Posted in 1 Garden

Surprises in the Garden

Every spring, I’m surprised by the resilience of nature!

May we all be so.  (Especially me, as I try to cope with a heart that seems to have taken just a little too much.  Keep me in your prayers.)

Here’s what has delighted or surprised me:  First, the apricot tree.

IMG_2664I’ve tried to always make it clear that I’m a hardscape designer, and only hope to become a better gardener.  So I had this aversion to pruning my trees and wanted them to just be “natural.”  Or maybe that was my excuse for being lazy and not learning.  Silly me.  

Well, last fall, I hosting an arborist to come teach a couple of workshops on pruning – and learned, not only some do’s and don’t’s but the Big Why:  Because throughout human history, we’ve been selecting seed from the most vigorous plants, and sometimes they can overdo it and actually become weak because of their own vigor.  (Or at least that was how I received the information – correct me, anyone?)

So this wonderful apricot tree – which has never borne fruit before – came on with at least hundreds of fruits this spring!

And so has the almond. IMG_2639 And the little cherry.IMG_2638

Beneath the cherry is a broken pottery garden.  Others have such a thing?

I heard of one ten years ago, and realized I like that idea as a place to take pretty things that no longer function in the house, but certainly don’t feel right in the trash:  those coffee cups with a design you love so dearly, but they leak because of a crack, and you already have enough of those converted to pencil holders!  These others, more severely broken, have a nice home here, against the wall of stone.

(The circular “stone” with swirl of tile and mirrors was a gift from an old friend, Orna Izakson – thanks Orna.  It’s supposed to deter birds from the fruit, but is just pretty.)  IMG_2626IMG_2625

The snake sculpture is a passed-along gift from a friend – of two rattlesnakes copulating, which I’ve seen once!  Magnificent.  And the pottery with the apparent “face” was made by my sister when she took art in grad school.  I’ve had it for decades and a week ago, I broke it in way too many pieces to repair.  Now I see it anew – because of its new location.

IMG_2631This little volunteer (can you see it at the end of the bench) we think may be another apricot tree – not where we would have ever had thought to plant it – but where we think it might actually have a chance, south of the mesquite tree in the front yard.  It’s seed might have made it through the compost pile.

Since mesquites have lo-o-o-ong tap roots, it might break up the granite floor of this yard and give the baby apricot a chance to go deep also.  And the mesquite’s canopy is light enough that the babe should get enough light there.

We’ll see how it goes, and report over the years.

IMG_2672Wishing you delight in your garden this spring.  Regardless of how much energy you might have, the garden always seems to give, give, give, if we give just a little.  (We chose places for wildflowers last week, and are watering twice a day now, looking forward to their blooms!)

IMG_2666 IMG_2665

Oh, yeah, and the chem-trails.

I know some people still insist they’re only jet contrails, but they haven’t paid attention.  A few years ago, we had a famous “milky rain”!  My glass table looked like someone had poured watery milk on it – and so did everyone’s windshield in town.  Samples were sent to the health department, but there was some other critical issue that “came up” about the time we expected a report, and there’s been no follow-through – as we fight to keep our Gila River from being diverted.  So much to keep up with!  And lots of stuff just slips on by….

Keep loving, despite it all.

Posted in 1 Garden

Pruning “Debris”

stakes for gateWhat to do with all those branches from your fruit trees?  Here are some suggestions:

1) Root them in potting soil and give them to friends.  Or plant another tree for yourself.

2) Use them as tomato or other plants stakes.

3) Use them to cover a metal gate (like this one to the left).  Stakes are standing by, waiting for me to get started!  I’ll tie them on with scrap wire (which I save by hanging DSC04264on the wire of this fence in a hidden place).

4) Make a shade/privacy screen by weaving them with wire or sturdy twine or cord, and hang them from an eave.

5) Lay them criss-crossed over your new gardens to make it very inconvenient for your cat or neighbor cats to use the garden as a little box.

6) Plant them upright (tall, so they won’t be dangerous) in outlying areas where you want to discourage cut-through traffic.

7) Weave small ones together (like the privacy screen above) to wrap around containers like these:

This old chair makes a perfect stand for basil (in the big pot) surrounded by small pots of miniature wildflower mix.  Beneath it is room for a pot of something that needs shade, and in front, there's room for another pot of basil!
This old chair makes a perfect stand for basil (in the big pot) surrounded by small pots of miniature wildflower mix. Beneath it is room for a pot of something that needs shade, and in front, there’s room for another pot of basil!

8) Make a brush pile for wildlife habitat in an appropriate place (unless you’re afraid of the particular wildlife or otherwise need to discourage it).

9) Fill in gaps under your fence to discourage neighbor pets from entering.

10) Chicken roosts!

What are your ideas?

Posted in 1 Garden

Pruning Workshop Made Us “Fearless”

Participant Melissa Green practices pruning with arborist feedback.
Participant Melissa Green practices pruning with arborist feedback.

“Thank you so much for the instruction!  Now I’m fearless!” wrote one participant after the workshop last Saturday.

As a gardening student, I too appreciated this workshop, even though it’s my second one!

And others wrote the next day that they’d finally pruned all their trees!

Arborist Cheyenne Thomas explained not only the art of pruning to strengthen trees and help them produce more fruit, but also covered tree planting and general tree care, as well as analyzing garden soil.

The day was beautiful, and Ted and Mara Mile’s home site was a beautiful location.

Participants enjoyed a beautiful day in Ted and Mara Miles' yard
Participants enjoyed a beautiful day in Ted and Mara Miles’ yard
photo 1 copy
Cheyenne explains the “shake test” for determining amounts of silt, sand and clay in soil.
photo 2
Ted and Cheyenne prune the first tree.
Arborist Cheyenne Thomas describes a branch collar
Arborist Cheyenne Thomas describes a branch collar
Posted in 1 Garden

Workshop on Proper Pruning, Tree Care, and Garden Soil Analysis


Arborist Cheyenne Thomas will teach a workshop on Proper Pruning (last best chance for this winter coming up soon), tree care, PLUS analyzing your garden soil!

Learn how to help your trees be healthy, beautiful, and more productive! And have confidence about the quality of your garden soil – save money by amending it properly and only as needed! The class will include instruction, demonstration, and a chance to practice skills with professional feedback.

Hosted by Jean Eisenhower of Home and Garden Inspiration, the workshop on Saturday, February 15, begins at 10 am and goes until 2 pm, so bring your own lunch and water.   Also (optionally) bring work gloves, sun hat, and any pruning tools you have for use and/or feedback.  Location is a private home 3 miles / 5 minute drive west of Silver City.

Registration is limited and is only $25/person. To register, please call Jean at 534-0123, or visit my workshop page: