Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate
Hot Gardens Newsletter: April and May 2006
List of previous newsletters by
Stick 'Em Up.
If you want to keep unwelcome guests--either animal or
human--away from your home, plant a row of thorny cactus at
the edge of your property in place of--or in addition to--a
fence. During a recent visit to the
in San Marino, California we photographed some really wicked
cactus that would bring intruders to a halt instantly.
We do not recommend that these
cactus be planted in any location where children or pets
might get into them. They can be very harmful! If
these cactus are too scary for you, consider planting a
dense row of roses--prettier, but not quite as much of
an obstacle. Barbary (Berberis) is another
choice for a thorny barrier at your property's edge.
The Most Wicked Three:
The Cow's Horn
Euphorbia (Euphorbia grandicornis)
from South Africa takes the prize as the number one
most likely stopper. In the
Botanic Garden it grows to six feet tall and
almost as wide. Its mere appearance says: "Don't
mess with me."
Our next candidate for
crime stopper is the
(Stenocereus eruca) from Baja California.
This grows horizontally and would best be used in a
wide open location. It will certainly slow down any
intruder and won't interfere with your view.
Last, but not least, on our
list is the
Golden Barrel (Echinocactus)
cactus, another native of Mexico. Its lovely color
belies its formidable thorns. These specimens grow
slowly to 4 feet tall and need to be watered every
couple of weeks in summer.
The Kinder Cousins of
Cactus. Succulents, unlike their prickly cousins, need almost no care and very
little water. While they are not particularly effective at
keeping away unwanted visitors, a succulent border can be
Colorful succulents make
one think of ripping out the lawn and planting blue
and orange sedum in its place. You can also view
more cactus and succulents on this site.
The Millennium Tree.
olive tree (Olea europa) today and it may well be alive,
well and producing olives 1,000 years from now!
Unbelievable, you say? Well, there are clearly documented
examples of olive trees that are at least hundreds of years
old along the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Greeks, Italians, and now British expatriates harvest the
olives from the trees around their homes and have the oil
pressed from them for their own use.
There is a trend toward using the
pollenless, fruitless 'Swan Hill' olive tree in Southwestern
gardens these days which makes allergy sufferers happy. In
some locales all but fruitless varieties are banned.
Fruiting olive trees are available so ask at your local
nursery for a fruiting variety specifically, if you want to
plant one to harvest the olives. To learn more about harvesting and processing
olives and olive oil on a small scale, visit the
Mediterranean Garden Society website and search for
"Olives". You will find several fascinating (and sometimes
funny) articles written by homeowners who decided to harvest
the olives growing in their private gardens.
Go to our
Newsletter for April 2005
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