Newsletter October

Hot Gardens Newsletter:  October 2005

Previous newsletters by month and topic

Natural Roots. October is it–the best time to plant if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the natural environment seeds which have been scattered by Fall winds begin to take root if they have lodged in soil that is agreeable to them. Over winter, the roots will grow and the plant will be ready for an above-ground growth spurt come Spring.  So do not put it off one more week.  Amend your soil and plant now.

The Days of Our Gardens.  Keeping a garden diary with regular entries about changes in a garden has a long, long history.  It is a wonderful way to chart the growth of plants and conditions in a specific garden.  If you are interested in establishing your own online garden diary, you may find that Google’s Blogger programming — which is online and free– could be an excellent resource for setting it up.

Lawn Cover Up. Once again we think it may be a good time to re-think your lawn and perhaps convert part of it with attractive, water-wise shrubs as ground covers.

For example, the Acacia redolens ‘Desert Carpet’ endures drought, heat, poor soil and still produces dazzlingly bright yellow flowers in Spring. A single plant grows to 2 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

Lantana mix for groundcoverAnother utterly reliable choice is Lantana, which blooms for months on end in summer in a wide range of colors, from bright yellow to cerise pink to deep purple.  Imagine your front yard transformed into a field of brilliant hot pink or blazing red flowers!   Ground cover Lantana montevidensis will grow to 2 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide.  Trim it back in mid-winter. Note: Lantana camara is an upright shrub, good for hedges, not ground cover.

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Yet a third choice is the Dalea greggii, the evergreen Trailing Indigo Bush. This Southwestern native grows in a mound-shape to 1 1/2 feet tall and spreads to 6 feet wide. In Spring you can count on clusters of purple flowers (in a color which gives the plant its common name: ‘Indigo Bush’) among the fine green foliage. It takes blistering heat and needs very little water.

Another suggestion is the Eriogononum fasciculatum polifolium — wheww, what a botanic name!! — also known as Arizona Buckwheat. The 1 to 2 foot tall ‘Theodore Payne’ hybrid is good for erosion control on slopes. It spreads to 4 feet wide and blooms from Spring to Autumn with pink or white flower clusters.

To see a front yard that has been replaced with gorgeous flowering perennials, go here.

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