Thursday, January 19, 2017

My brothers garden...

I first visited Phoenix on a business trip in, oh...1994-ish, and then again the following year. I fell deeply in love with the desert. In 2000 my brother, Darin, had the nerve to up and move there — several visits followed and I fell deeper in love. While not a gardener per se, my brother has an above average interest in plants, and the landscape in general, especially around his home. His garden became my desert garden and I still have many Agave pups that he gifted me over the years.

Well, that was then. He and his family moved in 2015 and it was killing me that over a year went by and I still hadn't seen their new home and garden. Finally this last October I had a chance to visit. It took me by surprise just how much space they had. A huge home and spacious lot for not much more than our small home and tiny lot in Portland. Yes, this has sent my mind to thinking about a move...unfortunately Andrew doesn't feel the same.

The Pygmy Date Palms (Phoenix roebelenii), are not reliably hardy in Phoenix but since they're up against the house and under a significant overhang they're fine.

And quite lovely..

Tecoma capensis, I believe? They have several.

And the first of many Mesquite trees.

This little guy is another Mesquite they planted.

I asked why not a Palo Verde and was told they make too much of a mess. Whatever... (eye roll...).

Oh my, those are beauties!

But before we look at the mature specimens how about those small Agaves? They're all transplants from his previous garden.

This picture made me laugh. I was focusing on the plants but got myself with the camera to my face, and my brother, probably touching the bill of his baseball cap — in between us the Saguaro shadow. On the far left is my nephew.

This bad boy is the Saguaro, also a transplant from his previous garden. Not an easy thing to do, but he'd planted it as a tiny baby and now it's over 5-ft tall.

The monster Ocotillo and purple Opuntia were already there, when they moved in.

What a beauty!

An old flower...

And fresh foliage.

Oh and a few small pieces came home with me. I'm still trying to root them.

Another old Mesquite.

Their front yard was completely open to the street, when they moved in. Darin, and my sister-in-law Nellie, had the low stucco wall added for delineation. I'm standing in the street to take this photo.

He's planted several Hesperaloe between the wall and the street.

Now we've moved into to their backyard. Lawn! Yes even in Phoenix. That's another huge mature Mesquite. In the corner is a lemon tree, we'll see it again in just a bit.

Closer to the house is their shade pavilion (look familiar?) Darin built it last summer, and yes, he's a BBQ'er.

I don't remember the name of this handsome flowering shrub...

But the flowers look very much like a Solanum, don't you think?

This beautiful tree is an orange, inherited as an overgrown mess, Darin has done quite a bit of pruning to bring it back to a proper tree form.

Love those spikes!

And especially the fruit. He had a delicious grapefruit in the garden of his previous home, I'll miss its amazing fruit! I hope to visit when these are ripe...

Bougainvillea! It wouldn't be the desert without Bougainvillea.

Thankfully there's an Aloe too, also inherited.

The lemon tree, in the process of being pruned into shape...I think it's looking quite nice.

And as I see all over Phoenix there were also several palm seedlings. It boggles my mind.

Looking back towards the house, and the shade pavilion...

And this! Purple Fountain Grass, Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' — it's not an annual in Phoenix.

What a visit! It was only 4 days but it was a wonderful experience. In addition to the Desert Botanical Garden and Arcosanti I also managed to visit a few nurseries, one of them with my brother and family, the Cactus Farm, where we bought a few new plants for their garden. I'll share images from that visit tomorrow. In the meantime here's a fabulous old wheelbarrow my sister in law bought at a yard sale while I was there. I must admit I was jealous and wanted to take it home with me.

My nephew however, he had other ideas...

Weather Diary, January 18: Hi 46, Low 32/ Precip .75(?)

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

25 comments:

  1. Your love of spiky plants is evident, and you confess to loving summer best, and I'm just wondering how much longer you'd tolerated this damp NW environment. And wouldn't you miss the challenge of pushing the limit of where one can grow desert plants?
    BTW, transplanting a 5' Saguaro deserved a post all by itself!

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    1. Oh I'm sure I'd find something to grow that pushed the limits in the desert, probably a lot of my favorites from my current garden! For now at least we're firmly rooted in Portland, the husband's good job you know...

      (And yes! I wish I'd been there to photograph the cactus moving, my parents were but didn't take a single photo...)

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  2. Maybe you need a winter place somewhere like Palm Springs. Your brother's landscape reminds me a lot of those you see there. (And there are house deals to be found there too!) I'd been trying to remember the proper name of that purple-flowered Solanum-like plant since I saw it yesterday - formerly classified as Solanum rantonnetti, it's now classified as Lycianthes rantonnetti.

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    1. I would LOVE a place in Palm Springs, the mid-century architecture really speaks to me as well. And yes! That's why I asked about that purple plant yesterday - I thought it might be the same. Ha! How wonderful yesterday was!!!

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  3. Seeing your brother's place makes me want to move to Arizona all over again. I just can't shake the bug :-).

    I think the orange-flowering shrub is Tecoma stans, not capensis. And the purple-flowering shrub looks like blue potato bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii), a solanum-relative.

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    1. That makes two of us Gerhard....and thanks for the plant IDs.

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    2. Definitely not T. stans but T. capensis, (which used to be Tecomaria).
      JFHenning1@aol.com

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  4. I think Kris got the ID on the purple flowers. I was just checking the nomenclature on that plant a couple days ago and the image rang a bell. Oh those Phoenix roebelenii! I love them! I'm also a huge fan of ocotillos. Hope your cuttings root for you. I love the mesquite and citrus trees, too.

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    1. I'm hoping my Ocotillos hang on until summer, a little patio time in the sun and hopefully they'll be happy. I'm already planning my next visit...

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  5. Sweet! Thank you for the warm photos. Would you really move? This weather has pushed many of us to think about it at the very least.

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    1. I would. I would love to try gardening in a different climate.

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  6. But there are scorpions and snakes in the desert. Eek! Your brother's place looks really nice & I was especially taken by how colorful the purple opuntia is. And those round pads are so sweet! Andrew doesn't want to move? How do you feel about a long-distance relationship?

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    1. There are snakes in Oregon and Washington too! No long distance relationships for me...

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  7. What a treat to inherit a garden with such gorgeous mature specimens of so many types. I think one of the things that gets and keeps one interested in gardening is having others to talk to and who will appreciate what you are doing. Clearly they are on their way with you and this new landscape!

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    1. We gardeners do encourage each other don't we? The gardening community in Portland is one that would be hard to leave...

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  8. We're kind of thinking about AZ in our future down the road... maybe we'll actually meet one of these years?

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    1. Oh I think we'll meet before too long!

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  9. That's a newish dwarf Tecoma hybrid, one of several out in the trade. Look at the website for Mountain State Wholesale Nursery if you want to pin down an exact cultivar name. There's about a half dozen different colors.

    On the flip side of gardening in Phoenix, the summer days can be brutal, and what you don't spend on winter heating, all goes to paying for air conditioning. Plus there's all those creatures and insects that love to eat Agaves...

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    1. We've visited in July and yes HOT! I think it was in the 90's when we arrived at the Desert Botanical Garden at opening. But it's a dry heat...

      My brother lost a few of his Agaves at the old house to the snout weevil. What an evil creature.

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  10. Citrus root systems are pretty sensitive so letting lower branches shade the area inside the drip line might be the reason they were not in "tree" form. A thick but fluffy mulch might be a good idea.

    Nice property! I hope your brother's family will be very happy there.

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    1. Interesting...I'll let him know about the mulch. He had a couple of grapefruit trees at the old place, but they were so huge they shaded their own roots.

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  11. We've done some hiking down there and Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' is actually an invasive weed out in the arroyos.
    I totally get your impulse to move there and garden. It does sound heavenly! We go south every winter and I have the same internal wrestling in my mind each year!

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    1. Interesting about the Pennisetum, I had no idea!

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  12. Very nice. I think that was a genius move to add the wall. It's low enough that it's not a weird barrier for some sort of compound, but adds some structure and definition.
    Moving to the dessert? No, thank you. Too hot, too dry, only going to get hotter and drier. If I wanted to grow Agaves in the ground (and I do) I would move to Portland..... :)

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    1. Interesting that you use the word "compound" as there were a couple of those on the street. I've got pictures of one to share soon.

      As for Agaves in the ground in Portland...if any of mine survive this winter then I'll know they're true rock-stars.

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