When to Start Attracting Orioles to Your Yard

Although the Baltimore oriole, best known of these species, generally stays east of the Rocky Mountains, the West hosts two kinds of this vibrant birds: Bullock’s oriole and the hooded oriole. Yearly, they come back to this region, starting in March, to build nests and raise families, after wintering in Mexico and Central America. All these songbirds may be elusive, and the chance to see one does not last long, as they migrate south again in August.

Migratory Habits of Orioles

Bullock’s oriole, named for a pioneering ornithologist, is plentiful in most of the U.S. western countries during breeding time from early spring until August. Nesting in the canopies of tall deciduous trees, the birds come to the ground searching for their food favorites, grasshoppers and caterpillars. During migration and winter, Bullock’s orioles may collect in small flocks, but other times, they usually forage alone. The hooded oriole, which takes its title from the male’s orange hood, downstairs in open areas with scattered trees, particularly palms. Once exclusive to this desert Southwest, hooded orioles, in recent years, have been expanding northward in California for breeding. Generally, they arrive during March and migrate to Mexico in August.

Oriole Attractants

Orange, the shade and the fruit, lures the birds. Since orioles prefer exactly the same nectar formulation as hummingbirds, hang an orange ribbon from the feeder so that it is easily seen. Orioles’ invoices are often too large for your own washing vents in hummingbird feeders, but specialized feeders for orioles are commercially available. Place cut orange halves on a branch or flat bird feeder. Orioles also like grape jelly, which is set from a dish or cup. Don’t conceal a feeder under the eave; put it in the open where birds flying overhead may spot it. Hang it near a water feature, if you have one. Orioles are attracted to the sight and sound of moving water. Maintaining up your feeders for two weeks after you see the final of this first group of guests helps you to attract any migrating stragglers.

Coaxing the Birds to Nest Nearby

If you aspire to encourage the orioles to perform more than pass through, put out pieces of yarn and string which they might use in nest construction. Orioles take pride in their own pendulous, basketlike nests, which they lay about the ends of slender tree branches. The female selects the nest site and weaves the nest, but the male can help out with securing it in position. Generally, the female then lays four to five eggs. The pendulous shape of this nest retains eggs and baby birds comparatively protected from climbing predators. If you do not draw in nesters the very first year, keep striving. Occasionally several seasons are required to locate a next.

Plants for Orioles

Bullock’s orioles primarily inhabit cottonwoods, willows and oaks. If your landscape involves these trees, your chances of drawing these birds are most likely good. Apart palm trees, the hooded oriole is partial to this dogwood because of its tiny fruits. Planting nectar-producing, flowering shrubs and vines, such as honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), hummingbird bush (Dicliptera sericea) and trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), also offers orioles a treat in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.

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Plants for Edging a Fence

Nothing brightens up a dull fence over a bright, active border next to it. Plant a variety of plants to maximize interest and provide all-year-round shade. You may just access fence edges from one side, so shrubs, perennials, ground cover plants, bulbs and other low-maintenance plants are good choices for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.


Hooker’s manzanita (Arctostaphylos hooker) is an evergreen tree which grows to a maximum of 4 feet. It tolerates drought well, and its pretty pink-white spring blooms are attractive to butterflies. Grevillea (Grevillea lavandulace) is taller, growing up to 6 feet high and 6 feet wide. It’s evergreen, has showy red flowers that attract hummingbirds from autumn through spring, and enjoys full sun to part shade. This tree tolerates poor soil, heat and drought.


Perennials last for many years. Naked eriogonum (Eriogonum nudum) bears yellow, white and pink blossoms though July and August. It’s evergreen, with gray-green leaves, and grows up to 3 feet tall. Plant it in a sunny, mixed border, to give an airy effect. Sea thrift (Armeria maritima ssp. Californica) bears pink blossoms in spring. It tolerates drought well and rises to 6 inches wide and up to 1 foot across. This plant enjoys full sun. California fuchsia (Epilobium californicum) includes scarlet flowers through the summer and autumn that are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It tolerates part shade.

Ground Cover

Plant ground cover plants to minimize time spent weeding. Ceanothus (Ceanothus gloriosus) rises up to 18 inches tall and 16 feet wide. It’s dark green leaves and pretty light blue blooms that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. It tolerates coastal winds well. Carmel Sur Manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmundsii “Carmel Sur”) includes light pink flowers through spring and winter, and its dense evergreen growth makes it an excellent ground cover plant. It grows rapidly and tolerates most soil types.


Bulbs are helpful in a mixed border since they require little upkeep, and many die down during part of the year, freeing up space for other plants. Firecracker blossom (Dichelostemma ida-maia) is a hummingbird magnet. Keep this plant dry over the summer and it will reward you with crimson, pendant, tubular blossoms in May to July. It grows best in full sun. Golden stars (Bloomeria crocea) is a sweet little deciduous plant with pretty, yellow, star-shaped blooms in spring. It grows quickly up to 1 foot higher.

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Climbing Plants for Courtyards

The walls which surround a courtyard act as supports for climbing plants. Several distinct plants use tendrils to climb up walls, although other plants grow upwards when trained on a trellis. Showy varieties of these plants add a decorative element to your courtyard. One of the best guides when choosing climbing plants is to pick one that matches the lighting conditions. Observe the sun pattern in the area where you want to place the climbing plant.

Flowers for Full Sun

Sunny sites deliver small cooling shade and must tolerate heat buildup. Blue passion flowers (Passiflora caerulea) grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9 with 3- to 4-inch-wide flowers throughout the summer on high-speed 10- to 15-foot-long stems. The blossoms comprise of white outer petals and narrow blue inner petals with rings of white and purple across the middle. The blossoms are followed by oval orange-yellow edible fruit. American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), a North American native, creates clusters of pale lilac blooms throughout the summer in USDA zones 6 through 9. The fast-growing woody stems reach more than 30 feet along with the plant works well for south-facing walls.

Partial Sun Vines

Partially sunny sites still get about six hours of direct sunlight with a couple hours of cooling shade. “Ramona” clematis (Clematis x “Ramona”) grow large purple summer blooms covering woody vines with deciduous leathery green leaves. This fast-growing vine reaches 10 to 20 feet long in USDA zones 4 through 9. “Theta” narrowleaf Asiatic jessamine (Trachelospermum asiaticum “Theta”), which grows in USDA zones 8 through 10, creates dark green, needle-like leaves using silvery-green markings in the center. This 20-foot-long evergreen vine grows fragrant white blooms all summer.

Partial Shade Vines

Plants that grow in partially shady conditions require protection from hot afternoon sun that could hurt the plants. “Ritak” sausage vines (Holboellia latifolia “Ritak”) form clusters of purple spring flowers using a cinnamon odor and big lavender fruits follow the flowers. Dark evergreen leaves cover the 15-foot-long stems in USDA zones 6 through 10. This vine demands support to climb erect. “Tangerine Beauty” cross vine (Bignonia capreolata “Tangerine Beauty”) grows in USDA zones 6 through 9 using peach-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers with orange throats growing on 30- to 50-foot-long woody stems. This vine attracts hummingbirds into the courtyard.

Full Shade Plants

Shade-loving plants burn and wither when subjected to a lot of direct sunlight. These plants need the coolness of colour to survive and grow well on north-facing courtyard walls. Red Wall Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia “Troki”) grows best in USDA zones 3 through 8 using tendrils to climb up the wall and reaching 30 feet tall. This deciduous vine produces dark green leaves, which turn fire-engine red in the fall, along with small clusters of blue berries. “Taiping Shan” evergreen climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea integrifolia “Taiping Shan”) creates glossy evergreen leaves along a 30- to 40-foot-long stem with early summertime white lacecaps made up of tiny blooms in USDA zones 7 through 10. This hydrangea blooms well in the colour.

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Plants That Grow Next to an Elm Tree

Elm trees (Ulmus spp.) , usually grown as shade trees, also work as both specimen and trees. Several elms show allelopathy, a procedure where roots, leaves or shoots secrete chemicals that kill or severely retard the growth of plants growing nearby. When selecting companion plants to develop alongside or beneath elms, be sure to know which type of elm you have. Decorative mulch may work best under elms using allelopathic trends. When selecting companion plants to get non-allelopathic elms, pick those are shade-tolerant and shallow-rooted.

Toxic Varieties

In regards to the plant fluids secreted by elms, not all trees in the genus are created equal. University of Georgia categorizes American Elm (Ulmus americana), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, as generating chemicals in its roots, stems and leaves that have the strongest allelopathic effect. By contrast, Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), which grows in USDA zones 4 or 5 through 9, based on the variety, had just minor allelopathy through substances secreted from roots.

Summer and Spring Companions

When planting under or following non-allelopathic elms, like winged elm (Ulmus alata), which grows in USDA zones 6 through 9, or Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila), which grows in USDA zones 4 through 9, consider small daffodils, like “Tete a Tete” (Narcissus “Tete a Tete”), which develop in USDA zones 3 through 9, that flower before the tree leafs out. Virginia bluebell (Mertensia virginica), a perennial, spring bloomer with blue blooms will even boom under elm trees. Hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8, bluebells defy the toxins secreted from other trees and may succeed under the marginally allelopathic Chinese elm also.

Summer and Fall Planting

Shallow-rooted and comparatively low-growing, lily turf (Liriope muscari), which grows in USDA zones 5 through 10, features spikes of purple flowers in late summer through early autumn. Sometimes, the long, grassy leaves arch in rounded clumps. Lily turf thrives in the same consistently moist soil which most facilitates elms and tolerates the tree’s shade. Traditional hostas, or August lily (Hosta plantaginea), which grows in USDA zones 3 through 9, will also perform nicely alongside or beneath elms. The plants include broad, textured leaves and in late summer create substantial, scented, white blooms atop tall stems.

Planting Under Elms

When planting alongside or beneath elms, dig carefully so you don’t disturb the tree’s roots. Probe gently using a trowel or small spade to find planting holes which lie between roots. Tree roots also use the vast majority of the water and nutrients from the ground around them, so mulch nearby plants with several inches of organic matter to conserve moisture and block weed growth. If you experiment with companion plants beneath or close allelopathic species, like American elm, watch carefully for signs of toxicity like yellow leaves. Remove affected plants promptly.

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Hydroseed vs. Regular Seed

Growing a wholesome lawn from seed is a time-consuming and time-consuming procedure, regardless of what seeding method you choose. Hydroseeding, however, offers several advantages which make it a faster and easier alternative to conventional hand-seeding methods.

Hydroseeding Process and Cost

The hydroseeding process involves using a mixture of grass seed, wood-fiber mulch, fertilizer and binding agents, all of which are mixed with water to generate a semi-liquid slurry. A carpet contractor sprays the mixture onto the ground using a hydraulic sprayer. Hydroseeding differs from hand isolating or dry seeding in that each one of the components are implemented at the exact same time; together with the hand-seeding method, seed, mulch and fertilizer are implemented one at a time in many steps. Hydroseeding is more expensive than traditional hand seeding, but it’s considerably more affordable than installing sod.

Germination Time

Thanks to this absorbent fiber mulch and the binding agents which hold the hydroseed mixture together, the grass seed remains in continuous contact with the humidity in the mulch. That factor can help to speed seed germination, and hydroseeded bud seed sometimes germinates in less than one week. Hydroseeded lawns are typically ready to mow after three to four weeks, generally sooner than a seeded lawn.

Moisture Retention

The fiber mulch in a hydroseed mixture carries a significant amount of water across the seed, which means that a hydroseeded lawn requires less maintenance and care in terms of irrigation, at least initially, than the usual hand-seeded lawn. Even a hydroseeded lawn might not have the ability to retain moisture adequately during prolonged dry periods, however, and it could require supplementary irrigation. Additionally, the fiber mulch in a hydroseed mixture breaks down quicker than a traditional mulch like straw. So it won’t supply its moisture retention benefit through an entire growing season.

Erosion Resistance

The binders and fiber in the hydroseed mixture form a solid mat once the mixture dries, and this mat can help to prevent the seed from being washed off by water or blown off by wind. The solidified mixture also holds onto the ground surface, and it could help to stabilize the soil, limiting erosion.

Fertilizer Content and Mulch Decomposition

A hydroseed mixture contains fertilizers that are acceptable for the varieties of grass seed in the mixture. Since the fertilizers are applied at the time of seeding, they eliminate the need for the further fertilizer step that hand seeding demands, which erases a concern about the timing of that fertilizer application. After the hydroseed mixture’s fiber mulch decomposes, it also adds nutrients to the ground.

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What Happens Within a Pine Tree's Female Cone?

When they’ve finished their reproductive lifetime, pine cones (Pinus spp.) Become Christmas decorations, gas for fireplaces or craft objects. Pines are. They have both male and female cones, with the cones plant seeds. As with other gymnosperms, the seeds differ from flowering plants because they aren’t surrounded by an ovary that makes a fruit for seed dispersal. The seeds lie in the open, wedged between the scales of the cone. Pine cones require two years to develop, eventually become fertilized and produce seeds, and it’s a complex story.

Formation Begins

In spring, generally higher in the blossom, the hints of some pine tree branches, grow small, green, female cones. They are thought to be derived from branches that have modified scale-like constructions rather than leaves. Each scale has two ovules on its hand, and each ovule develops into a seed. Because the cone is tiny, everything is on a small scale in this stage. Within the ovule, cell division occurs at a technical structure toward the base of the ovule known as the nucellus. It divides to form the female sex cell or gamete.

Pollination Occurs

Cones type producing pollen. Pollen floats on fluid near the tip of this scale on the wind into the female cone and lands. The scale tip opens marginally to let the pollen. The pollen rests there for a year. The female cone expands into a hard structure using the scales. Changes are occurring in the pollen and the ovule, although fertilization will not happen until the spring. The cells are dividing to produce the gametes, semen that is known as, and female gametes, known as eggs, that will unite to produce the seeds.

Fertilization Follows

Throughout the spring of the next season of this cone, the male and female gametes are ready. The pollen develops a pollen tube, which enters just a little hole at the ovule’s skin near its basal end, known as the micropyle. The semen goes, and the tube enters the ovule down the tube and to the ovule. Fertilization occurs when egg and the sperm fuse and the seeds grow. Each seed includes food to nourish it, in addition to the embryo of a young pine tree.

Maturation and Seed Dispersal

The female cone develops as the seeds grow, getting browner and larger. If the seeds are mature, the scales of the cone start to separate from one another, becoming sterile, dry and brown. You can see two seeds resting at the top of each scale When you look between the scales. There’s enough space for the seeds to drop out. Depending upon the species seeds are light and winged and have carried by the wind, or they are heavy and nearly wingless and have dispersed by creatures. A good example of a walnut with winged seeds, Afghan pine (Pinus eldarica) is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 11. The Italian stone pine (Pinus pinea), which develops in USDA zones 7 through 11, releases large seeds used as food. They are an important element in cooking.

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When Do You Make an Amaryllis Go Dormant?

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) Grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, where it flowers naturally outdoors in summer. Indoors, amaryllis can blossom in winter or early spring should you force the wax into ancient dormancy in autumn.

Time to Sleep

Amaryllis will continue to grow through summer and spring, after flowering is finished. The green foliage is accumulating nutrients in the bulb before it goes dormant, so leave the foliage in place and provide the amaryllis with full sun and moist soil during this time period. For winter or early spring bloom, gradually reduce watering the arc less in late summer and allow the soil to dry nearly entirely. The bulb is totally dormant when the leaves yellow and die back entirely, usually in late summer or early autumn.

Storage Tips

The amaryllis bulb does not require any water through its autumn and early winter dormancy period. Moisture at this time can cause the amaryllis to decay. Turn the pot on its side so that moisture does not collect if you keep it outdoors, or place the pot in a dark area indoors at around 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the bulb in pressured dormancy for at least two months to ensure healthy blooming. Remove the bulb out of its dormant storage six to eight weeks before you want flowering to start.

Waking Up

An amaryllis will grow best in a small bud, however, the dormant bulbs needs repotting if the surfaces of the arc are touching the sides of the pot. Use a pot with bottom drainage that’s 1 to 2 inches wider than the arc. Water the ground so that it’s evenly moist and transfer the pot to someplace that is around 50 to 60 F with bright, indirect sunlight. Increase the temperature to 70 to 75 F following the leaves grow in, and continue to water the amaryllis when the soil surface feels dry.

Ongoing Care

After flowering, cut back the flower stems to 2 ins high but do not remove the leaves. You can continue to keep the pots indoors, or set them outdoors after frost danger has passed. Amaryllis needs full sun, moderately moist soil and fertilizer during the after-bloom and summer growing season when it is to blossom again following the next dormant period. Water every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer, like a 24-8-16 blend diluted in the speed of 1/2 teaspoon for every 1 gallon of water, or according to the speeds on the tag.

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How to Grow Maiden Pinks From Seeds

Maiden pinks supply green foliage in winter and flowers in United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 and 10 in spring, summer and autumn, even though they are hardy to zone 3. This yearlong series makes them a suitable selection for improving the curb appeal of your lawn and adding more color to your flower borders. Grow the pinks from seed about eight months before transplanting so that your garden may benefit from the instant addition of color come planting time.

Growing Seeds

Fill a seed-starting mixture that is apartment using a moistened potting. Place the tray.

Sow the pink seeds on the surface of the potting mixture. Place seeds in rows down the length of the flat, spacing the rows 2 inches apart.

So they’re in full contact with the soil beneath press on the seeds with your fingertips. So that they are covered, sprinkle a layer of potting mix on top of the seeds. Mist the mix with water’s surface.

Cover the apartment with a plastic bag. The tote retains the warmth and moisture from the potting mixture during germination.

Place the apartment in a location where temperatures remain around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Maiden pink seeds usually germinate in 10 to 21 days.

Remove once the sprouts appear. Move the apartment to a location at which the seedlings receive six to eight hours of sunlight. When the surface feels dry, water the potting mix.

Garden Care

Plant the seedlings in the garden in mid- to late-spring when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the winter season is beyond. Plant the seedlings at a well-drained bed at the identical depth they had been in the apartment. Space the plants 10 inches apart in all directions.

Water maiden pinks weekly from summer, the spring and autumn when they’re actively flowering. Provide roughly 1 inch of water either by irrigation or by rain. Maiden pinks can blossom through winter but require watering during this wetter season.

The plants are backed by cut after the first flush of flowering, with shears by half of their height. Continue to cut the plants back after every complete flowering flush finishes to keep the plants intact and to stop them.

Distribute a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost over the bed in summer. The mulch prevents weed growth and retains the moisture from evaporating throughout the warmer days of August and July.

Fertilize maiden pinks in spring when the flower buds look. Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 blend, at the rate recommended on the package for flowering perennials.

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Postage Stamp Garden Delivers in Boston

In Boston, where legacy is king, landscape designer Matthew Cunningham strikes a balance between historic reverence and thoughtful ease using a revamped 415-square-foot entry courtyard.

“My aim was to unite the program prerequisites using a distance that felt firmly rooted in a palette of materials unique to New England,” says Cunningham. “The inside of the home is very modern, but the shell of the construction is conventional. Both elements are intentionally blended by the backyard. It is meant to feel present and stylish without even turning its back to the incredibly wealthy context of Boston’s South End.”

Privacy, intense microclimates and architectural continuity all play crucial roles when designing urban gardens, and unlike with conventional yards, there’s little room for excess. “Urban gardens may be tough to establish,” says Cunningham. “The secret is to keep things simple and intentional.”

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For a small footprint, shoes are filled by the courtyard. More than a garden, it is an entry, dining area, land line along with physical projection of their customer’s aesthetic.

“The customer sought a backyard which was lasting and easy to maintain,” says Cunningham. The courtyard was created as an outdoor extension of the home as well as a welcoming invitation.

He immediately resolved privacy issues by surrounding the previously underutilized courtyard. Eight-foot fencing separates the intimate courtyard in your tropical alley.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

The garden draws the experience of the home outside — creating a feeling of seclusion in the middle of metropolitan Boston.

“it is a fairly quiet area,” says Cunningham. “You don’t really observe the bustle and hustle of the city because it is on the alley side of their property. You find the sky and some surrounding buildings.”

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Ambient locality light illuminates a lot of the backyard. Candles are its only additional light source.

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Resilient Hardscape

Much of historic Boston is Made from brick. Cunningham utilized granite paving as an intentional diversion out of this tradition while staying true to regional aesthetics and clean design.

Dry-laid cobbles — many already on site — were closely tucked with sterile native moss, keeping permeability and allowing water percolation.

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All woodwork and fencing is whitewashed fir contrasted with corrugated galvanized steel.

While the site is somewhat protected, the climate of the American Northeast is ferocious, and all materials will need to withstand its inflictions — humidity, snow, rain — while weathering gracefully and naturally.

The hardscape colour suits the modern, industrial aesthetic of the space while still habituated to traditional New England gardens.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Shade-tolerant Planting

“Understanding the developing conditions is crucial,” says Cunningham. This site receives hardly three hours of direct sunlight every day, so selecting plants that would survive in shade and retain moisture was crucial.

Like the minimalist substance palette, the primary planting palette is limited to two shade-loving perennials. Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) and Heuchera (Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’)are blended within the terraced beds that are raised. “They flourish in the area and also have excellent multi-seasonality. We utilize annuals from the containers in the backyard — and utilize palms in the containers which flank the entry of the home.”

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While not all plants are evergreen, Cunningham says, the clients enjoy the backyard yearlong. The Hakone grass continues to flourish over the winter, blowing off in the frosty wind while cascading over terraced planters.

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Space-saving Details

Every square foot of outside area is accounted for.

Cunningham avoided wasted space by selecting a sliding barn-style gate rather than a classic moving door. Built-in closets keep AC components, trash and recycling from view — removing clutter.

He adopted the firewood storage for a design feature by leaving the stack vulnerable. A granite pier forms the pedestal of the dining table.

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Cunningham employed optical apparatus to add distance.

The horizontal slats of the fencing were intentionally utilized to elongate the distance, directing the visitor from the alley into the garden and home.

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Landscape plan of South End Courtyard.

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Let Nature Inspire Your Landscape: Devise a Desert Garden

Deserts are a few of the most intense environments our blue world offers. While they may bring to mind intense isolation, a blatant lack of hospitality and boredom, we should reconsider our place and see, at least in photos, a few dry and remote locales to steal cues for our gardens. The results may be spectacular.

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The Antarctic and the Arctic are regarded as the largest deserts on the planet. With hardly any precipitation, these cold deserts, mostly covered in snow, provide few plants of backyard interest, so let us overlook them.

In the hot and temperate deserts we locate plants which manage to accomplish feats with just a few sparse drops of water. To do so, they’ve developed various innovative mechanisms which are quite often particularly pleasing to the eye.

In this case, much in the desert of southwest Bolivia, this lettuce comparative termed yareta (Azorella compacta) grows gradually into a thick, mossy mound, restricting evapotranspiration.

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A little further away, on an isolated island of rocks and poking from an immense salt level, this candelabra-type cactus provides a conspicuous life shape to an otherwise barren landscape. Can you imagine the spectacle when these all bloom concurrently?

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Cacti have varied shapes; this gold barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is a good example of an architecturally interesting option. Growing one of it is a sky-blue senecio (Senecio serpens). Both are frost sensitive.

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One of the most preferred of garden cacti is that the paddle cactus (Opuntia sp). Some species are native to the Canadian prairies, making them hardy to zones 3 or 4 — hardy, possibly, but drenching sun and super well-drained soil are still compulsory.

Here, we have a charming duo of Opuntia x ellisiana and Yucca glauca.

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All but one species of cacti are located in North America. In Africa, the cactus-looking native plants are, strangely enough, often members of the Euphorbia family. Both families and their horticultural selections offer endless possibilities for gardeners blessed with a warm, humid climate.

These crops may be utilised in innumerable ways: Some gardeners pack them tightly, like they’d annuals; others show more restraint, like in this section of the Berkeley Botanical Garden in California, leaving a sand and rock exposed.

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The agave is just another desert favorite. Beyond its role in tequila making, agaves are exceptional for their dramatic rosettes of fleshy, often gorgeously colored leaves.

Incapable of carrying on through most real sleeplessness nights, agaves are happier in California and the southern United States. For those in colder climates, agaves create fantastic and easily cared-for potted plants.

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In the same vein but considerably hardier (zone 4 and up) are yuccas (Yucca flaccida ‘Golden Sword’ is shown here). Their rosettes of spiky foliage play a significant part in virtually any desert garden layout; being so perceptible, they are the anchor around which other crops evolve. A creeping verbena fires off this combination.

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Wisely combined, these dryland crops are perfect for stark, modern plantings.

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Drylands have, by definition, too little water to sustain verdant growth. The outcome is often an environment sparsely populated with crops and plants, during the driest season, somewhat darkened. Though some think this boring, others believe it minimalist on a budget.

Here we’ve got a forest of quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma) in South Africa.

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However when rain finally arrives, this gloomy territory often bursts to a short-lived riot of colors. Bulbs and annuals, like these Cape daisies (Ursinia sp), cover the ground long enough to finish their cycle from bloom to seed.

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A similar phenomenon takes place in the dry hinterland of Oregon, with this spidery cleome. It’s simple to imitate this in backyard settings by sprinkling seeds of annuals (California poppy is a fantastic choice) between the existing permanent plants.

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When the weather turns overly cold or moist for proper desert crops, substitutions are key — look for better-adapted plants with similar appearances. For example, that knawel (Scleranthus biflorus) may change the yareta we found earlier on.

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Thus stonecrop, like this ‘Matrona’ sedum (Sedum ‘Matrona’), is invited to the coldest dry gardens. Hardy to zone 2 or 3, this succulent plant is pretty much indestructible.

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Some of these lower grasses will also be welcome additions to the dry garden. With their fine foliage and tufted growth habit, they sway in the conclusion, contrast with thicker succulents and don’t mind becoming parched. Blue fescue (Festuca spp) and this Ponytail bud (Stipa tenuissima) are a few of the best choices.

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It would not require much more than a drift of these grasses, together with some choice cacti, to transfer you to a much removed patch of desert. And if your backyard proves so convincing, may we even anticipate vicuñas and flamingos to cover a visit? Let’s hope so.

More in this series: Shape a Sea-Inspired Garden | Suggestions for a Woodland Garden
Grasslands to Garden | Mighty Mountain Gardens

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