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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gardening in the Desert

Here in Arizona, spring is in the air, and by that I mean, summer is almost here. Today, it's 85 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I would be laying out in the sun if it weren't for the fact that I am English/Irish/Scottish/German (you can call me Tiger), and am so sure that I will get skin cancer or worse....dry skin.

Anyway, in year's past, I would be outside tending to my gardening on a day like today. You see, I have large pots around the pool and on the patio at the front entry. Two years ago they were filled to the brim with annuals, spiky ferns and once I even tried periwinkle rhododendrons. By May, the flowers were streaming down the sides, bursting with color. Last year, I primarily filled with easy to care for petunias and zinnias. This year: (Front)


Nothing tells a neighborhood just how bad you've got it, economically speaking, than a bunch of empty pots with possibly some old, overgrown weeds and plants from last year! I try to smile when I see the couple walking by and whispering to each other as they stare at the unsightly vision that is my house. (Of course, I actually have really great neighbors and they were probably whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears, but the mind can play with you!)

If you've never lived in a desert before, let me share with you what it's like to garden here:

* First, you need a drill to dig a hole, as the dirt is hard as a rock.

* Next, wearing gloves is important because our creatures are mostly poisonous, so uncovering a scorpion can be painful. Of course, the gloves are miserable because it's so hot and your hands can get very sweaty.

* Most flowering plants do not like the 100+ degree weather we experience for about 5 months of the year. Plants look best from February to June. Then they fry. You can plant in October, too, but watch carefully, because they can freeze in November through January.

Just makes you want to run right to Lowe's with this coupon and buy some flowers doesn't it? Still, the house looks boring without the splash of color. And spring gardening sounds far more fun than spring cleaning. I was going to give that up for Lent before someone informed me that what you give up is supposed to be something you actually really enjoy and will miss for the six week period. (I am giving up large portions of food for Lent instead, because I figured this is not the year to be messing with God).

Am I planting flowers to appease the neighbors....keeping up the Jones' as they say? Not really. Gardening used to be a certain part of just who 'Beth' is. "Oh yes, I know Beth. She's the one who blacks out at parties and says all that hysterical stuff to every one's spouse......and doesn't she have the most beautiful flowers in her pots in the Spring"? I feel like a little part of me is missing this year.
And, I am not like my friend (you know who you are!) who actually buys fake flowers from Joanne's and places them in her yard. We went to an outdoor party at her house last Spring and I kept on commenting on how remarkable her garden was because none of her flowers seemed to close up at night. Finally, she spilled the beans and told me. I actually enjoy watching them grow so that would not work for me.

I'll just have to be frugal, use the coupon and I welcome any advise you may have for me on what flowers I should choose or how to make the flowers grow larger. Thanks in advance!

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Blogger Jenni Jiggety said...

I am jealous of your warm weather!

February 25, 2009 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

I blame blogging for why the flowers haven't gotten planted yet. Seriously, you find scorpions when you dig? That is too freaky.

Your pool looks beautiful. I'm inspired to start pushing for our pool remodel soon. Ours could really use it.

February 25, 2009 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Fragrant Liar said...

Well, I'm not jealous of your warm weather, as we here in Austin had 85 degrees today. Since I'm originally from Phoenix, I won't be jealous of your summer either, but I do so miss my homeland sometimes. Still have sisters and brothers, etc. there, and come back to visit once in awhile.

At our house, we liked to plant Mexican birds of paradise and bougainvilla, of course. I love those so much, except for the bees and wasps they attract.

My favorite thing I miss about Arizona? The smell of desert rain and the orange blossoms. Can you bottle those and send me some?

February 25, 2009 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

With all of that money you will be saving on food, please head over to Lowe's and get flowers, and plant your pots. I too missed them when I was at your house last week, and it is part of "who you are"!!

February 26, 2009 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger sues2u2 said...

Hey, I'm in extreme So Arizona & I'm so jealous of your grass! We're still working on what we should do w/ our land.

I love the pot idea but again, we're still trying to decide what to do w/ what we've got (the pool's in though. *grin*). I also need to wait until I can get my big dogs out of the fenced part of the yard. ie, need more fencing.

February 27, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

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