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A Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate 
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Gardening in a dry, hot desert-like climate is always an adventure.  Too much sun.  Too little water.  And soil that has almost nothing going for it.  Your drought-tolerant garden, however, can be much more than sizzling hot rock mulch* scattered with pines and scrawny bushes. 

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Create a Mediterranean Garden 

You will find that it is definitely possible to create a Mediterranean-style retreat around your home with fast growing, leafy green trees and palms in garden rooms. You can enjoy shady havens surrounded by green hedges and fabulous drought-tolerant flower borders 

FanTex Ash 'Rio Grande' , above, is one of many leafy trees that thrive in hot gardens.

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the Hot Gardens website.

Plant a Desert Style Garden

Further away from your house, you can plant a drier, more desert-like xeriscape garden with cactus, ornamental grasses, acacias, mesquites and other desert plants.  Better yet, you can do it all while using water wisely.

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View a remarkable private orchard garden, hidden behind sheltering walls in the American Southwest.

See photos of more than a dozen Botanical Gardens in the Western United States. Start here.

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Mixed lantana Flowering plants that reliably bloom in scorching mid-summer heat. Australian acacia shrub. Australian plants and trees that grow well in hot, dry climates
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* How hot is rock mulch?  When the outside air temperature is 100 degrees, the surface temperature of the rock mulch in the sun around your home, particularly on the south and west sides, may easily be over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. (65 degrees Celsius).  The new artificial turf, being promoted as water-wise, may also be hotter than 150 degrees.  It is as if your home is sitting in an oven! 

But a green grass lawn will remain relatively cool in the low 90s.  If, however, you don't want a lawn, consider replacing your lawn with a water-wise ground cover, such as a low, spreading shrub, Acacia redolens or Lantana, to help reduce the temperature of that super-heated rock mulch.  Not to mention how ground covers can help reduce your air conditioning bills!

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