Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

Phoenix Desert Gardening Tip: Growing Lavender

LavenderI kill lavender.  Or at least I used to.

Turns out I was committing one of the two deadly sins of lavender:  showering them (literally) with love and planting them directly into the compacted clay soil that many of us in the Phoenix desert must contend with.  So I took an “All About Lavender” class at the Desert Botanical Garden to deal with my heinous ways.

Here’s what I learned from Master Gardener Pam Perry:  lavenders are excellent xeriscape plants that like it high and dry.   I’d already planted my lavender on mounds, allowing excess water to easily run off.  Lavenders also have pretty good root systems so you can water around the bottom of the mound (for an already established plant) and their roots will take up the water.  If planting on mounds isn’t a option, try amending your soil with little compost to help with drainage.

For lavender in containers, use a cactus mix.  What???  I know, that’s what I thought, too!  But a cactus mix provides better drainage than regular ‘ol potting soil!   This I will need to try on my surviving-not-thriving lavender in containers.

I suspect that the Desert Botanical Garden will offer the lavender class again next year, but they have an awful lot of good classes in the meantime, so check their website for an up-to-date class schedule….and just go!

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New at the Desert Botanical Garden: Gertrude’s

Gertrude's at the Desert Botanical Garden

Image courtesy of the Phoenix New Times.

For those of you who’ve been waiting, Gertrude’s at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is now open!

Named for Garden founder Gertrude Divine Webster, Gertrude’s is led by Executive Chef Stephen Eldridge and features his take on “Arizona Modern” cuisine.  Check out the menu!

I haven’t been there myself yet, but the menu looks divine (“I Love You Like Chocolate” anyone?) and I hear it grows on you (sorry, bad pun!).  They’re open most of the day, so make sure you put it on your list for your next trip to the Desert Botanical Garden.  Or if it’s blazing hot outside, sneak inside for a cold one.

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What to do in Phoenix: Las Noches de las Luminarias

Las Noches de las Luminarias - Desert Botanical GardenIf you’re lucky enough to live in Phoenix during the holidays, you might want to think about checking out the 35th Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden.

It runs through December 30, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from 5:00-9:00pm.  Not only does it feature some 8,000 luminarias that are all lit each night by a hearty group of volunteers, but it’s got some interesting entertainment, too!

It’s a really cool way to take a walk in the brisk evening air and see all of the desert and xeriscape plants lit by candlelight…and have a great time doing it.

With that, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with good stuff growing in 2013!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I send good wishes for the season.

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