Mum is the Word in the Desert Garden

Prior to moving to the Valley of the Sun, north of Phoenix, Arizona, we lived in northwestern New Jersey; Hunterdon County. We normally gardened from May through October and there were times when we started seeds indoor in early April. We could stretch our gardening into the fall and early winter by including Chrysanthemums.

Mums were part of the Halloween-Thanksgiving trimmings in our area. We usually had them placed on our front steps often with thin netting over them to keep the deer from nibbling. There were years when we were able to winter over a mum or two, but much of the time our efforts fell short or the variety we purchased was not as hardy as we thought.



We were surprised to find that mums are available for purchase in our area of Arizona during the same season as in the northeast. It was only natural then that we began to fold some of them into our Halloween-Thanksgiving floral displays.

Because our experience with Chrysanthemums was anchored in the northeast, we figured that once the real hot weather of sustained ninety to one-hundred and above came along, that these familiar plants would wither and die.

Imagine our surprise to find that they, given enough shade and water, fight off the heat to usher forth extended blooms during the late spring and summer and into the following fall. To give these plants the best chance possible for surviving in this less than hospitable climate, we have a routine we follow in the early spring.

This is the mum we selected for what we call revitalizing.



As readers can see, the green leaves make up only about one-half to two-thirds of the plant and there are a lot of brown, dead leaves and stems.



What we normally do if it is warm and the sun is in full flare is bring the plant into the shade of one of the garage bays and work there. We move the plant into the garage and remove the rock mulch that we use in almost every planter.



Once the rock mulch is removed, much of the dead parts of the plant are trimmed.



After the initial trimming, we begin to excavate the root ball.



NOTE – Notice that we work mostly on a drop cloth to catch errant dirt, stones and debris. The old dirt is offloaded to a cement mixing bin to dry and save for use in a future rejuvenated mix.

Once the root ball is excavated, it is examined to make sure the roots are white and in good condition and there are no grubs hiding. Then I gently remove more of the dead, hard stems and any dead roots.

NOTE – Be careful to leave most of the rootball intact as the plant will need to recover even from a mild root trimming and tickling.



Here is a closer look:



There are some stems so low to the base of the root ball that they have to be cut away with a scissors or garden shear which reduces the chance of disturbing too much of the root ball.



I make one final inspection of the root ball and very gently loosen some of the compacted roots so they are able to spread when they grow anew.



On the left is the old pot with the remaining old dirt. In the upper middle area of the picture is the new, smaller pot that is lighter in color. The new plant will spend much of the summer in this pot, but may need to be transplanted in to a larger pot later.



Enough new planting mix is placed in the pot to take up approximately one third. This is the bottom third of the planter.



To encourage downward root growth, I place a small amount of fertilizer in the bottom of the pot (notice the green dots in the ovals- BELOW) and then mix them into the top part of the bottom mix. The green dots are hard to discern in this photo and may be confused with gravel which is used in the planting mix. The arrows show the gravel which is much less uniform in shape.



The new planter is placed inside a bin to catch any stray dirt. Dirt is added to the correct depth to bring the crown of the plant to about three-quarters of an inch below the rim of the pot. I usually create a cone in the center and put the newly trimmed rootball in the center. The dirt is then filled in around the rootball as shown above.



Here is the plant with the dirt filled in and new, different fertilizer added (see the Vigoro in the background).



After the planting is complete, water is gently added. I use my hand to break the flow and spread the water around the rootball of the plant. Once the plant has been watered so that water runs freely through the bottom of the pot, I gently press the dirt down to remove any potential air pockets.

NOTE – Don’t press down too hard which may compact the roots; just gently.



Now it is time to move the plant to its place in the courtyard. We picked an area that will receive mostly shade with a bit of sun during the day. This will protect the mum from the blazing heat. Notice that a two gallon per-hour emitter (red) has been anchored to the side of the plant.



Another emitter is added to the other side of the plant to provide even coverage when watered.



We place the rock mulch on top of the plant, which also helps to hold the emitters in place and give one final watering. A protective cover is placed over the pot for a couple of days to provide bit of shade. The Dollar Store or Target sells laundry baskets, crates, etc. that serve this purpose. Sometimes we need to drill more holes depending on the configuration.

NOTE – We often put a weight on top of the “covers” to keep them from blowing off in the wind.



The plant is carefully checked over the next couple of days and after that, the basket or crate used to shield the sun is removed. The plant then needs time to grow and in a few months this is how it looks.



You can see it here (BELOW) on the left. As the summer progresses, the snail vine will grow to cover the sun trellis and offer enough shade to provide an appropriate environment for the plant during the hottest summer days.



You may also note two other mums on the right that we transplanted in the same fashion .



We have followed this procedure for a couple of years now and it has served us well. I wouldn’t have guessed that we would be able to winter-over or perhaps more appropriately, summer-over the mums in our Sonoran Desert environment.

 

Read more gardening posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Enchanted Pumpkin Garden – 2017 – Part 2


The information below appeared on yesterday’s post so if you read that, feel free to skip to the pictures below. If, however, you didn’t read it, you can find it HERE.

This time of the year fosters much fun and merriment related to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Carefree, AZ offers a display of pumpkin carvings and pumpkin-based dioramas. Ray Villafane and his crew are carving magicians and once again this year their skill is on display.

There is more background information in last year’s posts. You can find them HERE.

As you will see below, this year’s dioramas are entertaining with their ingenoius scenes and situations. A few are a bit macabre, but overall the display and event are very family friendly. Here are some photographs from the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, 2017 – Part 2


Ray Villafane continued to work on this carving of the day
As guests stroll through the garden Ray Villafane (pumpkin carver extraordinaire) continued to work on this carving of the day.


Keep an eye our as there are pumpkins at nearly every turn
Keep an eye our as there are pumpkins at nearly every turn!


With all the pumpkins in town, sometimes  medical care may be needed
With all the pumpkins in town, sometimes medical care may be needed.


Unfortunate pumpkin has an injured leg
Unfortunate pumpkin has an injured leg.


This individudal had a run in with a Cholla cactus
This individudal had a run in with a Cholla cactus!


There were some who wanted to relax around a campfire
There were some who just wanted to relax around a campfire.


The ol' swimmin' hole was popular this evening
The ol’ swimmin’ hole was popular this evening.


Hard to tell if this pumpkin is having fun or not
Hard to tell if this pumpkin is having fun or not.


Having trouble lifting weights at the gym
Having trouble lifting weights at the gym.


A boxing match was held on the other side of the gym
A boxing match was held on the other side of the gym and…


The fellow on the left is knocked off his feet
The fellow on the left is knocked off his feet.


Pumpkins needed to watch out for the mean pumpkin catcher!
Pumpkins needed to watch out for the mean pumpkin catcher!.


The three witches were working on a brew
The three witches were working on a brew.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 
See previous posts about life in the desert HERE.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Enchanted Pumpkin Garden – 2017 – Part 1


This time of the year fosters much fun and merriment related to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Carefree, AZ offers a display of pumpkin carvings and pumpkin-based dioramas. Ray Villafane and his crew are carving magicians and once again this year their skill is on display.

There is more background information in last year’s posts. You can find it HERE.

As you will see below, this year’s dioramas are entertaining with their ingenious scenes and exhibits. A few are a bit macabre, but overall the displays and event are very family friendly. Here are some photographs from the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, 2017 – Part 1


Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Sign


Ray Villafane wielding his pumpkin carving wizardry
Ray wielding his pumpkin carving wizardry.


Carved pumpkin closeup
Carved pumpkin closeup


This pumpkin appears to be afraid of spiders
This pumpkin appears to be afraid of spiders (dangling in front).


Bad news about pumpkins in the paper
This fellow seems disturbed about the pumpkins making the newspaper headlines.


Pumpkin piano man
Piano man doesn’t seem to be having a good night!


Halloween couple greets visitors on stage
A Halloween couple greets visitors on stage and will eagerly pose for pictures.


Have your picture taken atop hay bales with a pumpkin man
Visitors can have their picture taken atop hay bales with a pumpkin man.


A pumpkin farrier is shoeing a horse
Western themed pumpkin farrier is shoeing a horse.


Diorama chicks made from gourds
Diorama chicks made from gourds


These pumpkin horses are ready to go
These pumpkin horses are ready to go.


Stagecoach driver gets the team ready to move
A stagecoach driver gets the team ready to move.

Watch for Part 2 tomorrow!

 
See previous posts about life in the desert HERE.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Halloween Porsche (October 2017) – Oh My!

Today’s Halloween Pictures

An orange and black Halloween Porsche

Seeing a Porsche in a parking lot in North Scottsdale is not unusual, but seeing one that is orange and black just in time for the Halloween season is something special.


An orange and black Halloween Porsche

Too bad the lighting was so poor. The deep black against the bright orange really produced an eye-catching view!

The photo below, courtesy of tapatalk.com, shows the “real” colors of this beautiful machine!


An orange and black Halloween Porsche

Above photo courtesy of tapatalk.com; thank you!

 


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com


Halloween – That Time of the Year – 2017

Today’s Halloween Photos

Werewolf decoration for Halloween courtesy of Home Depot

“Everyone seems to be getting in to the Halloween mood even at Home Depot!”


Bikers, even those no longer among us seem to like Halloween.

“Bikers, even those no longer among us, like Halloween too!”

NOTE – The photographs above were taken at the Home Depot, 4925 E Carefree Hwy, Cave Creek, AZ 85331


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com


Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2016 – II

If you would like to read the first part of the 2016 Enchanted Pumpkin Garden story, click HERE

This year’s pumpkin display at the Carefree Sundial garden had a couple of western themed exhibits. Below, we see two pumpkins sitting outside a saloon with decidedly carefree expressions.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

One fruit obviously violated the rules of the house as he was tossed from the card game onto the nearby street!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Another patron onlooker waved to those strolling by as he continued to enjoy his beverage.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

More macabre is the neighboring gallows where the apparent wrongdoing pumpkin escapes the noose when his stem breaks away. Of course we cannot assume this squash was not deserving the prescribed punishment.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Off to the side, a pumpkin outhouse provides some needed relief .

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

A group of pumpkins were hauling hay to a nearby loft. I am not certain they were doing it as efficiently as possible. The rope seemed to serve as a zip line for at least one of the workers.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

A pumpkin parent took her youngster to the nearby general store for a candy.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

At several points along the paths there were artificial saguaros which housed round brine tanks containing carved pumpkins. They were lit for an eerie effect.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Some of the pumpkins just wanted to have fun!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

The sculptors weren’t the only creative types. This jack-o’-lantern painter took up the brush to create signs, but…

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

unfortunately, this guy was splattered with some errant paint.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

At a nearby pond, a couple of pumpkins were fishing to relax a for a while.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Of course there were some real harrowing displays as well. This poor fellow was being roasted. Who would do such a thing?

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

This is the scoundrel who was turning the skewered squash!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Here we can see the cook in the act!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Hopefully, this will satisfy his tummy or these pumpkins “in waiting” may also face the heat.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

In another area of the garden, a mad scientist enlisted some of the melons to help pull the switches…

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

while the boss mixes elixirs for the holiday celebration.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Other helpers continued to keep the lab machinery going.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

All of this is just ho hum for some of the resident pumpkins and they found places to rest!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Have a Safe and Fun Halloween!

 

*NOTE: The pumpkins in the scenes were made using artificial resources to keep them from being eaten by the native wildlife such as Javelinas. Also of note, some of the metal stands supporting the pumpkins in the “scenes” have been removed in the photographs.

Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2016 – I

During this season last year, we visited Carefree, AZ which is just a short distance from our Sonoran Desert home. They had a pumpkin carving/Halloween display and festival that was, as the title indicates, enchanting. I can also add very creative and entertaining.

To read last year’s posts with daytime pictures that are quite different, visit the links below:

Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2015 – I

Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2015 – II

Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2015 – III

We decided to visit the exhibition once again. This year, however we arrived after dark. The nighttime presented several photographic challenges, so I hope you will overlook some of the shots if they are not quite as sharp or colorful as they should be. I think you will enjoy this post (and the next post) which should stimulate the holiday spirit.

When we arrived, it was just at the end of family pumpkin carving time. Professional sculptors had taught the skill of pumpkin carving and families were finishing their individual creations as we made our way to the large rotunda. This is done to raise money for the local “Y.”

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

It is interesting to watch the experts bring out the detailed facial features.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Why so puzzled or is it sad?

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

The previously carved pumpkins were jealously watching as others were getting all of the attention.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

And this little guy didn’t seem to care one way or the other as he sat upon the table. BTW – we were told last year that the appendages were artificial, but made to look real.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

There were plenty of carved pumpkins to see and some burlap-stuffed figures as well. Notice the faint figure in the background.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Here is that burlappy cowboy that was lurking in the previous photo. After all, it is Halloween in the western desert!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

There was a four hundred pound pumpkin on display as you can see…

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

And it was very orange and large. Notice the person’s legs on the left for some perspective.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

The family-carved pumpkins were judged and this young fellow was brought up to the stage to have his picture taken with pumpkin carver extraordinaire, Ray Villafane, as he was selected for his excellent carving. I was very impressed to see how well all of the amateur family carvers performed. I don’t think I could have done as well.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

A more traditional October pumpkin scarecrow was propped on the stage to help set the autumnal mood even though it was 90 + degrees that afternoon; pretty scary!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

This figure was sitting on a ledge off to the side and would be easy to miss. He was attempting to play a balancing game with some rocks. Just as a side note…the attention to detail in this exhibit was outstanding!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Instead of scaring passersby, this pumpkin looked as though it was scared of us!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Below is another view of a pumpkin pictured above. You may notice that the face glistens a bit. A brine mixture is sprayed onto the surface of the pumpkin as a preservative so when visiting the garden, there is a slight vinegar odor, but not unpleasant.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

These pumps were placed in the back of the stage to help provide that Halloween ambiance.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Not only the pumpkins were golden as..

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

several dogs seemed to be enjoying the exhibit as well. This one may be a bit scared!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

Some pumpkins were just enjoying the exhibition. Others, as viewers will see in the next post, were not quite as lucky!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

We will leave you this day with an onlooking burlap maiden and child which were appropriately dressed for the occasion.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden-2016-Carefree, AZ

View Carefree, AZ – Enchanted Pumpkin Garden , 2016 – Part II


*NOTE:
The pumpkins in the scenes were made using artificial resources to keep them from being eaten by the native wildlife such as Javelinas. Also of note, some of the metal stands supporting the pumpkins in the “scenes” have been removed in the photographs.

Halloween Fun – Amazon Costume Challenge

Have some Halloween Fun by Trying to Guess the Specific Name for This Costume!


Amazon box Halloween Fun
Can you guess the name of this costume? HINT – It is an Amazon PRIME Box!! See below to find out!
Picture courtesy of Amazon via Twitter

Be creative this Halloween by using a big box or a bunch of small boxes as part of your costume. Can you guess what this person’s costume is? Probably not what you are thinking.

Click Here and Highlight this whole line to see Prime Rib!

Don’t blame me, this is from Amazon. By the way, they are having an Amazon Prime Costume Challenge. You can read the details at the link below.


Amazon Prime Challenge Link


See more JBRish humor posts HERE

Halloween is in the Air – Fun

Skeleton Cowboy
Big Box Stores Have Geared Up For Halloween

Halloween in the Southwest has a special flavor to it. There are certain variations on the theme. This skeleton horse and cowboy at one of our local big box stores (can you guess which one?) is just one example.

Halloween for the Where’s Waldo crowd…

A more traditional activity for holiday fun had Amazon (@amazon) post the picture below on twitter. There is one yellow M&M among the candy corn and the viewer is asked to find it. I don’t want to brag, but I found it in less than a minute; can you?


Yellow M&M among the Candy Corn @amazon
Can you find the yellow M&M among the candy corn?

See more JBRish humor posts here HERE