Sunday, February 5, 2012

Let's try this again...

Last year we purchased soil, mulch, and all these plants that grow great in well-watered, rich-soiled areas. Then we went away for a weekend, and everything dried up like a prune.

I was a bit disappointmented, as gardening is a hobby & passion of mine. In fact, I became quite frustrated with our hot climate.

But we did some research on desert plants, and I found a new love! Desert plants are quite fascinating, actually. Their tough outer skin & small leaves result in maximum absorbtion of our spare water -- allowing them to thrive on little.

They are also extremely regenerative. You can cut a branch or an arm off a cactus, and plant it in the ground somewhere else to create a new plant.

So we found a very local cactus nursery last weekend, and got to work! Here are a few of the gems we planted. (These are pictures I've found offline, as I haven't taken proper pictures of our front yard yet due to the immaturity of our plants at this point)

The Desert Barrel - I found these to be kind of interesting as they grow these beautiful flowers a few times/year. Also, no matter what orientation you transplant these in the ground......they will ALSO lean to the south.

Ocotillo - These are just a fun plant that get a lot of height. One of my favorite uses of these plants, is that when they die they make for a really neat fence or gate. It definitely is for the southwestern/desert feel, however.

Agave Americana - I'm sure you've heard of agave, as the blue agave plays a part in what makes a margarita so delicious (tequila!!). Well, there are a wide variety of agave plants. We planted 4 smaller agave americano's in our yard. These are such healthy & vibrant looking plants.

Yellow Barrel Cacti - These are very similar to the previous barrel cacti I spoke about. However, they are smaller, and are planted in groups. 

Prickly Pear - These cacti put off some gorgeous flowers and fruits. The fruits have a very refreshing and sweet flavor. They make an excellent margarita, too! The picture below is an extreme version..I would never let ours get this big! You NEVER want to allow these to get too large, as large prickly pears are great "houses" for packrats! No thank you!

We learned this while house hunting, and the older homes with these plants had big pack rat holes.

And finally....

Saguaro - We don't have any saguaro's in our yard. These come with a hefty price actually, since they are so sacred to the Sonoran desert. But they are quite fascinating. Once they start growing arms, that means they are about 100 years old. So it's amazing when you see the trees with multiple arms - that means they've been in the soil for hundreds of years! How cool!

These last 2 photos were taken by yours truly! Well..not the one of me running. Ryan took that, obviously! But these were taken at our own Saguaro National Park this fall!

I hope I haven't totally bored you. I've just become mildy fascinated with this new genre of planting! When my cacti mature a little, I will post some photos!

Next post up....Chicken Curry stay tuned!