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

Best Time to Plant (and Enjoy) Wildflowers

A wet winter in Phoenix means just one thing:  abundant spring wildflowers.  Yep.  Vibrant yellow-orange Mexican Poppies, bright pink Parry’s Penstemon, sunny Desert Marigold, and lots more crawl up hillsides, gather along roadsides, and dot our desert landscapes.  And my sedentary lifestyle is rudely interrupted by an urge  to hike.

But why hike if you can create the natural look of wildflowers in your own desert garden?  (Yeah, yeah…the health benefits…sigh.)  Wildflowers fit really well into our xeriscapes, adding the same breathtaking color that you see growing naturally in the desert.  Plus, they’re pretty easy to grow.

When overnight temperatures start to cool, around mid-October to mid-November, lightly rake soil and sprinkle wildflower seeds where you want them.  For more even coverage, mix 1 part seeds with 5 parts sand and apply with a hand spreader.  If you already have mulch, such as decomposed granite, seeds can be sprinkled directly over the mulch and watered in.

Keep the area moist until seedlings are an inch or two tall.  Then, cut back watering to every couple of weeks or when seedlings start looking stressed.  Seeds need sunlight to germinate, so don’t bury or cover them with soil.

When spring arrives, skip the hike and enjoy the show in your own natural wildflower garden.  Or double the pleasure with a long hike!

 

 

Overseeding for Winter Lawns in Phoenix

Well, here it is, October in the desert, and all I can think about is how freakin’ thrilled I am for “turf break”!  No more fertilizing, mulching, mowing and–say it isn’t so!–NO MORE WATERING the weeds that we call grass!

Now, I can pretend that I’m on a one-woman mission to save the Earth from our thirsty ways by having a completely natural desert landscape.  But I’m not.  No, I’m out to save the greenbacks!  The fewer of those that I have to send to the City of Phoenix for water, the happier I am.  That’s why I love turf break!

BUT…some of you like to overseed for winter and don’t mind all the maintenance and money it takes to get there.  I salute you for that.  Just don’t do it while it’s hot.  Wait until nighttime temps drop to 65 or below for 3-7 consecutive days, and then start overseeding.

By the way, the very nature of overseeding forces Bermuda grass into dormancy so another grass can grow over it–which shocks the system.  So lay off the overseeding every couple of years…and enjoy a turf break!

 

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