Gardening – Winter Garden in the Desert

When we transitioned from the northeast to the southwest, it was a dramatic change on a number of levels. We left many of our friends and relatives behind and there was a huge void in our lives because of this.

While most noticeable, friends and family were not our only loss. We also lost our gardens and plants that we relied on for our three seasons of flower-filled joy. There are a number of plants we grew easily in the Northeast (Hunterdon County, New Jersey) such as hostas, astilbes, hydrangeas, morning glories, dahlias, etc. that either struggle in the Sonoran Desert or just downright die.

We have learned, of course, that there are trade offs. We have come to love gazanias which grace us with their bouquet of striking colors throughout the year and we are likewise able to grow geraniums in the spring through early summer and then again from late fall through the winter and spring if we avoid a hard freeze.

Here are some of our gazanias growing strong in January when football on television shows snowstorms in the northeast.

It is a bit unusual to have the alyssum (above) so full and lush this time of year, but we nursed them along. It is so delightful to experience that honey-like smell during a winter’s afternoon.

We have had a couple of light frosts which leave our gardens looking funky when festooned with frost cloths. These are only temporary for a day or two and then they are removed and kept at the ready should we need them again. We haven’t had a significant frost in quite a few years. Last year there were no frost days in our particular area, but we stood ready to take action if necessary!

Our mid-fall planting of geraniums on either side of our front door are still doing well.

In a previous photo, we took a peek at the alyssum currently in bloom, but what wasn’t obvious was their potted companions; pink geraniums.

They really make a great team especially during those chilly winter days when we are glad to be reminded of the inevitable spring.

Here is wider view of the “companions” putting on quite a performance.

It isn’t always fun having these delicate plants “out-of-season.” In the middle of the covered array below are the same plants pictured above during one of our light frost days.

Another geranium giving us significant winter color is a pink trailer situated between two very large pots of twisted myrtle creating a floral exclamation point.

Whenever we pine for our morning glories and dahlias under the blazing 110 degree heat we recall these winter scenes and we are grateful and happy!

NOTE – Fresh plantings of gazanias and alyssum will continue to do fairly well through the summer with ample water and some shade. The geraniums struggle through the heat and are often treated as annuals.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section and I will answer to the best of my ability.


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Year of Yosemite (YOY) – Day 173 (Lembert Dome (7/8) – Looking Northeast)

Looking northeast from the side of Lembert Dome

Looking northeast from the side of Lembert Dome

It was somewhat of a scramble to get to the very top of Lembert Dome, but not too difficult for those who have an average sense of balance and dexterity (IMHO). Once nearing the top, I stepped to the sides of the dome to take in the views from those aspects. There were peaks and mountains everywhere.

If there are members of your hiking party that do not feel comfortable going to the very top of the dome, there are a couple of ledge areas where they can wait and have a snack and still enjoy much of the beautiful views.

One point I like to make, and you can feel free to disagree with me, is that people should not have to be coerced, cajoled or prodded to traipse to an area if they are not comfortable doing so. Everyone knows their personal comfort levels and I have witnessed some bad scenes in places like Zion National Park’s Angels Landing!

As you can see in the photo above, there were still some remaining patches of snow that were a light shade of gray. There was still ample room to navigate around those areas and if need be, the snow was soft and could be walked upon.

Two days ago, I showed a view of the other side of Lembert Dome (northwest) which I think was a prettier view. You can see that post HERE.

Do you have a question about our visit to Yosemite? Ask it in the comment section. originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.

See previous Year of Yosemite (YOY) posts HERE. If you want to read the introduction to the YOY series, CLICK HERE.


Meta Data – Day 173 YOY – Year of Yosemite

File Name: 0315.CR2
Capture time: 1:11:46 PM
Capture date: June 7, 2016
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/8
Focal Length: 6mm
ISO 100
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS