About the SFMGA

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tips for the Super Star Garden

by Bob Pennington, Agua Fria Nursery

  1. Expect failures. When doing extreme gardening, one never knows ahead of time what will work.
  2. Rather than spending a lot of time and money on soil prep, dig, dig, dig. The biggest problem with getting established is compacted soil.
  3. Plant late in the day: your new plants don't like the heat of the day any more than you do.
  4. If experimenting, plants from the great basin may work the best. Their moisture and temperature cycles are much like ours.
  5. Most salvias and agastaches are not good candidates for an extreme garden, as they require moisture during what is supposed to be the monsoon season. If the monsoons don't come, these plants will dry up.
  6. Because the super stars are plants that have pretty much all evolved to live in depleted mineral soils, adding organic mulches is contra-indicated, and fertilization is likewise best done lightly with mostly mineral nutrients.
  7. Try again, and again. Some of these plants will eventually grow in spite of initial failures.
  8. Be very patient. Do water even the most drought tolerant plants during their early years in your garden, but avoid keeping plants like cacti too wet in winter.
  9. Take notes, observe regularly, take pictures, enjoy, experiment.