New Clothes for a New Garden

new gloves and hat

     I have bought a new hat and gloves as a way to celebrate gardening in a new place.  As my husband's work here is done, we are moving back to Virginia, and I am thrilled.  I've been waiting for this move for a long time.  I won't be doing extensive gardening at first, because we are renting for a while, but I will be able to plant some annuals in the yard and do some some container  gardening.  And, strangely enough, we ended up renting about six blocks from where we used to live.  I've been packing for the last two weeks, and I have had my fill of boxes, tape, bubble wrap and packing paper.  The movers are coming the end of this week, so this will be my last post for a few weeks.

     Here are a few things I learned about gardening and living in Arizona.

dried grass clippings as mulch

     Nothing decays here, it only dessicates.  I have put grass clippings on my flower garden, and after a year the clippings are still sitting on top of the soil, all brown and dry and crisp.  Since we get very little rain ( four inches last year), and the garden is watered by drip irrigation at each plant, most of the garden gets very little water on top of it.

vinca and celosia

     Solar radiation is much stronger here in the desert southwest (more than twice the solar radiation received by humid regions) because there is no humidity, little living ground cover, and no clouds.  We have gone for months without seeing a cloud.  So the skies can transmit maximal solar energy to the ground where much of it is absorbed, raising the temperature dramatically.  Because of the heat, not much flowers here June to mid-September.  The only flowers in my garden during that time are vinca and celosia.


     It is tricky growing vegetables here.  The last freeze date is around March 1, and the first 100 F day usually occurs in April.  In the fall, the temperature drops to  85 to 90 F by October, but the first freeze date can be mid-November.

     Although I am not a desert-loving person, the desert has its beauty.

Palo Verde tree
My favorite of all natives here is the Palo Verde tree, so golden and graceful.

     Red Yucca with its skyward red spikes.

     Prickly but nicely rounded Golden Barrel cactus.

     I'll be posting in a few weeks from the more humid and much greener climate of northern Virginia.  Hooray! 


  1. I knew you'd get away from there, sooner or later. Congratulations, L, and good luck on you back in our former (soon to be your current) state.

    1. Thanks, Lee.I'm looking forward to going back to a more livable climate. I am definitely an eastern person.

  2. Congrats on your move back east! I admire the way you took the move to the desert SW in stride and gave such a wonderful summary of all the things you "learned" during your stay there. I look forward to your posts from your new home, and wish you a quick and easy move.

    1. Thanks Cathy and Steve. Although I am not a wesstern type person, I did learn a lot here in order to garden. The move is coming fast, but I don't think moves are ever easy.