Gray skies that portend winter rain? It’s been cold here in the Zone. I thought today might be the day to spread wildflower seed. In truth, I would have spread it earlier if I had know where it was. Instead, I found the seeds only yesterday in an unpacking marathon.
I went out and raked a sad, bare spot of my yard and threw down some seed. Then I tossed some fine mulch over the top to give the seeds something to stick to. Then, as if on cue, it started to rain. It was a light rain but a nice start for the wildflower gardener.
Today one of my former work buddies and gardener extraordinaire, Carol, provided me with cuttings and divisions of some of my favorite desert plants. The star of the lot is the Totem Pole Cactus (or Pachycereus schottii var. monstrosus), a spineless, columnar cactus. She also gave me a huge section of a cereus. I know it generically as a night-blooming cereus but there are several plants with that name. I’ll nail down the variety when I get a bloom–the blooms are magnificent! She also gave me divisions of ruellia, hollyhock and a small clumping plant with yellow flowers that I had never seen. She also gave me some sections paper spine cactus (Tephrocactus articulatusvar. papyracanthus) a cactus similar to the pine cone cactus (Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus) but with long, white papery spines. Some cuttings of elephant food, hearts and flowers and a small variety of pencil cactus rounded out the collection.
I am always so grateful for all my gardening friends who are unfailingly generous with plants and advice.
I spent a little time working on the discussion settings and I *think* it’s easier to leave comments.
So let me know what’s happening in your yard. I never get tired of talking about gardening.
An appropriate turf area has it’s place in a xeriscape. I know this — but it’s still hard for me to plant grass in the desert. I am living in a house that once had wall-to-wall grass. Probably about 2500 square feet of it. And then it was neglected for a year. Meaning: no water. So, I probably don’t have to explain what happens when you fail to water in Phoenix but for those of you wondering, it decimates a landscape. Ideally, you have a landscape of natives that can handle low water situations. Unfortunately, that was not the case here.
So, I have a yard of mud.
About 1,500 square feet will get the desert adapted treatment. I have already planted a number of things that, once established, can live with little or no water. But the patchy Bermuda grass lawn will be someone else’s fight in the future. For now, I am going to plant winter grass and spend my water that way. I need all the help I can get against the muddy paw syndrome that has plagued us! I’ll keep you posted.
I bought perennial rye seed and used a hand spreader. I am using a combination of Kellogg seed topper and grass clippings as the seed cover. The irrigation system is not up to the job so I bought a series of sprinklers and a timer to do the three waterings a day that it will need for the next week or so.
A sad fact of foreclosures are the dying landscapes all around us. I am eying the magnificent fig in the adjacent yard and fretting about its long term prospects. I don’t like it when plants die, especially big trees. I don’t want to walk out into my back yard and see a huge dead tree.
So I am watering the tree. It might not be enough but I hope I can get it through the winter and that brighter days are ahead.