Gardening, by its very nature, is about putting down roots. So when we moved into our home in 1977, we had bare ground outside and white walls inside. We immediately set about putting down roots in our garden and community. This year, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and our 46th year in our garden with an open garden day.
When your garden is located in a climate of 30 days of temperatures at or over 110 degrees, it’s tough to want to do any creative gardening. I wander about with my watering can most mornings when it’s only 89 degrees. Yes, it’s a dry heat, and I mostly appreciate that, but it isn’t pleasant. No monsoon rains in sight, plants covered with shade cloth, we must wait it out.
Water is essential for life; on two different occasions, once in May the other in August, I’ve found in my garden two perfectly formed tiny mud pots. These were made by a 1/2” long Microdynerus arenicolus, or the Antioch Potter Wasp. A potter’s wasp will lay its eggs inside. The female wasp gets a MOUTHFUL of water, finds some soil to mix in her mouth and builds the pot from the bottom up one mouthful at a time. Can you imagine the size of a wasp’s mouth? This variety of wasp is found in the southwest,
It’s had a long good life and made a magnificent statement in my front garden. All this ended this week when I had it removed for fear of it toppling over into the street.
The day began with the promise of an early morning storm; no rain, but a cool breeze and an overcast sky made it so wonderful to be outside this July morning. There were clouds in the sky, heavy clumps of gray at varying levels and in shades from light to dark. We have only a few days of cloudy skies in Arizona, so when they occur, we talk about it, noticing, watching, and photographing them. The forecast promised rain, but it missed us. We stay dry. Here the water supply worries are real.
Visiting gardens gives me so many ideas, and now that my dwarf jacaranda has hit a rough patch (the top fried in the summer sun.) I realized I could use one of those ideas to help it stay in my garden. I’ve seen this done in two gardens, Atlanta Botanical Garden in Georgia and Cantigny Park in Illinois.
This fantastic spider lily (crinum) grows in my garden. The plant is lush and green most of the year. I serendipitously planted it in just the right place, so it grows nearly 5’ tall and erupts in a fireworks-like display of white blooms in summer.
For years, I’ve gardened under the shade of a neighbor’s soaring pine trees, it’s branches extending far over my patio, the grill, and my orange tree. Their dark, dense canopy obstructing the light from the flower beds below. Now, the shade, the pollen, the pine cones, the needles, and the acidic air, are all gone. The change is extraordinary. The view eastward is wide open; the early morning sky, and moonrise, are visible.
For over 40 years, we’ve enjoyed the scenery just outside our backyard; a city golf course. Now, we’re not golfers, but this picturesque course gives us plenty of enjoyment as we watch the comings and goings of the wildlife there.
My Desert Marigolds with their bright yellow flowers are growing out across the sidewalk in front of my house. These double petal daisy-like flowers, stretching out toward the sun, are a sign of spring in my Arizona garden. The heavy winter rains have given the perennials a significant boost and extended the blooming period. I watched them edging out onto the sidewalk and so I would trim them and bring them in for a bouquet in the house. I cut again and again, but finally, they were sneaking so far out onto the sidewalk, I noticed walkers kicking at them, stepping on them oblivious to their beauty.