Showing posts from June, 2020

Summer 2020 desert road trip: a fantasy

From the photos below, it's easy to see what I really want to do right now: go on a road trip, preferably to the desert. I know, it's sizzling hot there right now, it being summer and all, but that's just one of those facts of life you deal with. After all, we've been dealing with far worse these past few months—three, four? I can hardly remember how many it's been. But no matter how much I want to go, it's still too dicey out there for me to be comfortable. So for now, all I can do is look at the photos below as I indulge in this fantasy.

Low-key Father's Day weekend in the garden

I had a low-key weekend doing odd jobs in the garden—trimming, weeding, rearranging, etc. Nothing too exciting, but not every minute can be filled with thrills and titillation. I did stop now and then to take some pictures of the garden. I enjoy having these frozen moments in time to look back on down the line. Early evening in the front garden

Return to Tucson's Pima Prickly Park

When I was in Tucson, Arizona last December, I swung by Pima Prickly Park one cold morning to see how it had changed from my January 2019 visit .  The good news: It's still there, and the plants are doing their thing, growing slowly but steadily. The bad news: There isn't any. And that's a wonderful thing for a public garden run entirely by volunteers on virtually no money. The 7-acre park is owned by Pima County and run by the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society . The TCSS signed a 15-year operating agreement with Pima County in 2010, and the park was officially dedicated in 2012. As I said in an earlier post, TCSS members have volunteered countless hours and donated countless plants to create a desert habitat park that highlights desert plants. The park is not fenced so it's basically open anytime, although technically the hours are from sunrise to sunset. There is no fee for parking or admission.

The weed I love to hate

Weeds are a fact of life for a gardener. I'm not obsessive-compulsive about weeding; in fact, I'm quite tolerant towards some (Mexican needle grass, I hope you appreciate it). But there's one weed that drives me bonkers:  spotted spurge ( Euphorbia maculata ). It's an annual that goes away in the fall and doesn't come back until late spring. But when it does, it's seemingly overnight—and it's everywhere, especially in inconvenient spots like this: That's my prized Ferocactus rectispinus , a formidably armed barrel cactus. As you can see, the spotted spurge has staked its claim in this pot.

Something different: rarely seen sights from the back garden

Usually my posts focus on the plantings in front of the house. Arguably, that's the most photogenic part of the garden, and the area where I've invested most of my energy in recent years. But the back yard has seen progress as well—nothing flashy, but slow and steady. Time to show you some vignettes: Agave chiapensis , getting massive. Behind is the bottle tree I put up after seeing so many of them in Austin, Texas in 2018.

First major heat wave victim: Grevillea 'Kings Fire'

Last week, temperatures jumped from the high 70s to the low 100s in just a couple of days. I was groaning, but I do that a lot—and I have a cool house to retreat to. This poor baby wasn't so lucky. In fact, it's the biggest victim of this mini heat wave: It's my prized Grevillea 'Kings Fire'. Last week, it was blooming merrily. Now it looks like a hair bleaching experiment gone horribly wrong: