A Tour Of My Old & New Gardens

First off, Happy Holidays! What a wild year 2020 has been. In the midst of this pandemic madness, I bought a new house. At the end of each year, I take you on a garden tour to show you what’s been happening plant wise. Welcome to the tour of my old and new gardens.

May through October was especially hot and dry here in Tucson. It was the hottest and driest summer on record since 1924. By the time the end of September rolled around, we all over it. The scorching non-stop sunshine and blistering heat really wreaked havoc on the plants. Even the cacti are looking shriveled and dry!

Cmon, take a tour with me:

My Old Garden

looking at a desert garden with a rose/red bougainvillea barbara karst in the foreground
Bougainvillea Barbara Karst is such a workhorse when it comes to flowering. It’s December 14th & she’s still blooming away. And, the color gets more intense as the weather cools.
looking at a desert patio garden with a 19' mexican fence post cactus as the focal point
As you enter through the gate – welcome! I sure will miss that tall ‘ole Mexican Fence Post Cactus.
close up of a paper spine cactus
The Paper Spine Cactus has spines that feel & sound like parchment when touched.
close up of a deep pink trailing annual vinca
Annual Vinca is 1 flowering plant that can handle the intense desert sun & heat. I like this trailing variety.
close up of the foliage of an olive "lil ollie"
Olive foliage is so pretty. This dwarf variety is “Little Ollie” & reaches around 6′ tall & wide. It doesn’t fruit or flower, which is good for those of you (like me) who are allergic to olive pollen.
looking down on an echinocactus with red spines which has been chewed by pack rats
The chewed up Echinocactus. The pack rats were extremely active this summer & decimated the rest of the cacti in this planter. Many of my other plants chomped too.
a mixed cactus planting in a blue ceramic container
Another cactus planting. I love Golden Barrel Cacti & have a few of them in my new front garden.
looking down on a pot of mojito mint
I use the Mojito Mint almost every day. In mid-winter, I cut it all the way back so the new growth can appear later on in spring.
an elephant's food bush & a red annual vinca grow in a pot in front of a mediterranean fan palm
The Elephant’s Food is 1 fleshy succulent that tolerates the summer sun here. Most of the others need shade from May through the end of September.

Those of you who have bought and sold houses know how much paperwork is involved in the processes. I didn’t have the opportunity to do any mid-fall, end of season pruning so my old garden is a little shaggy. By the way, I bought the new house 2 months ago and am still living in my old home. It closed last week and the new owner let me stay here for a week or so while work is being finished up at the other house.

I brought many of the plants in containers here from Santa Barbara when I moved 4-1/2 years ago. The fleshy succulents suffered over the summer but a few survived. I did take cuttings and plan on growing them indoors at my new home. I’m taking all my container plants with me and will probably get more. Do I need more plants? Of course – they make me happy!

close up of a container planted with tall aeoniums
This Aeonium planting is 1 of my favorites. They thrive in Santa Barbara but aren’t too crazy about life here in the desert. Once early fall hits, they start to look much better.
a beautiful patio garden in tucson arizona with many container plants
I will miss this side patio! I spent many hours out & filmed many videos here. But, I have a lot of outdoor space at my new home that I can’t wait to “plantify up”.
a tall variegated hoya topiary with a shell curtain next to it
My Variegated Hoya is looking much better in the cooler weather. The pack rats chewed off most of the trails but they’ve started to grow back.
a large pencil cactus grows outdoors in a corner
Oh the Pencil Cactus will be a challenge to move. It’s not only tall & top-heavy, but it weighs a lot. It’ll probably give me a lot of cuttings in the process!
a large pot of aloe vera with babies grows outdoors in a pot
Aloe Vera is a must-have for me. Mama & her babies provide those leaves which yield a lot of that beneficial gel.
a seahorse made from recycled parts in a garden as art
Art is fun to have in the garden too. This seahorse was made from recycled parts for my mom when she lived in Sonoma.
hand painted tiles from portugal hang on a white stucco wall of a home
These hand-painted Portuguese tiles were mounted on masonry board & were hanging on my Santa Barbara house too. 

I haven’t taken many photos of my new garden yet.  You can get a better idea of it in the video towards the end. I plan on doing the garden in 4 phases and will use mature plants (15 gallon+) for the plantings. Cacti grow slowly and I don’t want to wait 20 or 30 years for them to reach a decent height.

The past 2 years have been very dry so the plants I use will be all adapted to this climate. No roses for this garden! I’ll be sure to do posts and videos to keep you updated on what’s being done. Even though you don’t live in the desert, I hope you’ll be interested to see the progress.

My New Garden:

a yellow gold home with 2 large mesquite trees in tucson az
My new front yard. 
a pool in tucson az with trees & plants in the background
My new back yard. 
a beautiful december sunset in tucson az
Just for fun – sunrise over the Catalina Mountains on December 14th.

We’ll be meeting next year in my new garden. I’m taking a couple of weeks off to rest and unpack. Thank you so much for visiting Joy Us garden. Miranda, Brielle, & I wish you a wonderful holiday season!

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

You might also enjoy: 

A Tour Of My New Garden In The Desert

The Joy Us Garden Front Garden

The Joy Us Garden Side Garden

Sunnylands Center And Gardens In Palm Springs

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