Friday, August 6, 2010

The Cacti Soldiers

I'm enjoying my coffee today before we go and do some patching up on the roof.  The big rains come this weekend.  While I sit here, my cats attack me because I am not paying enough attention to them. Why is it that while I'm on the computer, they have to sit on top of my keyboard, bite me, chew on the wires below the desk, get into fights near me, or jump on my shoulders?  I mean..I don't mind...but when you have 5 cats, one can be a little overwhelmed by their kitty madness:)

I love flowers and so do my cats:)
Here are some of the things I am working on for my upcoming blog entries....the neighborhood, several local places in Tucson to visit that will rock your world (and give you tips for your garden!), a trip to Europe and her gardens(focus: Spain, France, Italy), and local areas like Wilcox and Florence.  There is a lot in the works and I'm slowly piecing together my pics from old disks and jump drives.  Today, I thought I would return to my work here in the landscape and show some of the things that I am putting into place plus giving updates on the peach trees and the stone wells around the trees.

Okay, Tucson guy....where's your cactus garden?  If you were a true Sonoran desert man, you would have cactus in your landscape. So where's your cactus garden?  While putting together my landscape design, I didn't want to have fruit trees or other plants around these prickly guys. One of the mandates from the homeowners was to have an edible yet attractive landscape where people could garden and sit back to relax.  There are children that run around the property and it would be a terrible thing for them to meet their fate while picking an apple screaming all full of joy only to run into a million needles of pain worse than death.  If you live in the desert, you know what I speak of:).

Security against the "meth zombies"
Currently I am adding more...just haven't gotten to potting them all:) 
I love cactus...I really really do.  That's why I moved do you do in a neighborhood full of meth heads?  Remember I mentioned in a previous blog about the bi-polar nature of my neighborhood....between good and evil??? Well here is where my cactus buddies come into play.  It is SOOOO important for a person to not do anything their first year at a new place with their garden.  Why???  You need to see where the rain flows during both summer and winter AND where the sun hits AND where your shade is AND if you have any "shady" people that enter into your yard every now and then:(.  I hate drugs and all things related to them, but this place was a dream come true for me.  I couldn't afford an hacienda style home, but we could afford a Melrose Place style condo where I could work my magic.  However with that came the sketchy neighborhood side of the "meth zombies" who steal everything and bring bad people to our "hood". 

 The Barrel Cactus is fun!!
We would have people cross our courtyard and climb our fences to get into our place.  They've stolen a lot off the property and have created some security issues.  So when in doubt, you need to have 24 hour protection and I needed my soldiers....the cactus family. A tip to remember...every plant serves a purpose.  I love all things cactus so to include them in the landscape, they were placed all around the property where I discovered people climbing walls and guess what???  They've kept the people out. No one likes getting stuck:)  They act as a barrier to keep unwanted visitors from entering your sacred grounds, PLUS they are the most beautiful plants in the world that we are fortunate enough to my cactus garden acts as the bodyguards on the property:) Did I mention they don't need a lot of water?:)

The Red Baron Peach Tree
In the garden this week.  The Red Baron Peach trees have produced several delicious fruits.  To my excitement, several residents discovered them and ate them and loved them.  A garden to excite the senses!! Smell, color, touch, and TASTE!!  Everything is developing nicely around here.....again, none of this is over night, but a plant here or there adds up and the next thing you know, you live in a forest:) All fruit trees were planted this past February and March and are now in the production phase or soon to be production phase.  The plums are still developing but they were started bareroot and had some beginning issues. They are doing well now just don't think there will be any fruit for a year or so.....

The stone well waiting to be filled around the Eucalyptis Tree
The stone wells. I have been extending the garden further out as vegetation gets older.  3 trees planted 2 and half years ago are tall enough now for me to put in wells around their bases.  The important part of this process is to not get the trunk wet!!  You will kill the tree or it will get a disease that will kill it so you will see barriers around the base.  I will fill in the area with soil and put in groundcover which will "green up" the grounds more.  I'm not into any grass on the property so the groundcover, which I'm thinking will be verbena, will go into that space.

The Ash Tree
Finally, if you're looking for a great garden show to watch before you get out into the garden, check out Central Texas Gardener out of Austin on'll love the show as they have a lot of great tips.  Until the next blog.....happy gardening!!:)


  1. I have one plum tree 1.5 years old. It also doesn’t have any fruit. But other plum trees that are older are full.
    I love the stone wells, looking forward to see it finished.

  2. I'll keep you updated....I'm trying to find the right plants for the well and am experimenting with several groundcovers....the verbena is a fail:(


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