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Okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it just October 1st a few days ago?  It’s hard to believe that November is already here.  You know what that means….Christmas is on its way 🙂


Last month was a busy one in the garden.  While there are not as many tasks to be done in November, there are still a few things to do.

Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)


Continue planting cold-tolerant trees, shrubs and perennials.  Avoid planting frost-tender plants such as Lantana, Bougainvillea and Yellow Bells right now, since young plants are more likely to be damaged or even killed by a frost.

Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Shrubs like Globe Mallow, Chaparral Sage and Mexican Honeysuckle are great choices for the garden.

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia mexicana)

Mexican Honeysuckle is one of my favorites because it thrives in light shade, is frost-tolerant AND flowers all year.

Snapdragon Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

Perennials are a great way to add color to the landscape and Penstemons are some of my favorites.  Parry’s and Firecracker Penstemons are seen in many beautiful landscapes, but there is another that I love.  Snapdragon Penstemon is not often seen, but is truly stunning.  It grows up to 4 ft. tall, blooms in spring and its flowers are fragrant.

It’s not always easy to find, but is well worth the effort.

‘Regal Mist’ (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’)
You may have seen this colorful ornamental grass blooming this fall.  ‘Regal Mist’ is a lovely green, ornamental grass in spring and summer.  However, once the cooler temperatures of fall arrive, it undergoes a magical transformation.  Burgundy plumes begin to appear, turning this grass into a show-stopper.

‘Regal Mist’ in winter.
Once winter arrives, the burgundy plumes fade to an attractive wheat color.

There is not much pruning to be done right now.  You can prune Mesquite trees, but stay away from pruning Palo Verde trees, which are best pruned after flowering in the summer.

Avoid pruning frost-tender plants and summer-flowering shrubs this month.  


There is still time to sow wildflower seed for a beautiful spring display.

Herbs are easy to grow and most will thrive throughout the winter.  The one exception is basil, which will die once temperatures dip below freezing.

So harvest your basil now, before the first frost arrives.  You can dry it and put it into spice jars or freeze it into ice cubes.


Thin vegetable seedlings.  This is easiest to do using scissors and snipping them off at the soil line  so that you don’t disturb the roots of the seedlings remaining behind to grow.

Check your seed packet to determine how far apart the seedlings should be.


There are still many vegetables that can be planted in November.  Leafy greens like bok choy, lettuce, kale, mustard greens and Swiss chard can still be planted throughout November.  Carrots and radishes can also be added to the garden.  I have been harvesting radishes and leafy greens, one month after planting.


I am so happy to be able to make salads from my own garden again instead of relying on bagged leaf lettuce.


If you haven’t done so yet, this is the last month to plant garlic in your garden.  It is so easy to grow and I simply grab a few heads of garlic from grocery store to plant.

Broccoli and cauliflower transplants can still be added to the garden this month.  Onions, peas and turnips can also be planted in November.  

If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and adjust your irrigation schedule so that you are watering less frequently then you did in the summer months.  More plants die from over-watering then under-watering, even in the desert Southwest.

Well, I think that I have given you enough to keep busy this month in your garden.  Next month, there will be a much shorter list, leaving you much more time for Christmas shopping 🙂

**What is on your garden ‘to-do list’ this month?

October is my favorite month of the year in the garden.  Summer is over and when I walk outdoors, I am greeted with delightful temperatures in the 80’s.  I even had to wear a light sweater the other night when out walking the dogs with my husband 🙂


Planting shrubs in the parking lot of our church along with the boy scouts a few years ago.
This is a very busy month in the garden because the end of summer signals the beginning of planting season.  October is the best time to add plants to your landscape because they have three seasons to grow roots, which will help them handle the stress of next summer.

When digging a hole for your plants, the hole can make a huge difference in how successful your plants will be.  Make the hole 3 times wider then the rootball.  Because roots grow mostly sideways, they will have an easier time growing through recently dug soil then hard-packed soil.  The depth of the hole should be NO deeper then the rootball.  When plants are planted too deeply, they can suffocate or become waterlogged.

So, what types of plants can you add now?  Concentrate on trees, shrubs and perennials that are not frost tender.

Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatoni), blooms in late winter and into spring in my zone 9a garden.

Some of my favorite plants in my garden are those that bloom in fall, winter or spring.

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana), blooms in spring and fall.

Pink Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Pink’), blooms fall, winter and spring and prefers partial shade.

Valentine (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine), is my FAVORITE shrub.  I starts blooming in January and lasts until April when there is not much else going on in my garden.
When shopping for arid-adapted plants for your landscape, be aware that most of them aren’t too impressive looking when seen at the nursery.

Angelita Daisy in the nursery.

Arid-adapted plants don’t really start concentrating on their top growth UNTIL they have grown a good amount of roots.

Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis, formerly Hymenoxys acaulis)
As you can see, there is a pretty significant difference after these Angelita Daisies have been in the ground for a couple of years.

Scarlet Flax

Do you like wildflowers?  For a beautiful spring display, October is the time to spread wildflower seed.  Growing your own wildflowers is easy to do, but there are a few important guidelines to follow.  You can read more about how to start your own wildflowers from seed here.


If you enjoy growing vegetables, then it is time to get started planting cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, leaf lettuce and radishes – just to name a few.


I amend my soil with 3 inches compost, 2 inches composted steer manure, blood meal and bone meal (following the directions on the package on how much to apply).  Lightly cultivate, mixing your new amendments into the soil.

Our little puppy, Penny, is growing up!
*Beware of 4-month old puppies when adding manure, blood or bone meal to your garden.  It is absolutely irresistible to them and dogs of all ages 😉

Radish seedlings.

As your seedlings come up, there will be too many growing too close together, so you will need to thin them once they have 2 – 3 
mature leaves (not the small seed leaves).


The easiest way to thin excess seedlings is to simply cut them off with scissors.  Pulling them out can injure the roots of the remaining plants.

Lettuce seedlings that were thinned.


Don’t throw out your leaf lettuce and radish greens that you have thinned out.  Use them to garnish you salad – they are delicious!


Check out your local county extension office’s website for information on when and what to plant in your area this month.  For the greater Phoenix area, here is a wonderful vegetable planting calendar



Do you have a favorite agave growing in your landscape?  Some agave produce volunteers (also called offsets or pups).  October is a great time to propagate succulents like agave or cacti.  


I have a favorite Parry’s Agave in my garden and it occasionally produces a little baby, which I take and replant elsewhere in my garden or give to a friend.  It is easy to transplant the baby agave and you can see how I do it, here.



As temperatures begin to cool, plants do not need as much water as they do in summer.  Adjust your irrigation schedule so that you are water less frequently.


The length of time that you water, should remain the same.  Trees should be watered to a depth of 3 feet, shrubs to 2 feet and perennials to 1 foot.  For watering guidelines and schedules, click here.


I love container gardening.  It is an easy way to change up the look of your landscape seasonally and year to year.

Container with geraniums, yellow Euryops daisies, fern leaf lavender and blue lobelia.



Switch out your warm-season container plantings for cool-season favorites.  Alyssum, geraniums, lobelia, pansies, petunias, snapdragons and violas are just a few colorful plants that can be added to your containers in October.


Add 6 inches of new potting mix (I like to use a planting mix, which is a little different then potting soil and avoids problems with wet soil) to each container before planting to replenish the old soil.


After adding your new plants, then sprinkle a slow-release fertilizer around the base of each plant, which will slowly release nutrients for about 3 months.


In addition to your traditional flowering containers, how about changing up your containers?

My granddaughter, Lily, is handling her watering duties very seriously.  I just think her little painted toenails are so cute!


 We planted this container filled with herbs and gave it to my oldest daughter for her birthday.  Chives, parsley, rosemary and thyme will handle our winters just fine and fresh herbs are just a few steps away from her kitchen.


My newest addiction is growing vegetables and flowers together in containers.

Petunias grow among parsley, garlic and leaf lettuce in front of my vegetable garden.

I have almost more fun growing vegetables in containers then I do in my vegetable gardens.


There are many types of vegetable that do well in containers, including leaf lettuce and garlic.  For more ideas of how to grow vegetables and flowers together, click here.


**I also made a video about growing a summer vegetable and flower container.  You can view it here.


Well, I think that I have given you a fair amount of task to do in your garden.  


What type of gardening tasks are you doing in your garden this month?  I would really love to hear about it.


I will post another “To-Do” List next month!

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 ∨

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I 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”

I realize that it is hard to think of doing anything in the garden, much less step outside with the heat wave that we have been experiencing in the Southwest.



The good news is that you can most likely wait to step out into your garden this weekend, once the heat wave breaks.

Check out my latest monthly “To Do” list that I wrote for Houzz.com

Kitchen ideas, bathroom ideas, and more ∨

Filter by metro area and choose the right kitchen designer for your kitchen style.
Find curtain panels and plantation shutters for french doors, or kitchen curtains and a curtain rod for your kitchen windows.


I hope you are doing your best staying cool 🙂