Sunday, November 14, 2010


The wonderful part about blogging is that there is always something going on in the garden.  There are so many things to learn about as I am designing and reconstructing our property.  And of course, they should have a class on how to blog.  When I first started this journey earlier this year, I hadn't a clue on how to set up a posting.  Since then, I purchased a top notch camera, break down the posts into one central idea, and bring my equipment with me wherever I go.  In fact, I think we all have so many ideas that go through our heads that when we walk outside into our own gardens, we sometimes forget that there is a lot going on.....and I'm proof of that. On my blogging options, I'll create a list of topics for me to write about and then when I get to it, I'll post.  Sometimes I'll have a bunch of them done and release one a day or sometimes, when I'm busy, I'll go back and look at my list to see what it is that I am needing to report.

We easily get sidetracked and forget what our "mission" was for the day.  For example, today I am adding more bark mulch around an area, checking a water line, planting a guava, and adding more soil in a pot to my fatsia plant.  That doesn't sound like much until you weigh in how much time it takes to dig a hole in our desert soil.....caliche sucks. So to prep that hole digging experience... you need water and a strong metal rod to stab into the soil. Loosen. Take shovel and dig. Repeat the first steps over again until hole is established.  For people living in the desert southwest, you do need to know this.....caliche is great soil and once you have your plant in that section and water over it, the caliche will break down and disappear from that area.  I don't think a lot of people know that....but with repeated watering that stone layer in our soil will disappear.

The Crape Myrtle on the right is the one in question...behind the nandina or heavenly bamboo.
So the last post was about editing, this post is about replacement.  As the garden is getting bigger and the oak trees are extending their canopy further over the courtyard, several sun loving plants are now not doing so well. Several homeowners have suggested that I get rid of this crepe myrtle as it is not getting enough of our sun.  But here's the problem....there is another crepe myrtle on the opposite side of this particular garden growing quite well.  To remove one would also take away the balance that they both have mirroring each you can see my issue.  There is no doubt in my mind that this plant must be taken out of the looks terrible.  Those of you familiar with crepe murder(posted on an earlier blog titled "crape murder") will understand the pictures better once you see them.  They were butchered and on top of that get nothing but shade so they look spindly and ugly. Part of me thinks I should just cut them to the ground and let them grow again and another part thinks that there is a better plant to put in that spot.  I am at a crossroads with this issue.  I was able to ignore it for a long time as other parts of the garden distracted me from dealing with it, but now my focus is on that section of the gardens.  The garden that is opposite of it is shown below.  As you can see, one is lush while the other is sparse and one side looks "heavier" than the other.  Editing and replacement.....both difficult, but I do know that something must be done.  Recommendations?  You guys give lots of great advice.  Thanks:)
Opposite Side


  1. Your description of digging holes in our hard soil brings back a lot of memories. Great tip about the caliche.

    I see you dilemma about your Crepe Myrtle. I have good results in landscapes with sickly/weak shrubs by cutting them back severely and fertilizing them in the spring when the temperatures begin to warm. At this point, I don't think you have anything to lose and maybe your Crepe Myrtle will surprise you and thrive :-)

  2. Thanks Noelle for the tip. I am going to try the hard cut first before even thinking about replacing them. It is a beautiful plant that is already established so if it can grow fully again, then it shall stay:) I've done the same with our bouganvilleas here....I cut them all the way back and have trained them upwards...they are fuller and more lush than before....and they're trained:) It's amazing how many homeowners don't do any of this stuff. Thanks for the tip. I'll give updates in the spring:) Chris

  3. Dear Rohrerbot, I see exactly what you mean about the two Myrtles balancing each other and feel that you should keep with this idea. It is so irritating when one needs a pair of something and they refuse to grow alike. I should give both what I call 'heart attacks'. Prune them severely, feed and water well in the growing season and see what happens. Live or die!!

  4. Hi Rohrerbot. Obrigado pela visita ao meu blog. Em relação à tua dúvida, o alecrim (Rosmarinus officinalis) não precisa de muita água, normalmente a chuva é suficiente. Deve ser plantado durante a época das chuvas e durante o primeiro Verão basta uma rega por semana. Esta planta pega muito bem de estaca. O clima de Tucson é adequado ao rosemary, boa sorte. Um abraço de Portugal
    PS: All the rosemary cuttings, when dried, are perfect to use as a fire starter and get a great scent on the house. Or you may use the sticks, leafless, as kebab sticks and it'll give the meat an interesting flavor. Hope you understand my Portuguese...

  5. This is great feedback! Balance it is. Hard cut it will be. Sometimes I doubt myself and most people don't know much about these things so your words of advice are very much appreciated. So hard cut the other perhaps? Scary thought but that part of the garden will look lopsided with one larger than the other....
    Ze-Your English is flawless and my Portuguese is Tarzan like....I hope you could understand my writing, but I did understand your message:) and thanks for the advice. I'm fluent in Spanish and with Portuguese, I'm still at the first grade level:) I've always believed however that whatever the blog language is, I should write back in the same language.:) I don't want to be a rude American:) Thanks for the info.

  6. the hard cut, etc., ala Noelle, Edith.

    Mmmm, Rosmarinus...Ze is right, though probably too wide for that place?

    Though I rarely see a crape myrtle in Abq or anywhere desert SW that looks more than "fair", I might not try too hard!

  7. I love your blog,interesting to read your thoughts...oh the garden....
    I agree with Edith...two of the same NEVER grow alike...but if they come back beautiful...well...enjoy!...if not Plan B

  8. Quite honestly, I didn't know Crepe Myrtles grew around here. I remember seeing 'em all over Memphis when I went to college there... beautiful every spring. Keep us posted on their rebound.

  9. I wish I could plant guavas outdoors where I live! So sorry about the crepe murder, though. We have that here, too.

    I'd love it if you'd be willing to submit either your kumquat or persimmon post for the blog carnival about recommended varieties that I'm hosting. Here's the link to the carnival:


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