Every day the clock is ticking a bit closer to our hot season and many of the beds have not been prepared. Today my very sweet husband "volunteered" to help me get the beds ready for spring. It didn't take a whole lot of nagging and when he went and gathered some tools together I gave a little happy dance.
In Arizona we do two short seasons of gardening: cold plantings and heat tolerant plantings. In fall we plant our cold weather plantings and in January we start getting everything ready for the heat tolerant plantings. We don't plant them yet but it is a bit of a juggling act to decide what needs to go in when so it is ready to come out in time to plant summer seeds, etc.
I don't always juggle it perfectly and often things are overcrowded. Each and every year I vow to do better and this year, of course, is no exception.
First I'll tell you what's happening in my main garden. It has been sadly neglected although I did get quite a few seeds planted in October. The garden is soaked so this is the closest picture I could get for you today: Growing now in some stage or another are many varieties of flowers including sweet peas, poppies, larkspur and hollyhocks. I am planning to be brutal this year on pulling out sunflower starts because they greatly effected my tomato harvest last year. I also have some tough tomato survivors (bought from Tasteful Garden as always) and even some pepper and eggplants attempting to survive our cool nights. The hollyhocks are sending up seedlings all over the garden. The garlic and shallots have sprouted and are about 8 - 10 inches tall. And I can't remember what else is growing in there. Next week we'll do a better tour.
The main garden has become infested with slugs (icccckkk!) and although I tried the rolled up damp newspapers as a method of controlling them it is not enough so I finally broke down and spread some chemicals on. If find if I let the garden get away from me by not cleaning up all the dead growth I get infested especially with slugs.
Another project for today was cutting back the asparagus. I did order some crowns this past fall from Cindy at Tasteful Garden hoping to fill in some bare spots in that small bed. Asparagus does not survive here like it does in less violent climates.
After cutting back the tops we found a little snack that we shared before stopping to admire the almost finished bed. Almost because the bed needs top dressed still and then it is ready to rest and give us wonderful vegetables in a few more months.
And the last project for this morning was the rose beds. There are three gorgeous antique rose varieties, including Abraham Darby, in the raised beds around the pool but they never get enough sunlight so those needed moved.
In addition to those three roses the antique climber in the center of the rose bed has gotten totally out of control so that rose needed moved to a side wall where we will mount an iron cultivator wheel as a trellis. My husband did not enjoy this much...the ground against the wall was really hard required a pick-ax and a lot of slow soaking. The wheel will be mounted about two feet up from the ground and I think will have a neat look on that wall with the windows.
This time of year we cut the roses pretty much to the ground, top dress with with compost or topsoil and then let them rest. I always cut the last bouquets before my husband gets carried away hacking them off. Today he had to move the three roses into this bed so there was more hole digging and tussling with thorns but it finally got done and almost all top-dressed. I generally plant ranunculas on the south side of the rose bed but this year I decided I am going to continue the iris border all around so I'm going to order some today in different colors. The iris really seems to thrive in that bed and gives us a lot of cutting options for the house.
And since this post has gotten crazy long I'll just stop with a few quick photos of some other flowers in bloom on this early January day.
This is one of the hibscus blooms on an out of control bush our son Chris gave me for Mother's day several years ago. I keep wanting to move it because it overhangs the sidewalk so much but I hate to disturb its happy life. And this final picture is of one of my favorite plantings...ever...it is silver queen artemisia planted with heliotrope and lavender. If you don't know heliotrope as a flowering plant you need to check it out. The flowers are so fragrant and velvetty purple. They make smile every single time I see them. I know it might be cold and gray where you are reading this from but spring is coming soon. Check out those seed catalogs and the new website over at the Tasteful Garden.
Happy dreaming! Happy growing! And Happy New Year!