hot gardens sunflower logo hot gardens red logo    
   A Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate 
Leafy trees Fruit trees Palm oasis Vines, Climbers Shrubs, hedges
Fast growing trees Nut trees Ornamental grasses Garden walls Birds and bees
Beautiful borders Replace lawn Succulents, cactus Public gardens Pots on patios
Roses Free newsletter Month-by-month Desert dirt Home

Hot Gardens Newsletter:  April and May 2006

Previous newsletters  listed by month and topic

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 Huntington Gardens 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:

cows horn euphorbia

The Cow's Horn Euphorbia (Euphorbia grandicornis) from South Africa takes the prize as the number one most likely stopper. In the Phoenix Botanic Garden it grows to six feet tall and almost as wide. Its mere appearance says: "Don't mess with me."

devils creeper stenocereus eruca cactus

Our next candidate for crime stopper is the Devil's Creeper (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. 

golden barrel cactus 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 very inspiring! 

succulents in bloom

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.


Already retired? Still need more income?
Read the best-selling guide to 69+ ways to earn extra money.
Kindle   Nook   Kobo    iTunes

The Millennium Tree. Plant an 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

Retired? Still need more income?
Woman in apron
Read the
best-selling guide to 69+ ways to earn extra money.
'Working After Retirement'
Kindle   Nook
iTunes   Kobo

More gardening news for you
fan tex ash rio grande ornamental grasses santa barbara mission rose garden
For a burst of Fall color
plant a Fan Tex ash Rio Grande. 

Other trees are here.
Replacing your lawn? 
Consider these ornamental
to fill your front yard.
Preview the many gardens
of Santa Barbara including
the Mission Rose Garden.


 Our 8 Most Popular Hot Gardens Newsletters: 

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
Mediterranean fan palm Weather-proofing palms for winter; cold weather palm trees. White roses for night garden A white garden for night time viewing.
Trimmed myrtle and boxwood Topiary can be easy to create and add charm to your garden. Geranium in pot on patio Techniques to combat death by heat exhaustion of plants in pots.
Octopus cactus Cactus as security barriers for your property. Aloe in bloom South African aloes for brilliant late winter color in your garden.

Senior travel
Custom Search

Entire website, wording, design, photos © Copyright. 2003-2017 Carol Lightwood  All Rights Reserved.
  Privacy Policy   About