main focus of the demonstration would be the three pots, the potting mixes and the recyclable grocery bag.

They tell you to bring a lot of props, which look good on television.  So, I brought gardening gloves, some hand tools and extra plants to help ‘set the stage’. My microphone was there for me to put on and I was almost ready.  

 Sonoran Living , Finishing up planting my vegetable/flower container.

Finishing up planting my vegetable/flower container.

Last time I was on the show, mine was the first segment.  It went very fast and we were back on the road before the show was over.

This time, I was to go last.  So after everything was set up, my sister and I were invited to wait in the staff break room.

To say that I wasn’t nervous would be an exaggeration.  But, I was not as nervous as my first time.  It’s actually not as hard as doing a “how-to” video where you have to talk to the camera.  On the show, I am talking to a person who asks me questions so I don’t speak directly to the camera at all.  If you lose your train of thought, they are there to get you back on track.

Of the tips I shared on air – using recycled, plastic containers to fill the bottom of large pots as well as using a recycled grocery bag as a container were the most popular with the hosts.

I had a great time and hope to be invited back again.

Below, is the link for my container gardening segment and at the end you see where I accidentally got involved in a conversation at the end about “Dancing With the Stars”.

“CREATIVE CONTAINER GARDENING TIPS”

I hope you enjoy it and come away with some helpful tips that you can use when creating your own container garden.

**You can view my first appearance on Sonoran Living where I talk about “Fuss-Free Plants” here.

Which type of shrub would you prefer in your garden?

Over-Pruning and Ways to Avoid Them

This one?

Over-Pruning and Ways to Avoid Them

Or, this one?

Believe it or not, these are the same type of shrub.

Did you know that over-pruning causes a lot of problems in the landscape that affect the shrub, water usage and your wallet?

I was recently asked to write an article for the folks at Water Use It Wisely, which is a water conservation campaign created by cities in the greater Phoenix metro area.

The article I wrote talks about the specific problems that over-pruning causes along with ways to avoid over-pruning.  

Over-Pruning and Ways to Avoid Them

You can read the article by clicking, here.

I hope you find it informative.  **If you have a friend or neighbor who has an over-pruned landscape, you may want to forward the link to them 🙂  

Every year as Christmas approaches and most of my plants have gone to sleep for the winter, my favorite shrub is just getting started…

valentine bush

It begins with small buds appearing along each branch.

valentine bush

By mid-January, the buds have burst open, exposing their crimson centers.

 red flowers

By Valentine’s Day, my shrubs are absolutely covered in masses of red flowers.

Wonder what this shrub is called?

“Valentine”

(Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)

You can find out more about my favorite shrub and what it looks like when not in bloom in my latest article for Houzz

 

Kitchen ideas, bathroom ideas, and more ∨

From designer seating and office desks to message boards and credenza, create your dream home office.
Light up your living spaces with recessed lights, designer chandeliers or even a row of pendant lights.

 

 
Ocotillo

Beautiful Ocotillo Flowers

There is little that can compare to the dramatic silhouette that Ocotillo add to the landscape.

I have been fascinated by these plants ever since I moved to the desert, over 27 years ago.

Since then, I have planted Ocotillo in landscapes around golf courses and even have one of my own, which was a gift for Mother’s Day years ago.

If you would like to learn more about Ocotillo including the fact that they are actually shrubs and not cactus, like many people assume – please check out my latest article for Houzz.com

 

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Hire residential landscape architects to help with all aspects of landscape design, from selecting or designing garden furniture, to siting a detached garage or pergola.
As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough dining benches and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and kitchen knives sets for food preparation.

**I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and that your refrigerator is filled with delicious leftovers 🙂

Now on to Christmas, my FAVORITE time of year!  

Two Iconic Sonoran Desert Plants: Saguaro and Ocotillo

Have you ever been on television before?

I hadn’t until 2 weeks ago.  To be frank, the idea was a bit scary to me.  

Do you remember way back, when you were in school and had to present a report in front of the entire class?  That is what I imagined it would feel like – except worse.

I have done work before cameras doing how-to videos, but it wasn’t quite the same since they can retake the video every time you mess up. 

This was going to be live TV…

So, how did this all come about?  I assure that I don’t have an agent looking to book TV shows for me 😉

The producer of our local ABC television station contacted me about appearing on their morning show, called Sonoran Living (we live in the Sonoran desert, hence the name).

She asked me to do a segment on plants for fall.

So, I came up with a list of a few of my favorite ‘fuss-free’ plants and headed out the nursery.

I visited 3 different nurseries to see which ones had the best looking plants.  Then I waited until 2 days before my appearance to pick them up.

You know what true love is?  It is when your husband traipses through the nursery with you without an umbrella in the pouring rain 🙂

It was so rainy for the next couple of days that I kept the plants on my patio and took some time to do a little ‘window dressing’ pruning away dead flowers and branches so that they would look their best.

My youngest sister, Grace, volunteered to come with me to the studio and help me set up for my segment.  So, I loaded up the plants and my little cart and we headed out to downtown Phoenix and the television studio.

When we arrived, the security guard let us in and showed us the studio and then led us to the green room.

I did walk through the studio before anyone got there, to see what it looked like because I knew I wouldn’t see it again since my segment was to be filmed out on their patio.

 My sister, who is a professional photographer, told me to pose up front where the hosts of the show come out every morning.

We headed to the green room where we saw the order of the upcoming segments.

I must admit that I was both more nervous and yet relieved that mine was to go first, so that I could get it over with more quickly.

We were led outside to the patio, which had a golfing green.  I’m not sure why there was a green – maybe the news anchors like to golf during their breaks?

Another reason I was so glad my sister came with me was that in addition to moral support, she is great at staging.  So she did the plant placement for me along with some of the props that I brought.

She will tell you that she has no particular talent in staging, but she is wrong!  Just look at how well the plants look together.

I brought gardening tools and my leather gloves because I was told to bring props.

I posed for a few pictures while waiting.  The plants next to me are Blue Bells (Eremophila hygrophana) and Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera).

It was so humid that morning because of all the rain, that my carefully curled hair was rapidly becoming UN-curled 😉

I was told to prepare for a ‘teaser’ before my segment, so I tried to look busy putting a plant marker in my pot of chives.

One of the hosts (Terri Ouellette) of Sonoran Living came out early to meet me and go over what I was going to talk about.  She was very nice and I told her that I had been watching her on TV since the 90’s.

It was almost time to go and they wired me up with a mike and they put a monitor outside so we could see what the television audience saw.  

Instead of beginning the show inside the studio, they started it outside and then it was time for my segment.

The segment went smoothly and while my nerves showed a little, I actually enjoyed it.  I did mess up by saying “All of these shrubs need pruning one year”, when I meant to say that they need pruning once a year.

After it was over and the commercial was running, our host Terri said that she wanted me on again – so I guess I didn’t mess it up too badly.

Before we left, my sister asked if she could take a picture of me with the host.  I was too embarrassed to ask myself, so I was glad she did 🙂

So, would I do this again?

I received an email the day after from the producer saying that she wanted me back in 3 months.  I’d told her that I’d be happy too.

I think that I will enjoy it more next time and have fewer nerves.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the video, here is the link – “Ready? Fuss Free Plants for Fall”.

Do you like spending hours pruning and fertilizing your plants?  Or maybe you are tired of having to spend money on monthly visits from your landscaper.

I have been asked to show some ‘fuss free’ plants for fall planting on Sonoran Living, which is a local lifestyle show on our local Phoenix ABC network. The show will air on September 10th at 9:00. (I must admit that I am a little nervous.  I am off to my favorite nurseries to select some plants for the taping this Sunday, after church).

So, enough about my nerves….

What if you could have a landscape full of beautiful plants that only need pruning once a year and little to no fertilizer?

Now you may be thinking that I am talking about a landscape full of cactus, like the photo below – but I’m not.    

The key to selecting ‘fuss free’ plants is to choose plants that are adapted to our arid climate.

Here are a few of my favorite ‘fuss free’ plants that need pruning once a year or less…

Firecracker Penstemon

Firecracker Penstemon(Penstemon eatoni) is great addition to any desert landscape.  It’s orange/red flowers appear in late winter and last through the spring.  Hummingbirds find them irresistible.

Maintenance: Prune off the dead flower spikes in spring.

Hardy to -20 degrees.

Plant in full sun.

Damianita

Damianita(Chrysactinia mexicana) is a low-growing groundcover that is covered with tiny green leaves.  Masses of golden yellow flowers appear in spring and again in the fall.

Maintenance: Prune back to 6″ in late February.

Hardy to 0 degrees.

Plant in full sun.  Damianita looks great next to boulders or lining a pathway.

Gulf Muhly ‘Regal Mist’

Gulf Muhly(Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’) is a fabulous choice for the landscape.  This ornamental grass is green in spring and then covered in burgundy plumes in the fall.

Maintenance: Prune back to 6 inches in late winter.

Hardy to 0 degrees.

Plant in full sun in groups of 3 to 5.  Gulf Muhly also looks great when planted next to large boulders or around trees.

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera)

Mexican Honeysuckle(Justicia spicigera) is the perfect plant for areas with filtered shade.  Tubular orange flowers appear off an on throughout the year that attract hummingbirds.

Maintenance: Little to no pruning required.  Prune if needed, in late winter.

Hardy to 15 degrees.

Plant in filtered shade such as that provided by Palo Verde or Mesquite trees.  Add Purple Trailing Lantana in the front for a beautiful color contrast.

Baja Fairy Duster

Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica) has truly unique flowers that are shaped like small feather dusters.  The red flowers appear spring through fall and occasionally in winter.

Maintenance: Prune back by 1/2 in late winter, removing any frost damage.  Avoid pruning into ’round’ shapes.  Baja Fairy Duster has a lovely vase-shape when allowed to grow into its natural shape.

Hardy to 20 degrees.

Plant in full sun against a wall.  Baja Fairy Duster can handle locations with hot, reflected heat.

Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis formerly, Hymenoxys acaulis) is a little powerhouse in the garden.  Bright yellow flowers appear throughout the entire year.

Maintenance: Clip off the spent flowers every 3 months.

Hardy to -20 degrees.

Plant in full sun in groups of 3 around boulders.  Pair with Firecracker Penstemon for color contrast.  Thrives along walkways in narrow areas that receive full, reflected sun.

These are just a few ‘fuss free’ plants that you can add to your landscape this fall, which is the best time of year to add plants in the Desert Southwest.

*******************************

So, I will be heading to the television studio early Tuesday morning with my sister, who will help me set up and take photos of the whole experience.  I promise to share the video link for those of you who would like to watch it 🙂

**For more of my favorite ‘fuss free’ plants, check out my latest post.

August has arrived, which means that my kids have started school and peace has descended on my house 🙂

Soon fall will be here, which is a very busy time in the Southwest garden because it is the best time of year to add new plants to the garden.

But in the meantime, there are still tasks that need to be done this month in the garden.

Here is my latest Southwest To Do List from Houzz.com

 

 

 

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨

 

Hire residential landscape architects to help with all aspects of landscape design, from selecting or designing patio furniture, to siting a detached garage or pergola.
Highlight your home”s architecture with the expert advice of interior design specialists and top home decorators.

hope your week is off to a good start.

There is still time to enter my giveaway for the newest book from Timber Press –

“Miniature Garden Giveaway – Create Your Own Living World”

Last week, I hinted at the garden video that I created for the folks at Troybilt as part of my paid partnership with the ‘Saturday 6’.

In the past, I have been in gardening videos, but I had a film crew who did all the filming and editing for the videos for their website.

This time, there was no film crew.  I was asked to create a homemade ‘how-to’ video for Troybilt on a gardening subject that I selected.

I decided to create a video on one of my favorite subjects…

“How to grow vegetables with ornamental plants in containers.”


The video is supposed to be amateurish and not polished.  I can assure you that I fulfilled their requirements.  There is no way that anyone can mistake my video as professionally done.

But, I had fun and I hope you like it.



 

 




Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time having my picture taken.

I must admit, that I don’t like having my picture taken much.  I end up feeling self-conscious and start thinking about how ‘weird’ my expression must look (which is why I didn’t mind posing for the photo, above 😉

Unfortunately, I did need some photos for articles and my other blog that I write for.  I had put it off for a long time.  But I needed to get my kids annual photos taken AND I had obtained the services of a very talented, up and coming photographer for their photos.  So, it made sense for me to get my pictures done at the same time.

You may be wondering what photographer I was able to engage.  Well, I am blessed that my youngest sister, Grace, is a fabulous photographer.

She takes photos for other families and for some businesses as well.  She also posts great pictures on her blog FinleyandOliver.com

At this point, I should mention that we haven’t gotten our kids pictures taken at school for a long time.  I got tired of their ‘fake’ smiles, messy hair and the fact that they looked nothing like their normal selves.  So, I have taken ‘school’ pictures of them every year.

This year was going to be the best because my sister was going to take their pictures instead of me…

I love this photo of my three youngest.  This will be the photo we give to the grandmas for Christmas.

They each had their picture taken separately and it was so fun to see my sister in action – she is so good posing the kids and making them feel relaxed.

Then, it was my turn…  

My sister knows me so well – especially all my ‘quirks’ and hang-ups and the fact that I don’t feel all that comfortable as the sole subject in a picture.  So, she kept talking to me while I was posing – making me feel much more comfortable.

My sister’s dog, Soda Pop, came over to visit while we were taking pictures.  (Soda is the daughter of my dog, Missy.)

I had brought some props over from my garden.  An old watering can that I planted annuals in, an antique blue bottle with cosmos from my garden and some gardening tools.

At this point, I was getting more comfortable and we were almost finished; when my sister said, “We need to get a picture of you holding a chicken.”

So, she rushed off to find her friendliest chicken, “Francie”, who is a ‘naked-neck’ chicken.

I think Francie did better then I did posing for this picture 😉

I am so thankful for my sister’s great photography skills and her ability to work with a ‘difficult’ subject (me).  I might just schedule another photo shoot next year 🙂

This past weekend, I had a special helper accompany me on one of my landscape consults….

My son, Kai.

He has never expressed any interest in going with me before – but I think he was bored and his best friend (who lives across the street) wasn’t going to be home.

So, Kai offered to come with me and be my ‘photographer’. 

As I was talking to my clients, Kai would take photos of certain plants, landscape areas or problems, which I would later include in my report.

He caught me gesturing to this evergreen pear tree, above.

Kai also took some good close-ups as well…

 Salt damage from lack of deep watering.

Manganese deficiency in citrus tree.

Kai did also take a few photos with me in them, but he neglected to press the ‘skinny button’ on my camera so I elected not to include them in this post.  (Okay, I know that a ‘skinny button’ does not exist on a camera, but I wish someone would invent one, don’t you?)

As our consult progressed to the backyard, Kai was no longer taking pictures.

Instead, he was finding himself in some of the photos I took….

 Meeting my client’s new chickens.

Swinging from rings in an old citrus tree.

Kai and I both had an enjoyable time.  The clients were very nice people who had a beautiful landscape.

I hope that Kai was able to see more clearly what I do for my work, (besides writing blogs and articles).

But all he said on the way home was, “Can we get some ice-cream?”

“Absolutely.”