It’s Autumn already

 

IMG_1894Wow, it’s still August but getting cool here already.  60’s at night now and it’s been raining every day.

I haven’t posted for the last couple of weeks.  We haven’t had our regular schedule now for a few weeks.  I really can’t go on Saturday and they’ve done three Saturday’s now and one live Thursday at the studio.  I’m just not able to give up my Saturday’s right now so here is what has been happening with the apprentices the last couples of weeks.

Two weeks ago it was all about the Mediterranean garden Rob has created along his old driveway.  The driveway is really  long and they don’t use it so it’s a long driveways of pots containing succulents and other heat loving plants.  Many of the pots in this garden go inside during the winter and are brought out again next year as well as there are cannas that are stored over winter in the basement and planted again the next year.

They did a live at the studio all about Jade plants.  These are so easy to grow and take cuttings and make more.  Just stick them in some cactus or rocky soil and they don’t need much water.  Break off a piece and stick in the soil for another plant.  So easy.

This week they walked around the garden and showed you what is blooming for late summer/fall and did the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Take a peek at the last two to three week’s segment here:

http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/08/14/proctor-mediterranean-border/14053733/

http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/08/21/growing-great-jade-plants/14386075/

http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/08/28/bright-perennials-for-late-summer/14742353/

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It’s time for the second half

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Have you been sitting and admiring your garden in full bloom?  We’ve ooo’d and ahh’d over the garden for the last three or four weeks.  We can still keep our garden in shape for the second half of the season.

It may be time to give your container gardens a trim.  They may be getting a little leggy and with a good trim and cut and some grow fertilizer there’s time for another round of blooms.  With the moisture and some of the cool temperatures we’ve had the last couple of weeks things may be wanting to bloom ahead of time.  Some of the Fall asters are already getting into the game.  Some poor plants are confused and Spring bloomers are trying to bloom again now.  It’s all cool.  Just enjoy them.

Deadheading the perennial garden right now would be a good thing.  If it’s a one time bloomer cut the stem down as far as you can.  For interest you can leave the foliage if it adds interest to the border.  They will die out later in the winter and give the garden some good nutrients.  Some plants will give you more blooms so just deadhead and wait for another round.

Don’t let up on your fertilizing.  Remember, every 7 to 10 days.  Right now if you’re doing some trimming you could give your plants a shot of Grow instead of Bloom.  It will get them started again.

While you’re trimming if you have some things that will root easily you can start to take cuttings and get them started.

If you’d like, take out your houseplants and give them some fresh air.  Put them in a shady spot so they don’t get burned and dry up.  They will like it and shake themselves off and perk up and will get ready for the long winter indoors.  It wouldn’t hurt to give them some nice grow fertilizer either.

To see what’s up in Rob’s garden right now (it was time for the Cow Parsnips to go) take a look at this week’s segment:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/08/07/second-half-of-summer/13716235/

 

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Week 16 – It’s tour time!!

This week we didn’t meet in the garden on Wednesday.  Our videographer has other assignments so some of the apprentices met on Saturday.  I thought it was a great opportunity to share some of the more subtle things in the garden to look for on the tour.  I didn’t know that was what the apprentices who went Saturday were going to talk about so my blog is sort of the same thing this week.  They talk about the different gardens and features.

I was walking around and was noticing lots of subtle things like the textures of the plants that are positioned together, and the color combinations.  There are no accidents in the garden or the container pots.  If you look closely you’ll see lots of symmetry.  What is on one side will be directly across on the other side.  When you look closely you’ll be amazed at the patterns, textures and color combinations that are carefully planned.

The garden was mystical and magical on Wednesday.  When I got there it was cloudy and the plants had lots of water on them from the rain.  It was really nice light.  It was quiet and I had the garden all to myself.  Some of us were going to go fertilize but I didn’t get the message it was called off.  I was glad I didn’t know because it was a special time in the garden.

The blog this week is what you’ll see on the tour next weekend.  The tour is Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, from 6:00 am to Noon.  Donation is $10 at the door and all proceeds benefit the Denver Dumb Friends League.  3030 W. 46th Avenue (two blocks south of I-70 on Federal).  When you go to the tour, it’s nice to take it all in and see the full effect, but look closely at the ground and what is around.  There are lots of secret gardens and the variegated foliage, and textures, and colors, and little plants hidden underneath the big ones, and ground covers.  So much to look at and take time to get closer to the ground and really look at what is hiding there.

Enjoy:(this is just a snippet and you can’t really believe it until you see it)

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Now, get out there and get gardening (or this week enjoy your garden)!!

To see this week’s segment on how to tour the garden, visit: http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/07/17/rob-proctor-garden-tour/12777001/

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Here it is – what you’ve been waiting for!!

COME ON DOWN – YOU WON’T REGRET IT!!

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Week 15 – What’s bugging you?

Today was live at the studio.  This is a repeat of an article I did last year.  Same subject, same good advice.

Today we talked about controlling pests in the garden.  How many times have you killed a bug and then wondered what kind it was?  How many times have you grabbed a can of chemicals and sprayed something without even thinking about it?  Chemicals are bad for our kids, our pets, good bugs, and especially our friends the birds and bees.  Spray the bad with chemical poisons and you will kill the good.   This can end up hurting your garden as well by eliminating the helpful bugs.  A garden without life will die.

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Not all bugs are bad and there are easy, organic and more affordable ways to control the pests that eat our leaves or kill our plants.  Here are some ways to control the pests that need to be controlled.

First, see if other predators take care of the problem.  Ladybugs (aphids, spider mites), predator wasps, lacewings (aphids), dragonflies, bats (mosquitos), garter snakes (mice)and birds (moths, bugs). (OK, I have to admit I don’t like the snake idea).

Mis a few drops ina srapy bottle

Second, if you need to treat your plants there is a safe, easy, affordable way to mix up a solution to spray your plants.  Get some Dr. Bronner’s (or other brand) pure castile soap and mix a few drops in a spray bottle and add water.  To treat the plants, spray the underside of the leaves, buds, and joints where the bugs are having a party and soak them with the spray.  The peppermint in the soap smells great and it breaks down the exoskeleton of the bug.  You may have to watch and repeat the spraying to kill any bugs from eggs that were there before.  Easy peasy and totally safe for other good bugs, kids, pets, and bees.  Make sure you use a pure organic soap.  Detergents in other soaps will burn your plants leaves.  Dr Bronner’s can be found in grocery stores, garden centers and some big stores like Target or Wal-Mart.  Unless a plant is totally covered in bugs and is killing the plant, this should work well.  If the plant is that bad you have waited too long and your option may be to toss the plant.

Slugs and earwigs like to chew on leaves in the garden.  An easy way to get rid of earwigs without having to look at them or touch them is to take a section of newspaper, soak it and roll it into a long roll.  In the evening put it in your garden.  The earwigs will crawl in and in the morning you don’t even have to check it, you can just throw it away.  Trust that they will be in there.  If you want to play with them I guess you can unroll the paper to make sure they are there but I’ll just throw it away.

You can get rid of slugs by putting out saucers of beer.  Don’t use the good stuff, buy the skunky beer for this task.  The slugs don’t care and they will crawl into it and drown.  One word about slugs.  If you live in Colorado and you have slugs you are probably over watering.  If you have lots of wood mulch, and over water you can get rid of the slugs by pulling up the mulch, spread out some compost and don’t water so much.  Slugs like moisture and we’re in a drought right now so slugs should not be a problem.

Not all leaf chewing is a bad thing.  Leaf cutter bees will strip off pieces of Red Bud and Roses to make their nests.  They are nice gentle creatures and help pollinate our plants.  I’ll let them have some of my leaves to help me out with the rest of my garden.  Who cares anyway?  It doesn’t kill the plants and the leaves can take on an interesting shape.  If you cut your roses those leaves don’t stay around long anyway.Chewed by Leaf Cutter Bees - beneficial for your garden - Bee Art

 
Chewed by Leaf Cutter Bees – beneficial for your garden – Bee Art

Butterflies come from caterpillars so let the caterpillars use your plants.  Swallow Tails like Dill and Queen Anne’s Lace.  Monarchs like milkweed.  Plant a butterfly garden or a garden for Hummingbirds.  There are lots of ways to bring the good bugs and birds to your garden.

Learn to recognize the good bugs from the bad and you’ll be a step ahead to help your garden’s ecosystem survive.

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

For this week’s segment go to: http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/07/10/proctor-keep-pests-away/12422437/

 

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Week 14 – Garden fireworks will sizzle if you don’t let them fizzle

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You can’t have that zing if you don’t have that thing – shu bop shu bop

It’s getting hot outside and it’s time to re-enforce good gardening practices.

Before we get to that;  around the garden today (it was magically beautiful for some reason today):

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This week the apprentices fertilized, hydrated the pots and deadheaded salvia and giant sea kale.  We also set up a very nice Fourth of July table and Lisa made a beautiful bouquet out of the flowers in the garden for the table.  Of course the theme is Red, White and Blue!

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Right now is the best time to remember to fertilize your pots and make sure your plants are getting enough water.  They’ll want to fizzle in this 90 degree heat so make sure you check every day so they have enough water.  Stick you finger down about two-thirds the way to the bottom of the roots (your index finger to maybe just past the knuckle depending on the size of the pot).  If it’s damp you’re ok.  If it’s dry then water.  Most likely in this weather of 90 degrees for 3 days you’ll have to water every day.  Water until the water starts draining from the bottom of the pot.  I make it a practice to water them every day until they start “peeing”.  Hanging baskets I do the same.  Water until they pee.  This time of year, a good draining pot with the right soil for the plant shouldn’t stay too wet.  With the heat we’re heading into I don’t think a plant being too wet will be a problem. If it’s a huge pot you may not have to water every day so do the finger test.  If it’s a small pot it maybe hard to keep up with watering it enough.

Water when it’s cool.  Probably the best time to water is 2:00 in the morning.  If you don’t have a drip system or a sprinkler system that’s not possible.  The important thing is that you do water.  Lawns and perennial like a nice deep soaking in this heat.  Water in the evening after 8:00 pm if possible or water early in the morning @ 6:00 am.  Give the plants a nice deep soak so the water will get down around the roots.  If you shallow water the roots will have to come up closer to the surface to get fed and the heat will get them.  Sprinkling is not watering.  SOAK IT!!  This will give the plants a chance to soak up the water when it’s cool and be prepared for the hot day ahead.  To water or not to water?  You can do the finger test in the garden just like you do in the pots.  Get down about 2/3 down to the roots and see if it’s damp.  If you don’t like sticking your fingers in the soil you can pick up an inexpensive water meter at your local garden center.  It’s on a long probe you can push into the ground or pot to test the moisture level.

Allison, Steffen and Matt talked about fertilizing and watering in the heat this week.  Here’s Steffen giving the column pots a shot of Bloom and Grow cocktail.

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Remember – one day of a plant being dry in 90 degree heat can kill it.  It’s not bugs, and it didn’t come from the garden center that way.  You killed it.  It’s ok.  We’ve all done it so please don’t take plants back to where you bought them and say it’s a bad plant.  Sometimes a plant will make it through the day and fizzle out in the next day or two (after you’ve soaked them).  Plants can be damaged past a point where they are no longer able to suck up water.  It might be a couple of days after you’ve watered them again but it was really from the day you let them go dry.  Fertilize once every 7 to 10 days, and keep your plants hydrated and you will be successful.  I like the Old Age Bloom and Grow.  This week we set up a fertilization station with plenty on hand.  If it’s blooming give it Bloom with lots of phosphorus.  If it’s green give it Grow with nitrogen.  If you have a pot that’s looking particularly fizzled, mix a cocktail of bloom and grow (about half of each) to perk up the growth and the blooms.  Just follow the instructions on the bottle for how much to apply.

Fertilization Station - fertilize every 7 to 10 days.  Where the heck did he find this big container of Bloom and Grow?

Fertilization Station – fertilize every 7 to 10 days. Where the heck did he find this big container of Bloom and Grow?

We continued to deadhead and cut back the salvia.  The Giant Sea Kale was out of control so chop chop go the seed heads.  Lisa talks about the Giant Sea Kale in this week’s segment.

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY ! ! !

Now, go out there and get gardening!!

For this week’s segment (it’s a good one, but they’re all good aren’t they!!) go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/07/03/floral-fireworks/12128371/

 

 

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Week 13 – Summer clean up in the Hell Strip

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Around the garden today:

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Today the apprentices split iris and cleaned up what Rob calls the Hell Strip.  This is the piece of land between the sidewalk and the street.  It’s hard to mow and water so why not put some plants in there that don’t need much attention.  Some nice blooming Spring bulbs and xeric plants that can pretty much take care of themselves.

There are a bunch of dwarf iris in Rob’s Hell Strip that have been neglected for a while.  They aren’t producing as well as they might so it’s time to dig them up and split them so next year they’ll produce bigger, healthier blooms.

Iris are easy to split. Most of them will just break apart.  There will be some mushy or dried up pieces you can dispose of.  The nice meaty ones will be nice and white and hard.  Just snap them apart and if you have some really long ones that have grown together you can break them into smaller ones or cut them apart.  Cut the leaves back to 5 to 6 inches so the leaves don’t take energy from the plant trying to re-establish (which is opposed to not cutting them back after they have bloomed) and replant them 1/2 to 1 inch.  You’ll have plenty of extras so give them away to beautify your friends yards.

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We also did some clean up of bloomed out plants.  If there are varieties that you want to drop and spread seed then leave those.  Deadhead and cut back any straggly plants and any that are finished that you don’t want sticking up all dried out.

We all collected seed while we were doing this.  I have a bag of plant heads and I will harvest all the seed and mix it together and use it for a mixed seed planting.  I’ll go scatter it in a place where I would like some sun perennials.  If you want to collect seed make sure the seed heads are mature or the seeds won’t sprout.

We all took home some iris to plant.  I have plenty of places for those!!

Gardening is dangerous business.  Highlights that didn’t make the segment were Adam sticking the garden fork into his foot )and the ironic part of that being he was the only one there who had shoes appropriate for digging) and Kathy accidentally grabbing a pear cactus paddle.  You can imagine neither of these moments could be broadcast.

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To view this week’s segment visit:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/06/26/iris-summertime/11398529/

 

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Week 12 – Out with the old, In with the new

 

BYE BYE Pansies!!

BYE BYE Pansies!!

Today in the garden the apprentices got rid of the plants that are cool loving and got ready for the hot weather.  That means out with the pansies and cool weather veggies and in with the beautiful summer bloomers and peppers and other heat loving veggies.

Around the garden today:

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Allison and Matt, and Sally and Lisa pulled out old pansies and repotted with summer plants.  Steffen and Jerid harvested cool weather veggies and planted some summer fare like tomatoes, peppers and squash.

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The pansies have done really well this year and still look good and sometimes it’s really hard to get rid of them but as the days get warmer they’ll wilt and get sick and you’ll think, why didn’t I do that two weeks ago.

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There are many beautiful plants you can use to redo your pots and container gardens.  Remember the three plants (this term coined by non other than our own Rob Proctor) you can use in your pots:

Thrillers – they are the tall beautiful plants that take your breath away when they bloom.  Geraniums, begonias (Hot Wings like heat – some like shade so find the right ones), cannas, hydrangeas, any plant that loves the summer heat and is tall.  It could be a grass or a spike as well.  It doesn’t necessarily have to stick up in the middle of your pot.  If you have a nice big pot you can stagger them, for example, put three in a pot.

Fillers – these are plants that are less tall that will fill in the pot around the thrillers.  They may bloom or they may be gorgeous variegated colored plants like sun coleus that fill in and give lots of color.

Spillers – these are plants you can put around the outside and they will start spilling out over the outside of the pot.  Things like sweet potato vine, wave petunias, and other vining plants.  They can bloom or there are some really pretty colored viny plants you can get.  If your fillers don’t bloom, maybe a spiller that does or vice versa.

Pick a color theme.  Use sunset colors.  Use cool colors.  Use complementary colors.  Use the same color in different shades for a mono theme.  Go wild and mix it up.  Whatever is pleasing to you because you have to look at it.  Have a plan when you go into the store.  Sometimes there are so many beautiful plants and I start wandering around putting stuff in my basket and then all of a sudden I forget they all don’t like the same amount of sun or heat and I have to start over because I’ve picked up things that won’t fill the pot the way I want.  It’s easier when you go if you have a list of each pot, and how many sun and shade plants you need for each pot, and the color theme for each pot.  If you just have a list of how many shade and sun plants you need and you want different color themes, you might not end up with the right of amount of plants for the right pot.  In the summer heat, bigger is better.  A small pot dries out so quickly.  One big pot costs the same to fill as a couple of small pots and your results will be better.  It will hold the moisture longer.

The second thing to remember is:  Right plant, right place.  You can get a variety of beautiful bloomers and non-bloomers in beautiful colors in both shade and sun plants.  Pick the right plants for your conditions and you will be successful.   Put petunias in the shade and you’ll wonder why they won’t bloom.  Put coleus and impatiens in the sun and you’ll wonder why they wilt.  Some plants come in shade and heat varieties.  Lobelia likes to be cooler but there is a hardy variety that can take heat.  Some coleus like shade but there is are varieties of sun coleus that take the sun and heat.  They don’t really like to be mixed so figure out how much sun your pot will get during the day and plant accordingly.

Go to a local garden center for good advice.  If you’re not sure whether a plant likes sun or not, just ask.  Remember that you can’t look at the tags on a plant and figure out what it will do here.  The tags put in plants are tags that go across the whole nation.  We are a mile closer to the sun so plants that do well in sun in some states may not do so well here so don’t be afraid to ask.  Some garden centers have their plants separated into shade and sun sections.   Put the right plant in the right place, water when it needs it and fertilize and you’ll be successful.

I like Age Old Organics,  Bloom and Grow for plants and Garden Tone and Tomato Tone for veggies.  There are others out there.  For veggies for sure get an organic fertilizer.  Tomatoes like different fertilizer than plants.  Remember, you are what you eat!!

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To see the segment for this week go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/06/18/replacing-pansies/10671303/

 

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Week 11 – It’s time for a trim

 

The ever important deadheading

The ever important deadheading

Today was all about trimming stuff.  Tree stuff, plant stuff, old bloom stuff.

Since we just had the tour and there was a special blog about it I’m not doing photos from around the garden today.  See previous post for eye candy visions.

Deadheading is always important in your container gardens as well as in your regular garden.  The more you deadhead and remove the old blooms, the more you’ll get healthier, bigger, more beautiful blooms.  A plant has a mission and that is to survive and produce seed.  Producing seeds takes energy away from producing bigger more beautiful blooms.  Remove those old heads along with the seed.  One example is a petunia.  If you just pull the bloom out you’re leaving the seed.  Pinch right underneath where the bloom comes out and you’ll remove the seed along with the old bloom!  And remember to add a high phosphate fertilizer (I love the Old Age Organics Bloom) to make them big and beautiful.  Fertilize every 7 – 10 days!!  Steffen was all about fertilizing the pots today and led the brigade.  At last count I knew there were 600 or so but Sally made a count today and there are 760.  Yes, that is right, and no there is not a drip system.  All pots are hand watered with a hose, and fertilized with liquid organic fertilizer in watering cans as well as there is no sprinkler system in the yard or garden.  Just imagine keeping them deadheaded!!

If you have plants that are almost done for the season and you would like them to spread throughout the garden you can let them go to seed.  They will scatter themselves or you can harvest the seed and sprinkle it where you’d like more.  Dill is fun to let go to seed because the Swallowtails reproduce in the head of the dill.  So, it’s your choice!!

You can cut back all the spent iris now.  Cut the stalk down as far as you can.  Don’t whack off all the foliage as it is still green, adds some color, and feeds and gives nutrients to your rhizomes for next year.  Iris also produce a seed that sucks the energy from replenishing the rhizome so do it now for healthier iris next year.  Some people say that the don’t like all the leaves sticking up with no blooms.  Plant some annuals around them if you want a more attractive look there or make some space and plant some blooming perennials amongst them.  In the Spring when they are all dried up is when you can clean them up or till them into the soil for some nice organic matter.

It looks like Jerid and Adam and Rob were using the pole pruners to reach some high dead branches on a tree.  It’s not time to prune all trees, bushes or shrubs but if you have any old dead limbs that need to be taken out you can do that any time.  By now you can see the limbs that didn’t leaf out or you can tell are dead.  I can trim up and saw out some small stuff but if it’s above my head and could whack me a good one when it falls down I’ll just leave that for someone else to do.

It’s also time to cut back asters and mums.  They are a later blooming plant and if you trim them back by about a 1/3 or so they will make nicer mounds with better, healthier, and a lot more blooms.  If you would like them to mound just trim them in a mound shape.  If you don’t trim them back they will grow tall and straggly and fall over.  Tall and straggly, nice mounds with more pretty blooms?   Your choice.

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To view this week’s segment go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/06/12/proctor-asters-mums/10369719/

 

 

 

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Proctor/Macke Garden Tour for the Tennyson Center for Children

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It was a pleasant day for a walk in the garden.  It was overcast but a beautiful day, especially for taking pictures.  Refreshments were served on the lawn and everyone had a wonderful time.  The apprentices were on hand for answering questions and enjoyed the garden without working in it!!

It did rain just as I was leaving.  I saw a few people with hoods and umbrellas still enjoying the garden.

I constantly hear people saying he’s lucky to have the apprentices to do all that work.  In reality, we are there one hour a week and part of that time is filming the segment.  Occasionally we stay a little longer if we like or pop in an extra few minutes once in a while like when we’re getting ready for a tour, but really, we don’t do an inth of what goes on in that garden.

People don’t believe us that the garden and pots are hand watered, but it’s true.  A sprinkler is set on the lawn and moved around by hand but the pots are all hand watered and hand fertilized and deadheaded.  It’s a lot of work and is done by none other than Rob and David.  That garden is a full time job!!

That garden is so lush with plants that it holds moisture really well.  The plant foliage keeps the sun from reaching the soil and drying it out so it doesn’t have to be watered as much as we probably water our own.   The more open space we fill with rock (attracts and retains heat) and mulch, the more the moisture can evaporate.

Also, remember the garden was not built in a day.  It’s been there a long while and many of the plants come back year after year.  New plants  may be added , or divided and moved around but there are some oldies but goodies in that garden that look beautiful year after year.  Annuals are tucked in to give it more color.  It’s a constant work in progress.

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