Monday, January 26, 2009

New Directions...

With the new year, the inauguration of a new president (and for us in Arizona, a new governor), I was feeling an air of new things - new directions. So this weekend I was inspired to install a new path. For years I had to track through barren grass and mud, back & forth, from my patio to my utility side yard. Not to be defeated by the failed lawn, I turned to inspiration and a shovel.

Installing a paver path is not an easy project, but by no means is it complicated. I want this path to be durable and long lasting, which would entail a good foundation. I did a lot of digging to make sure there would be no bermuda grass visiting me later in the summertime.

I installed some 1"inch gravel as the path base (about 2-3"inches deep). On top of that, about a 1"inch layer of quarter-minus gravel (otherwise known as DG - decomposed granite). This is all packed down well before I set the pavers in place. And the pavers aren't necessarily level; the path needs to slope to prevent puddling.

One clever thing I did, was to build the path out from the patio and build the path from my utility area simultaneously. This way, the two paths come together in the middle and I can make sure they meet evenly. Stay tuned...
and soon the two shall meet...

Monday, January 19, 2009


I don't consider myself a big sports fan, but I have always been a strong supporter of our Cardinals. That was some game this weekend! I thought now would be a good time to 'go red'. The weather is getting warm and the Cardinals are Super Bowl hot. So here are some great plants to show-off your team colors in the garden:

Eremophila - Valentine Emu bush
Callistemon Bottlebrush
Calliandra - Fairy Duster
Cardinal Red - Penstemon Palmeri
Hibiscus – San Diego Red
Salvia Greggii
Russelia - Coral Fountain
Lantana - Dallas Red
Firecracker Penstemon - Penstemon Parryi

These plants will not only show your red bird pride, but will also attract your own fans - hummingbirds!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Beginnings...

Those December showers are sure to bring March flowers. The rain may not do much to cure the drought but is sure to set us up for an amazing spring blooms. With the on-off rains, seeds are an ideal venture. For just a few bucks you can get some wonderful interesting seeds and make a whole lot of plants.

I always sow seeds in a variety of locations around the garden just to see what areas provide the best conditions. The key to good seed germination is steady even moister, so you may need to be ready to hand water a couple times each day for about a week until the seeds sprout. One good way to get them kick started is to set out your seeds just before the rains are expected. (Rain water is the most magical of garden elixirs!) Nature will get things started; you will just have to keep an eye on the seeds and make sure the soil stays moist. And avoid puddling. Excess water can wash away seeds or keep them afloat avoiding soil contact, which is what they need to root. If you have a drip system set-up, you’ll certainly get seeds happening.

I also recently learned something interesting about seeds – they can go bad! So if you have some seeds from a friend from last spring who got them from her mom as a graduation gift, don’t expect too much from them. I wouldn’t get rid of them; just plant them amongst some fresh new seeds of a different variety, that way you’ll know who’s old and who’s new when things start to bloom.

Most seeds show visible signs of growth in a couple of weeks to a month. And do yourself a favor – make a sketch of the area and note what was planted where and write down the date. You could also make plant labels by re-purposing some take-out dining sporks – write on the handle with a Sharpie and stick it in the ground.