Newsletter Winter

Hot Gardens Newsletter:  Winter 2008

Previous newsletters by month and topic

    Wild Fire Stoppers.  The firestorms that struck the western Mojave desert regions outside of Los Angeles in October revealed a new use for succulent plants.  One homeowner claims that her giant Aloe arborenscens stopped the fire from burning her home.  And she may be right.  The 4 and 5 foot tall Aloes were planted like a hedge around her house.  Naturally filled with water, they baked and wilted in the intense heat — but did not burst into flame.  Nor did her home.

Many drought-tolerant plants have high oil content and burst into flame easily — aloes are the exception.  Since we wrote about this, we have heard similar reports from other gardeners in fire areas, confirming the value of these and other succulents as fire barriers.

Aloe arborenscens in bloom

Aloes bloom in Spring, sometimes as early as February, and provide a welcome burst of brilliant orange and yellow color in otherwise drab late-winter gardens. These giants are well over 6 feet tall.

Hate To Give Up Your Lawn?  Native Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is growing in popularity as a substitute for traditional lawn turf grasses, such as Fescue or Kentucky Blue Grass.  This native of the American Great Plains needs significantly less water and the newer varieties which grow to only 3 inches in height almost never need to be mowed. In autumn, Buffalo grass turns brown, then regrows in Spring.  If your local nursery does not have the seeds or plugs, you can find them online. More ideas for lawn replacement here.

Non-Toxic Weed Prevention. Get a head start on weed control in your flower borders by applying biodegradable corn gluten on the beds. This natural product, available in local nurseries or online, prevents seeds from sprouting without harming your existing plants. Corn gluten is a pre-emergent weed killer — it does not work if those pesky weeds have begun to grow.

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

Winter Root Health. It is cold now in many desert regions of the Northern Hemisphere, but the trees in your desert garden still need watering. This is doubly important if your winter climate includes drying winds. In winter your trees are growing new roots within the protected environment of the soil. Slow, deep watering every two weeks or so should keep your trees healthy through the cold dry season. More roots this winter also means more vigorous growth in Spring.

More gardening news for you
fan tex ash rio grande
For color in Fall  plant a Rio Grande ash. Other trees here.
succulents in bloom 220
Succulents bloom beautifully in spring and can thrive with neglect.
Santa Barbara Mission and rose garden
Preview the many gardens
of Santa Barbara including
the Mission Rose Garden.

Our 8 Most Popular Newsletters
  1. Six flowering plants that reliably bloom in scorching mid-summer heat.
  2. Cactus as security barriers for your property.
  3. Australian plants and trees that grow well in hot, dry climates.
  4. A white garden for night time viewing.
  5. How to combat death by heat exhaustion of plants in pots.
  6. Topiary can be easy to create and add charm to your garden.
  7. Weather-proofing palms for winter; cold weather palm trees.
  8. Non-toxic weed control and early signs of Spring.

Privacy Policy and Contact