Sunday, November 23, 2008

Arizona Garden Trivia

While doing some hand watering around my garden today, I was surprised to see this Rain Lilly (Zephyranthes candida) peeking out from under an overgrown Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) shrub. I had totally forgotten about it since the Rain Lillies dry up and disappear in summer and late winter. Rather than trim the Rosemary, which has a pleasing shape just as it is, I think I'll just dig up the Rain Lilly bulbs after the plant dries up and relocate them to another area where they will be more visible. If I remember where they are located!

Something else peeking out from under a shrub is my concrete raccoon that had been covered by a Bush Morning Glory until I trimmed it back some for winter. He's about 12 years old now and a little weatherbeaten, but I think he's still realistic looking even though I've never seen a real raccoon. They are not uncommon in Arizona, but they usually hang out near perennial streams, lakes, and reservoirs and not in residential areas. I always thought they were cute in photos, hence the yard art.

My Chuparosa (Justicia californica) is growing like crazy in our mild fall weather. Both people and plants love this time of year in the desert. Chuparosa can get very leggy and should be trimmed to shape, but I haven't done that yet as it has a lot of room to spread out and I didn't think it needed it. Now, it is looking a bit unkempt, so next week I'll get out the pruning tools again.

Today I added another sun catcher to my plant stand/wind chime/sun catcher holder. I have no other place to hang all these things, so for years I've just used this plant stand. It stands near a glider on the patio and makes pleasant sounds with the slightest breeze. When it's really windy, it becomes a cacophony of clanging and banging.


Now, some real Arizona desert trivia from outside my garden.

All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

The Sonoran Desert where I live is the largest desert in North America and is possibly one of the most irrigated deserts. The entire Phoenix area was reclaimed from the desert by modern methods of water control.

Javelina, a Peccary, can become a pest in Arizona landscapes located near open desert areas. They have tough mouths and love succulent plants, and a herd can wreak havoc on a desert garden in no time. Prickly pear cactus is one of their favorite foods. Spines and glochids don't bother them a bit. Although somewhat pig-like in appearance, they are actually more closely related to antelope.


Claude said...

I, too, have both the Rosemary shrub and the Rain Lily. The rosemary is planted by an agave and a yucca, because 1) I wanted something fluffy and green beside the blue gray spikey foilage, and 2) I wanted some rosemary growing for when I roast chicken. The rain lily holds it's leaves here better than in your climate. If you keep it watered, it spends most of its time looking like a row of Monkey grass, then blooms from late August to just about now... I think I just had the last of my blooms last week. Two of my favorite plants... and I really like the wind chime-sun catcher construction...

Lythrum said...

I like your idea of the suncatcher/chime holder. I don't like drilling around and hanging things on my house so maybe I'll have to try it. I also really like that Chuparosa plant, the color is so vibrant.

Ginni said...

I just love your wind chime parking lot!! I'll bet it sounds great, even in a strong wind!

beckie said...

Aiyana, it looks as if the rosemary is blooming. But I can see why you might move them to a more prominent spot. Your raccoon is a cutie. we see them here a lot and they are sometimes pests getting into our garbage and leaving their 'deposits' in unusual places. Your plant stand looks lovely with all the suncatchers, etc. That's a neat way to display them.

I had to look up Javelina! Had no idea what you were talking about. :) don't ever remember seeing those. I guess there are pests for every plant. Have a great Sunday!

Cosmo said...

Hi--I found you on Beckie's blog. I live and garden in Virginia, but I grew up in Glendale and we recently bought my mom's house in Sun City, so it's great to find a Phoenix area garden blogger! I'm just learning about Arizona flora, so I really look forward to reading more of your blog--I enjoyed your November postings (and so sorry to hear about your prickly pear--amazing to me, those are hardy in VA). I've never seen a raccoon in AZ--but there are tons of them in VA, and as Beckie says, they're terrible pests (and they're not so cute). Anyway, so glad to have found you!

Julie said...

Interesting info on the Javelina! My husband goes hiking here and sees wild boar...he had heard of these, and I shared your information with him as well.

Your Chuparosa are very interesting plants! I like the looks of them.

Julie said...

P.S. BTW...that plant stand is so amazingly awesome with all your windchimes hanging on it...I must give it a try! I know just where to place one!!!

kml said...

What a delicate little flower - so pretty.

We have a very large, old raccoon that visited us this past summer. It would come at dusk, waddling in from the woods, and eat the bread that the birds didn't finish during the day. I haven't seen it in some time now - maybe hibernating for winter.

Yours is too cute!

MrBrownThumb said...

The trick is in remembering where you planted those bulbs. You have the luxury of being able to leave them in the ground though. Every year I buy plant markers or make some but never get around to actually using them.

Jon said...

Always such a treat to me to visit your hot/cool/neat/sharp/interesting/
blog and wow myself over the differences in your climate and plants and mine. I have absolutely no luck growing cacti and succulents in our humidity, often so thick here you could cut it with a knife.

I particularly liked your shot of your concrete raccoon, and like you, find them very cute looking.(Have you seen the Ellen commercial with her "coon eyes"?) However, I have a real life family of them in my back woods, and let me tell you, they can wreak havoc in a garden when they've a mind to do so. Luckily I have two terriers who keep our coons at bay and out of our yard and garden. I worry my big fat goldfish in the pond will be gone one day,taken by the raccoons for a "sushi picnic" in the woods.
Hope y'all have a Happy Thanksgiving! Best regards, Jon at Mississippi Garden

Dee said...

I had 3 javelina take up residence in my back yard shortly after I bought my house about 5 years ago. They are very pig like indeed! :)
I love the suncatcher/wind chime display as well- they look great!