A Master Gardener's guide to gardening in a hot dry climate
It is still far too early and
too hot for Fall planting, but consider greening up
those walls once the weather cools. A hedge or climbing
vine can significantly reduce the heat captured and
released by concrete block walls, thus reducing the
temperature of the air surrounding your home both day
and night. For a list of shrubs that make excellent
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While we have entered into the
Too-Hot-To-Do-Anything-Outside season, we would recommend
that you take a quick foray into your garden during midday
and feel how hot those concrete block walls are. Then,
during the evening, do it again. This simple test will show
you how much heat is being absorbed during the day, then
radiated back out at night.
Topiary Trim. Topiary, however, does not
necessarily mean plants trimmed to look like teddy bears or
dinosaurs. Shrubs pruned into simple geometric shapes are
also topiary. But some shrubs lend themselves more to being
trimmed in interesting forms. This photo shows a
combination of three shrubs trimmed to simple but attractive
|| A combination topiary
hedge using low
Korean Boxwood with
a globe of fine-leafed
Myrtle and a
tall hedge in the rear of
The three different shapes and three textures add
interest to this part of the garden.
The low hedge in front is
Korean Boxwood (Buxus Koreana) which is
recommended for hot, dry climates. English Boxwood
does not like alkaline soils and hot summers. Behind
the Boxwood is a large
communis) shaped into a globe. The tall
hedge at the rear is the fast-growing
Japanese Privet (Ligustrum japonicum).
especially like Myrtle for hedges. It is a dense shrub
with small leaves and needs only an annual trimming after it
has been initially shaped. It's natural shape is globular
so keep that in mind when you decide to shape it by pruning.
on the other hand, shoots branches out in all
directions and requires frequent attention. It also
has a pungently scented flower that looks somewhat
like white lilac--but it sure doesn't smell like
lilac! A row of privet shrubs, however, can make a
narrower hedge than the wider, more globular Myrtle.
If your garden is surrounded by a chain link fence, you may
also want to add green to it with some vines. We
especially like the look of the Australian-native
(Hardenbergia violacea) which blooms in February --
an early sign that winter is ending. It is a rugged,
evergreen vine that will take full sun and requires only
The Delicious Side of Global
Warming. One of Britain's largest grocery
store chains, Sainsburys, has just harvested and sold the
first-ever crop of apricots grown commercially in the U.K.
Kiwi fruit is next on their list of new, locally-grown,
non-native fruits. Another grower has planted an
almond orchard in Southern England with an eye to harvesting
the nuts commercially. This may impact growers
elsewhere on our planet who may find that the demand for
their exported apricots, kiwis and almonds will diminish.
You can find a list of
nut trees for your desert garden on this site. We would
like to thank Joan Padro for bringing this news about
apricots in London to our attention.
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