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Hot Gardens Newsletter:
Spring 2010

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Wake up and eat.  As the days become longer and the overnight low temperatures rise, your plants are beginning to come out of winter dormancy.  And they are hungry!  

Over the winter plants have grown slowly underground, spreading their roots ever further in search of new food sources.  Now they are ready to make an upward push -- producing new branches, new leaves, and most important of all, new flowers which will lead to seeds.  Creating seeds for reproduction is what plants aim to do.  It is their reason for being.  

Yummy Mulch.  You can help your plants by add a good  mulch--full of organic materials--around trees and shrubs and in flower beds.  Then add a balanced fertilizer.  In many desert gardens you may have to add sulfur, iron or other minerals to allow your plants to grow and produce flowers and seeds.  Ask for recommendations from your local nursery for the best fertilizer for your soil specific conditions.   Don't rely on fertilizer you've seen advertised on TV.  It is unlikely to be suitable for desert alkaline soils. 

Why Mulch Twice a Year?  Much of the soil in the desert Southwest is alkaline.  Not many plants grow well in alkaline soil.  So, as every good desert gardener knows, when you establish a new garden the first thing to do is improve the soil with good organic mulch.  

What happens after your install the plants in the nutritious soil you have created is this:  the plants gobble up all the nutrition in the soil within a few months. 

Surprisingly quickly, the soil reverts to its alkaline state.  Some plants may continue to survive--after a fashion--particularly if you dose them with fertilizer.  But adding more and more fertilizer is like treating the symptoms without getting to the root cause.  By renewing the mulch in Spring and Fall will do much more to maintain a healthy growing environment for the plants in your desert garden. 

david austin rose If you plan to grow roses as beautiful as this David Austin rose, 'Sir Edward Elgar', you absolutely must enrich the soil around the bush once or twice a year.  Roses are hungry plants!

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Our 9 Most Popular Hot Gardens Newsletters: 

1.  Flowering plants that reliably bloom in scorching mid-summer heat.

2.  Australian plants and trees that grow well in hot, dry climates.

3.  Weather-proofing palms for winter; cold weather palm trees.

4.  A white garden for night time viewing.

5.  Topiary can be easy to create and add charm to your garden.

6.  Techniques to combat death by heat exhaustion of plants in pots.

7.  Cactus as security barriers for your property.

8.  South African aloes for brilliant late winter color in your garden.

9.  Frugal gardening tips to save you money.

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