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

Workwear for Phoenix Gardeners

Garden Utility Vest from Duluth Trading CompanyI’d always thought of Duluth Trading Company as my husband’s workwear store.  They’re known for their durable and tough workwear made from the same material that wraps around fire hoses.  And their “crouch without the ouch” ballroom jeans for men.  (It took me awhile to figure out why they call them “ballroom” jeans…they’re not for dancing!)

So imagine my surprise and delight when I received their “Garden Gear-Up” catalog in the mail the other day!   The cover sported a garden utility vest with enough pockets for loppers, scissors, blades, and our other desert garden tools…12 inall!  There’s a long-sleeved version, too, although I’m pretty sure that that would be overkill in our Phoenix desert landscapes.

There’s pants with knee pads built in and shorts and shirts and garden totes and and hats and gloves and shoes.  Oh my!  They even have a cool leather pruning sleeve so you can tackle the thorny, prickly stuff without looking like you got into it with a feral cat.

I haven’t purchased anything yet, but I”m definitely taking a closer look.  You can check out Duluth Trading Company’s garden gear, too.

 

Gardening Tip: Efficient Watering for Xeriscape Plants

Drip Irrigation Controller

Image Credit: AMWUA

Well, April 1 came and with it, a no-joke wind that could topple a small tree…especially a water-starved desert dweller!  We happened to be out at Boyce Thompson Arboretum (must go, must go!) enjoying the spring sights, but a couple of times that wind threatened to blow us off our feet!

The wind is right on time, actually.  April, May, and June are the hottest, driest, windiest months here in Greater Phoenix, making our plants the thirstiest.  They need more water!

For drip and sprinkler systems, this is the time to change the frequency of your watering.  (Remember, the AMOUNT you water should stay the same, but how FREQUENTLY you water should be adjusted seasonally.)

If you’re at all confused about watering xeriscape or other plants–as well as turf–in your desert garden, download the Landscape Watering by the Numbers booklet.  This is THE go-to resource for watering desert landscapes here in Phoenix.

 

Gardening Tip: Attracting Bees for Pollination

Bee Pollinating a Sunflower

Image Credit: San Francisco State Universy

Just this week, there were two more studies out of the UK and France showing that the mystery of the disappearing bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, can be linked to a relatively new class of insecticides called neonicotinoids.  This is important because bees are critical to pollinating not only flowers, but many food crops as well.  Fewer bees means fewer yields.

So what’s the best way to attract bees to your Phoenix desert garden?

  • Limit your use of (or don’t use) insectides in the landscape.  Identify the plant and the problem and then do a little research to figure out how to manage diseases and pests without resorting to pesticides.  The solution is often a lot simpler than you think!
  • Plant a wide variety of plants.  Bees and other pollinators love flowers, so plant a variety of flowering plants to ensure near year-round blooming.
  • Plant native xeriscape plants.  Native species are four times more likely to attract bees and other pollinators than non-natives or exotics.  I noticed this in my own garden when we removed the grass and planted a few native shrubs.  Nearly overnight we had more birds, bees, and butterflies in our garden!
  • Create a habitat that’s friendly to bees.  Bees like shallow pools of water, but if you’re really ambitious, you can build a nesting area for them.  Invite them in to stay awhile!

 

 

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