Another year is drawing to an end and you know what that means here at Joy Us garden—another garden tour is coming up. For the past couple of Decembers, I’ve given you an update on how my potted plants have done over the past 12 months so here it goes again. Let’s go on a tour of my container plants, and most importantly, I’m wishing you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
The photo above was taken in my neighbor’s garden. She has 35+ Santa hats which she has picked up at garage sales and uses to decorate her cacti. Speaking of cacti, the beautiful one you see in the lead photo and at the very end is a Totem Pole Cactus. It’s smooth to the touch and fascinatingly beautiful. It’s the holiday season as I’m writing this so I thought it would be a good place to start the video tour.
I live in Tucson, Arizona (which is in the Sonoran Desert) so plants growing here have to be hardy to withstand the severely hot summers. The sun doth shine constantly and the temps are often above 100F. Many of the plants I grew in my Santa Barbara garden don’t do well here.
My Agave Red Edge grows in a low bowl in the bed which borders the kitchen patio. Like many plants here, the colors become more intense once the weather cools.
I love fleshy succulents but didn’t bring many with me when I moved here. That was because the movers wouldn’t take plants and I didn’t have much room in my car so most got left behind with friends. In hindsight, I’m glad as they’re not the ideal for this climate.
The fleshies I have grow in bright shade and I’ve discovered some do much better than others. The majority of my plants now are desert-adapted and I’ve learned to embrace cacti.
Well, not literally! Most aren’t extremely user-friendly but I sure do find them to be interesting. Cacti make much more sense in this climate and I never knew there was such a wide variety available. I’ve worked them in here and there because my container plants aren’t on drip. Most of the time I grey water them.
C’mon, take a tour with me!
Not too many changes have been made from last year. I’ve bought 4 new containers, moved a couple to new locations, planted some new plants and transplanted others. And then there are the pack rats – those cute but destructive creatures have done pruning for me that I didn’t ask for. They certainly are prevalent here in Tucson. Enough rodent talk, on with the pictorial tour!
These are a handful of my container plantings. The rest you can see in the video above.
This is the low bowl that you see as you enter the gate into my garden. The wacky plant with the long white curvy needles is a Paper Spine Cactus. Those spines are flat, & soft to the touch – thank goodness! The mountains in the distance are the Santa Catalinas.
My recently planted Bougainvillea Blueberry Ice. It’s a good 1 for containers as it maxes out at 3′ x 6′. I love the variegated foliage because you don’t see too much of it here in the desert.
This cactus planting sits right outside my kitchen sliding glass door. I love the low planting in the tall pot. The rocks (which I buy every year at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show) accent the slow-growing cacti & cover patches of dirt.
My beloved Aeonium pot. It’s much happier at this time of year because aeoniums don’t like the heat. I brought them with me as cuttings & they’ve grown like crazy. They miss the cool, foggy Santa Barbara weather!
I have a house full of indoor plants so I try to keep my outdoor containers to a minimum. When I 1st moved here to Tucson, I had a lot of smaller containers all over (many left by the previous owner). I’ve since consolidated them into fewer but larger pots. It’s easier watering wise, especially in the hot months.
I travel a lot from late spring through early fall to escape the desert heat. Too many containers = too much work. I’ve try to keep them as low maintenance as possible. And as you well know, no one takes care of your plant babies like you do!
My Staghorn Fern misses the Santa Barbara climate too. It lives outdoors from mid-October through early May & spends the hot months indoors. It grows slower here but doesn’t seem to be too unhappy. I pamper it with a spray session every week.
Another plant brought from SB; my 3-headed Ponytail Palm. I bought it as a small 6″ plant at the farmers market & my how it’s grown. I water every 2-3 weeks in summer & every 4-7 weeks in the winter.
My Variegated Hoya grows over 2 bamboo hoops & does well here in the desert. I have 3 other hoyas which grow indoors & they don’t mind the dryness either.
Saving my Aloe vera for last. I planted the mother plants with a couple of here pups, & in true Aloe vera form, the pups are now producing pups. I keep it in the back corner because this spot gets the least amount of sun in the summer. Aloe vera, & aloes in general, do best out of all-day hot desert sun.
I wanted to do this post and video because many of you have asked how my container plants are doing. Not all are shown in this post but you’ll see 90% of them in the video. I don’t plan on getting any more containers but I’ll get some more plants to fill in here and there.
Even the short Totem Poles get festive caps!
And that’s a wrap for 2019! We’re taking a 2 week break and will be back at the 1st week of 2020 with a new post.
I appreciate you reading these posts, watching the videos and visiting my website. Happy holidays to you and may the new year be filled with nature and all things green.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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Nell, the founder of Joy Us garden, was born into a gardening family and grew up in Connecticut’s countryside. After living in Boston, New York, San Francisco, & Santa Barbara, she now calls the Arizona desert home. She studied horticulture & garden design, working in the field all her life. Nell is a gardener, designer, blogger, Youtube creator, & author. She’s been gardening for a very long time & wants to share what she’s learned with you.