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

Real Gardens for Real People 2012

Real Gardens for Real People Tour 2012

Real Gardens for Real People Tour 2012

Need a little gardening inspiration?  Check out the Real Gardens for Real People tour on Saturday, March 31 from 9:00am to 4:00pm and see beautiful gardens created by local Master Gardeners.

This self-guided tour in Northeast Scottsdale features seven themed desert gardens, each landscaped using water-wise, xeriscape principles and unique garden art.  Experts will be on hand at each garden to answer questions about composting, attracting birds and wildlife, growing vegetables, container gardening and water gardening.

Tickets are just $25 and are available online or at most local nurseries before the event.  Download the Official Tour Guide here…and get your garden on!


An Ounce of Prevention: Agave Snout Weevil

Agave Snout Weevil infestationOne of the horticulturists at the Desert Botanical Garden told me that there are only two chemicals that she uses in her Phoenix desert garden:  glyphosate to kill off Bermuda grass (love that stuff!) and imidacloprid to prevent Agave Snout Weevil infestations.

Agave Snout Weevils are sneaky little pests.  The females will burrow into the base of an Agave, leaving behind a trail of bacteria, and lay their eggs.  When the larvae hatch, they continue to burrow in and feed on the base and roots of the plant.  By the time you notice the leaves wrinkling, the damage will have been done.  Your only recourse is to dig up the plant and all its little friends, seal them in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash.

So prevention is key.  Apply  imidacloprid around the base of the plant in early April and again in late May.  It’s a systemic insecticide so it will translocate throughout the plant and keep females from feeding on it.

By the way…Agave Snout Weevils appear to affect larger Agaves, such as A. americana, more than the smaller varieties such as A. macroacantha and A. victoriae reginae.  Something to think about next time you’re at the nursery!



Adding Browns to Your Compost Pile

I recently talked about compost piles and how to add greens, but without browns…well, there’s just no compost.  Or at least healthy, fresh-smelling compost.  And here in the Phoenix desert, good compost is the key to growing great edibles.

Brown materials contain the carbon that balances the nitrogen found in green materials.  Dry leaves make up most of the brown materials that will likely go into your compost pile.  But there are other good sources of browns, too:

  • Dry leaves (including dead plant trimmings)
  • Shredded paper
  • Sawdust (in small amounts)
  • Straw (can also be used as mulch)
  • Pine needles (in limited quantities)

I mix browns and greens equally, and water and turn in between.  Again, a really good resource for composting–written by a Master Gardener here in Phoenix–is Composting For Dummies.  The book provides more precise information about the how’s and why’s of composting, as well as more general information about bins, tools, and more.


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