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What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Posted by grant_in_arizona USDA Z9 Scottsdale A (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 4, 13 at 14:51

Hi everyone,

Happy February! I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled to put January behind us! The frequent gloomy days, and the record-setting cold snap, and then a weekend of unrelenting rain are best left as memories, hah!

There's plenty in my garden that looks bad, although there's less than before since I've removed much of it (liquefied pencil "cacti", Euphorbia tirucalli, some melted plumerias (not all though), and the fried foliage of Merremia dissecta and lantanas). I know, I know, it's best to wait until when things resprout, but honestly, the merremia needed to be trimmed low anyway (it's already resprouting and even if it hadn't, it's easy from seed), and I don't care enough about the lantana (hah!) to wait until it's safe. I'd rather just do it now than deal with dropped foliage later. And as for the pencil "cacti", they looked awful and yes most would have survived, but they were only just now looking good from the single coldest night in 75 years from two years ago, so I'm tired of having them always in a state of pseudo-recover, lol. I left one that is undamaged, but I discarded two five footers that looked horrific. Buh-BYE!

I also hacked back and will soon discard my formerly-huge, formerly-beautiful trashcan-size lid paddle cactus Opuntia robusta. It leaned and wilted and then the weight of the massive paddles just made the whole darn thing just snap itself into pieces. I'm not dealing with THAT again. I'll just replace it with a nice native Opuntia englemanii. Here's the O. robusta BEFORE cleanup:

Here's some things that look good.

"Cape cowslips" (Lachenalia), a fun bulb that has done great for me for years on the east side of the house. Foliage in mid-winter, blooms in mid and late winter, and then a disappearing act for summer. So easy and so fun, and yup, no water during the hot months, how easy is THAT?

Some chocolate-freckled foliage Oxalis that I started from stem cutting several years ago. I know, I know, it's aggressive, but the foliage is great and the blooms are wonderful and I love that it grows when it's easy to keep happy and then goes dormant for summer. Neat little scaly bulbs! Half day sun or all day sun keeps them happy and blooming.

Finally a quick top-view of a "coral aloe" (Aloe striata) looking GREAT despite getting NO protection during the cold snap. Definitely one of my very favorite aloes. I love how the white edges on the leaves turn coral pink/red in winter, plus they are extremely reliable bloomers. You can't see it in this pic, but there's already a bloom stalk emerging between a few leaves of this plant. Definitely a winner--no need to worry about heat, or cold, or watering with this one.

What about you and your garden? How are things looking? Some of my citrus is still annoyed, and some looks totally unbothered. I scooped up three five gallon Home Depot buckets' worth of dried/dropped citrus foliage yesterday before the Super Bowl and have plenty more to do. What about your garden?

Looking forward to lots of pics and updates. Happy gardening all!
Grant, very, very tired of wearing sweaters!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics from my garden February 2013


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Shots taken during the 3" drenching we received two weekends ago.

Welcome to Agaveville.


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Wow, those are gorgeous! I haven't anything to compare with the pics above, but just for fun, here's the Valentine's Day Cactus. Better late than never, I guess....


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

@tomatofreak: Thank you, that's very kind. I discovered the hard way that tomatoes and Agaves don't mix, at least out here in Fountain Hills. I planted three tomato plants three years ago, and wrapped them in chicken wire after I noticed they were drawing in every evil plant-eating critter in the neighborhood. Once they were protected, they continued to draw in all the wood rats and rabbits, who then turned their attention to my precious Agaves. Oh well, live and learn...


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Wow, GermanStar, what beautiful plantings! I love the way you've grouped things. I wish my stupid HOA would recognize that xeriscaping can be lovely when it's done right, because I would so steal all of your planting ideas!


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Thank you very much! An HOA that discourages xeriscaping? That's pretty atrocious if you're in the Valley. That's like saying an HOA that discourages water conservation. I'd bet a couple of petition-wielding rabble-rousers in the neighborhood might get that turned around. ;-)


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Variegated squid agave and Aloe parvibracteata

Beautiful plants and plantings, GermanStar! I really like how you've combined them, and how you've used some nice rocks too. Great, great stuff. Thanks for taking the time/effort to share them. I love your garden!

Nice Valentine's cactus, tomatofreak, LOL. It looks great! I have quite a few Schlumbergeras just starting to bud up too, mine may be what, Presidents' Day cacti? We'll see. Yours looks nice though, so thanks for posting it. So fun to see who is growing what.

Here's my little variegated squid agave (Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost') which I've been growing on the east side of the house for a couple of years now (Wilson the tennis ball included to show relative size).

And a not-great pic of the blooms on an Aloe parvibracteata in the garden too. This one and its open flowers survived the recent cold snap just fine.

Happy gardening, keep the fun updates (pics or not) coming! I saw bring on the heat!
Grant


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Happy, healthy looking Agave -- well grown! And almost unbelievably, one I don't have, though I do have a plain Jane A. bracteosa in the ground.


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

You guys all have awesome pics!! :)

I got my hands on some worm poop (my bf's godfather owns a worm farm) and it seems to be helping my garden. My rosemary bushes I just planted look sturdy, my mint and lemon balm look excellent (thanks to advice from you all!), my tomato plant is okay, and my basil is struggling. Sorry for the lack of pix...next time!


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

silverchez, you've listed 8 as your USDA zone. Zone 8 is colder that Zone 9 and I don't have tomato plants - or basil - alive here in Phoenix. Are you growing in a greenhouse? Did I miss something? Have to admit I'm a bit envious of the worm poop, though. ;o)


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Tomatofreak: for some reason, my zip code doesn't work on the gardenweb zone finder; it's actually 9b (SE Gilbert).

The basil and tomatoes were both purchased at Home Depot and potted...I feel like that is kinda cheating, isn't it? :) I have been babying them both like crazy (been bringing them inside at night!).

So far I can't tell if the worm poop has made a different or not...I am still trying to figure out how to use it properly, heh :)


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February 9, 2013

Fun updates, GermanStar, Tomatofreak and Silverchez, keep them coming! Interesting about the zone mapper, Silver! Thanks for mentioning it.

Here's another what-looks-bad pic, my Hylocereus that I've been growing along a southwestern wall in the garden for years has really gotten annoyed after our record breaking cold snap a few weeks ago. I think its on its way out--although notice how happy the no-spine prickly pear Opuntia looks, as well as the nearby 'Moro' blood orange foliage:

And here's something that looks good, the flowers on my 7 foot tall hybrid Aloe 'Hercules' in the back garden (one photo has Wilson the tennis ball included to show relative size).




Finally, a quick pic of a colorful Talavera glazed pot practically hidden by a single huge growing striped petunia plant out on the patio. Smells so nice at night!

Keep your updates coming, pics or not. Happy gardening!
Grant

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics from my garden, Feb 2013


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

  • Posted by bolt z8 Phx (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 9:11

Great pics as usual Grant! I really love that pic of the Agave bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost' from a couple days ago. I keep looking on my Hercules for a bud, but ... nothing. :-) Probably because it's in a pot and not in the ground. I got it all trimmed from the frost damage, ugh.

Kevin


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Something good/something bad from my garden this weekend

Thanks for looking/commenting Kevin and all. I love that 'Monterrey Frost' agave too, so nice and impervious to the recent cold. Yay. My 'Hercules' aloe definitely has tip damage too. It's been in the ground for six years and has grown a ton--I'm excited to see the blooms and to see that it's finally branching. I'm sure yours will do the same too.

Now for something that looks (looked!) bad, and then good. I'm tired of the "dwarf" oleander around part of my covered patio, so this weekend I ripped them out (big job) and replaced them with fifteen rosemary plants, and added 1000 lbs of gravel mulch. I cleaned up the arbor too and planted honeysuckle, which is thriving on a trellis nearby, and I finally added some pavers underneath the arch too. I'm embarrassed about the "before" pic, but with the holidays, a month of houseguests, this awful weather and my work things just got nasty, hah! It took all weekend but now it looks better. Not great, but better. Happy gardening all, keep the updates coming!

BEFORE: tired, sickly, abused "dwarf" oleanders and an orange that unlike my others never looked good. Not the open soil under the archway. Shame shame on me, hah!





AFTER: not perfect, but better. I removed the sickly citrus, and the oleanders and replaced them with rosemary which does so well here, and has great scent and blooms and color. I also added pavers under the archway and planted two honeysuckles (Lonicera japonica) at each side. Last year I had all sorts of different vines on there--quite a mess. The recent cold snap took care of that so out they went, plus I cleaned up the remaining twigs (tsk tsk tsk).


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

  • Posted by bolt z8 Phx (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 14:59

Wow, what a difference (and a lot of work!). Looks great!

Kevin


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

  • Posted by haname z9 AZ NE Phoenix (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 18:39

Great job Grant! Your pics and the things you share about what you're doing in your garden are always appreciated. I actually enjoy doing that sort of cleanup because things look so refreshed afterwards.

On another note, is that pachypodium next to your rain barrel still wearing last year's leaves? Mine were good until the freeze, but now they look like old mops.


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

Thanks for the nice comments haname and bolt, I appreciate them, especially since I feel like I'm airing my dirty laundry, hah! Glad you like the after pics. I'm really ashamed at how bad the before looks! Oh well, we all learn by sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly, so why not, right?

Anyway, yes, haname, my Pachypodium geayi still have their leaves. Not all, but many of them. I haven't given them a single drop of water since mid-November but they just won't fully to go sleep. Here's a brand new, bad, pic, hah! That's my full-to-the-top 75 gallon rain barrel in the background.

Totally unrelated, here's a big ol' pot of 'Vista Bubblegum Pink' petunias that have been going crazy since November. Definitely a variety I'll plant again!

Wilson the tennis ball in both pics to show size. Keep the updates coming everyone, pics or no. Happy gardening! Grant


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

  • Posted by haname z9 AZ NE Phoenix (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 0:12

Dusted off the camera today and took some pictures...

English Daisy:

Hardenbergia has opened her eyes.

Calendula plants have done well right through the cold.

I had a white cyclamen last year. I tried to save the tuber but it dried up too much. So I took it out and mixed the soil, then planted some freesia bulbs in there. Now there are tiny cyclamen seedlings in that pot and others around the place.


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

GREAT new pics, Haname! I love those baby cyclamen plants. So cute! The English daisy, hardenbergia and and calendula are great too. Calendulas are just SO GREAT for our winters aren't they? They just seem immune to anything our winter climate can give them. Of course, they fade in late spring, but they do a great job all winter long. Love them. Yours are great!

Just for fun, here's an ice plant/Mesemb blooming away lately. Each summer I think it's going to DIE as it enters a heat-induced dormancy and gets very floppy/wilted/loose in the soil, but if I leave it alone it perks up in autumn and blooms in winter/spring. It's counter-intuitive, but it wants to NOT be watered in summer when it's in a heat-induced slumber. Wilson the tennis ball included to show size.

Here's a cute little Mammilaria bocasana blooming among some Aloe striata foliage on the east side of the house. Another cute little cactus that is immune to anything our climate gives it winter or summer. Just give it some shade in afternoons in summer. Easy and fun and it blooms a couple of times a year.

Happy gardening!
Grant


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Adios Opuntia robusta, hola Opuntia engelmanii

By the way, I ripped out that Opuntia robusta in the first pic and replaced it with a nice, durable Opuntia engelmannii, one of the native prickly pears, which I've grown before and always liked. Hopefully it will be bulletproof, plus it makes those Big Juicy Fruit!

Happy gardening all!
Grant

Here is a link that might be useful: What's blooming so far in my garden Feb 2013


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RE: What looks good/bad in your garden, February 2013?

GermanStar, lovely yard! Do you know the name of the plant in the fourth picture? is it spanish dagger or something?

Grant, love your re-model!

I do love to see the "overall view" pictures, it helps to see where the close-ups actually fit into and work in the landscape!

Helen


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