Sonoran’s saguaro cactus is a gem of the desert…

Amazing, isn’t it?

This is the saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea, one of the most spectacular sights on my trip last week to the Garden Writers Annual Symposium in Tucson, Arizona.

The saguaro only grows in the Sonoran Desert, and it doesn’t do that very fast.  Saguaros only grow between 1 to 1-1/2 inches in their first 8 years, according to information published by the Saguaro National Park.

Our highly entertaining breakfast speaker, Peter Gierlach, former nurseryman, country singer and radio show host of “Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey,” told us that saguaro can be as old as 75 years old before they grow their first branch.  In drier areas, it can take up to 100 years to grow a branch.

Saguaras begin to bloom at about 35 and can live to be 175 to 200 years old.  They can get 50 feet tall and weigh as much as 6 tons.  (As my husband said to me, “you wouldn’t want that to fall on you!”)

According to the Saguaro National Park, “The roots of the saguaro grow in  a radial fashion, several inches under the ground.  During a heavy rain, a saguaro will absorb as much water as its root system allows.  To accomodate this potentially large influx of water, the pleats (of the saguaro) expand like an accordion.  Conversely, when the desert is dry, the saguaro uses its stored water and the pleats contract.”

Sometimes they grow in strange shapes, like this one intimately entwined with a tree at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

This unique and creative metal art pays homage to the saguaro and its stature in the desert.

Wonder how old this guy is?  I thought these statuesque cacti were phenomenal when I arrived in Tucson.  When I learned their amazing history and story, I was even more impressed.

I am in awe of the will and ability of plants to adapt and grow in the harshest of conditions and against all odds. 

I suppose that’s why I garden…I appreciate the gift of being able to be a part of something so much greater than me.

By | 2016-04-14T02:39:33+00:00 October 22nd, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Calling all Bloggers – Tell us what you think!


If you’ve ever attended a Garden Bloggers Fling or have an interest in attending, we’d love to get your opinion! We want to know what you enjoy most about the Fling, where you’d like to see a Fling hosted, and what you’d like to see more of at the event. And if you haven’t attended a Fling, we’d like to know why.

Please take a moment to fill out our survey. We promise – it’s short! We need all responses by September 21st, but why not take a few moments to fill it out right now?
Please feel free to share the link with other garden bloggers, including those who have not attended a Fling. You can simply post this link on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter to invite others to participate:
Fill yours out today!

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:16+00:00 September 4th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Garden inspiration, great plant combinations on vacation

This year’s low-key vacation didn’t include any garden tours for me, though I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful gardens we enjoyed while at the amusement park on our trip to Virginia Beach.

I know, it’s called Busch Gardens, but I hadn’t really thought about the Gardens part of it.  The entire park is nestled into lush gardens that soften and enhance the entire family experience.

There were colorful and clever little vignettes around every corner.

Even though she was more interested in all the wild and wacky rollercoasters, Kallie appreciated the flowers, too and was one of the prettiest blooms in this garden.

Being so close to the beach, the garden glowed with traditional tropical colors and textures — all plants I love.

It was beautiful and made our experience there (the walking, waiting and sweating!) much more pleasant.

I suspect I’ll have some serious garden photos to share on our next summer vacation, which will be Thailand.

By | 2016-04-14T02:39:34+00:00 August 24th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sand between my toes…

I’ve missed my garden.

We’ve been on a wonderful vacation at Virginia beach.  We played in the ocean, read on the beach, toured Colonial Williamsburg, and went through the whirlwind of Busch Gardens.

There’s a post in there somewhere — probably tomorrow.  I thought I would blog on the trip, or write some draft posts for later, or read blogs.

But I didn’t.

I enjoyed the true vacation, but I missed my garden and the blogs.

And while reading garden magazines on the plane home, I found the inspiration I’d been missing in the mid-summer slump.

I made note after note about new gardening, landscaping, blogging and article ideas. 

So, tomorrow it’s back to the real world or writing, drawing and planning.  (Oh, and laundry.)

But I really did enjoy having my toes in the sand!

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:16+00:00 August 4th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tough Stuff in the Garden — drought-tolerant plants blooming in the summer heat

We’ve reached the dog days of summer in Central Texas. But then again, the dog days of summer have arrived around most of the country with this unusual and unbearable heat wave causing record temperatures everywhere you look. Some of my trusted summer bloomers are taking a little break — ready for some pruning to bring on more flowers. But there are drought-tolerant xeric plants in my garden that are taking it all in stride.

This desert rose is just starting to thrive as the heat here mimics desert-like conditions. Needless to say, I don’t really water this one.

This butterfly bush is happily putting on purple plumes with only once-a-week watering because of our restrictions.

Many summer annuals are thriving, too.  Zinnias scattered throughout my beds are undaunted by the heat.  These pink cut and come again zinnias and the narrow-leaf zinnias below are both blooming away.

Well-adapted crape myrtle trees are also in full bloom.  This burgundy dwarf variety in the background makes a nice contrast to the ruby crystals grass blooming in front of it.  The ruby crystals are a pass-along from Lancashire Rose of Rock Rose.

These lemons are happily growing into hardy fruit — they are in a pot so the get a drink and a little shower burst from me almost every day like they would down in South Florida.

While some of my other salvias are done blooming for a bit, this pitcher sage is just getting started.

Drought-tolerant native and adapted plants are being put to the test with these dry 100+ degree days, most are surviving and some are even thriving.  They are always our best bet here in Central Texas.

 Which tough plants are powering on in your garden in this heat?

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:16+00:00 July 7th, 2012|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fall Color in the Garden – Lion’s Tail happily wagging

The mornings and nights are finally cooler.

The sky looks just a little different.

The days are getting shorter.

And it’s only going to be 91 degrees today.

Those are the signs of fall in the Central Texas garden.

And great conditions for enjoying Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens each month on the 15th.

It’s relief from unrelenting heat, and we’re still enjoying the effects of last weekend’s 1.57 inches of rain.

The garden seems to have been rejuvenated. There is nothing quite like a good dose of rainwater to perk everything up again.

And so it is with plants in the cutting garden. In my last post, there was a long shot of it bursting with yellows and creams and oranges, and the wild Coreopsis sneaking through the fence to join the show.

This is the star of the show. This Lion’s Tail, Leonotis leonurus, is from the Lamiaceae or mint family. It’s native to South Africa, and is drought tolerant, which explains why it’s happy in our gardens here in Central Texas.

A dwarf variety, these are only 3 to 4 feet tall. I’ve planted others in previous years and they were up to 6 feet tall.

Their unusual form and profuse blooms add wonderful color to the emerging fall garden.

By | 2016-04-14T02:40:04+00:00 October 15th, 2011|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, Uncategorized|0 Comments