Newsletter September

Hot Gardens Newsletter: September 2005

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Luminaria Nights.  As the weather cools, we can all move back out onto our patios after sundown. And there is nothing quite as lovely as luminarias set around the desert garden patio to add light and atmosphere. While traditionally used at Christmastime, there is no reason to wait — set them out now. The most common ones are the classic metal containers with small holes in patterns to allow the candle inside to cast its light on the surrounding area. But these days, in some garden stores and on the internet, you can find beautiful hand-painted terra cotta luminarias and even ones that use electric lights instead of candles.

Paint It New. If summer sun has bleached out the color on your patio furniture, consider a quick paint job to bring the chairs and tables back to life. With the new paints for plastic you can even take those tired, old white plastic chairs — so practical and economical — and make them a cheerful yellow or red or green. Add some brightly colored cushions and your whole patio will seem brand new.

Time to Plan, Then Plant. Many readers have reported that July’s extreme heat caused severe damage to their desert gardens. A half-ruined garden, however, is an opportunity to remake the space into something very useful and beautiful. So before you rush to the local nursery to buy new plants, take time to draw up a plan.

Your garden plan does not have to look like a landscape architect’s detailed drawing. You can simply make a rough drawing of the shape of your lot or garden, then draw circles to indicate the current function — or non-function — of each area.

After you have completed this, use another color pencil or pen to note what you would really like to have. Do you need more shade? Do you need additional seating around the patio? Would you like to replace your lawn? How about more color in your garden next summer? Or what should you do with that narrow sideyard space between your house and the neighbor’s wall?

Then begin. You may only do one or two new things this Fall, but hang onto your plan as a reminder of your long-term goal.

Invest in The Garden. With each tree or shrub you plant you are adding significantly to your property value. A young Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia). for example, might cost less than $40. Plant it this month and within five years it could be 30 feet tall and worth thousands! And if you plant it on the South or West side of your home, that tree will definitely save much more than $40 on air conditioning.

Reliable Summer Color. If you want plants you can count on for colorful blooms all summer go here.

More gardening news for you
Sago palm
It may look like a palm, but it’s not. This Cycad is good in a  backyard palm oasis.
Tucson Botanical herb garden
The Tucson Botanic Garden is filled with demonstration gardens for homes.
Clematis in bloom
Clematis is just one of  many beautiful vines for hot gardens.

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