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

Desert Botanical Garden Gets $100k for Chihuly Art

Dale Chihuly sculptures at Desert Botanical Garden

We are pleased to spread the good news! The Desert Botanical Garden has received a generous donation from GoDaddy.com to help buy the the stunning artwork of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. It is prominantly displayed at the entrance of the garden (photo above).

Read more about it here >>

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Making Hard Water Clean Water

fountainFountains are a gardener’s dream. It is a sign that your garden has arrived and is worthy of a water feature. Birds splash in delight, butterflies sip from the edge, and the soothing coo tells all your neighbors within earshot that your garden is Eden. The fountain is the pièce de résistance.

But here in Arizona there lurks an enemy. It is most insidious. It starts out invisible, and for weeks—even months—you never see it. Then it begins to build; The chalky white residue is a reminder. But leave it too long and your beautiful fountain will be ruined, eaten away like it was attacked by a concrete eating aphid. The enemy is Hard Water.

Hard water is a combination of minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium, dissolved in our city water. Even though it’s safe to drink, it is a fountain killer for sure. As the water splashes or evaporates the minerals are left behind. If you let too much of the residue build up, it will form mounds of minerals that can ruin a pump or begin to eat away the surface of the fountain. (The only fountain material impervious is metal, but the white stuff still makes a mess.)

An easy solution exists, and it’s not expensive: household vinegar. You can buy gallons of it at the grocery store and it isn’t poisonous to you use. A splash every week when you refill (either because of evaporation or after emptying it for cleaning) should keep your fountain looking new and fresh. And if you need to clean your fountain use a diluted, warm vinegar water solution. Everything will be spic and span!

Hot Rocks: Blending Hardscapes and Plants

hot-rocksLook in your garden. Do you see a plant here, a rock tossed over there? Do they seem lonely, out of place? If you match your hardscape with your “soft” scape (plants) you will create an effect greater than the sum of its parts.

Hardscape provides a fabulous surface for shadow projections. So instead of having just one element (sun or flowers or rocks) you get a beautiful, active collection of all three. As the sun moves in the sky, the shadows cast on the rocks (and by them) create living, dimensional art that changes with the seasons as well as time of day.

Hardscape (rocks, block walls, or anything that needn’t be watered) are a perfect backdrop to the graphic plants of the xeriscape garden. These African Daisies (Gazania) are perennials that are best in pots or in this case in a small bed by the front door. They are showy and need little care other than regular water.

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