Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Little More About the Garden

This year represents my first real try at desert gardening. The plants and soil and climate are so different from what I knew back in New Hampshire. 

I'm learning to group plants by their water needs. The tomatoes and roses are near each other because they like being watered; the cacti, off in the background in the picture below, are baking up against the adobe wall of the house and rarely get any water from the hose. 

The tomatoes were slow to grow and slow to bloom, but they suddenly took off and spread across the path, engulfing the roses, the crape myrtle, and the little hollyhock plants. Next year I am hoping for some spectacular hollyhocks, as they will shoot up and bloom in the second year. 
I had never seen vitex trees in bloom until this summer, but I loved their color. Ours was three feet tall when I planted it in June. I learned that if the first blooms are cut off after they turn brown, you will be rewarded with an even more abundant second blooming. I love their color with the pink of the crape myrtle, petunias, and geranium; and with the lavender-blue of the sage (not shown in these photos). The little tree fills the porch and the front yard with its spicy fragrance, which comes from both the flowers and the leaves.

Here is the Texas lilac (vitex) when it was planted in June; it only had a few blossoms, and just came up to the top of the fence

The Texas lilac in mid-September is full of blossoms and is a lot taller than I am. I love looking through it at the mountains. 


Beth said...

Your vitex tree is lovely, Clair. I envy you having a lilac that blooms again---I may have to see if they'll grow here.

You are so smart to group your plants according to water needs. I am finally learning that this year after watching one plant die because I paired it with one that loves water...and it didn't. If we don't stop having droughts here, though, I think I'll have to look into cacti gardening myself. :-)

EG CameraGirl said...

It sure does sound like a challenge. Wow! New Hampshire to New Mexico! I'll say the conditions are different. :)

Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

So different, gardening in the desert. I'm guessing you had to re-learn a lot of what you'd been doing for your entire adult life! Nice job, looks great!

WasSoggyInSeattle said...

Did I ever tell you that Mom says this is a mosquito bush and that you should plant them near your windows & doors? If not, I just did. She swears by them - I can't say the three I have in the yard is helping any but perhaps they aren't close enough to the patio/living areas for me to notice.

Take care!

Linda said...

All totally different to me. I have never heard of vitex. And the concept of tomatoes suddenly taking off and spreading everywhere is rather novel to a Scottish gardener.

Sandy ~~~ said...

Gardening in New Mexico will be a delight. Here in WA State everything gets water whether you want it or not...from the sky! And then it grows. That's good if it's a nice flower or bush but in the spring, summer, fall we could easily mow every 5 days!