Shady Way Gardens Bits and Briefs
Since January is generally the coldest month of the year
there’s not much to do outside unless you have roses or deciduous fruit
trees to prune. But at least you have a good excuse for staying inside
and fantasizing with gardening catalogs! And if you’re a real gardener
you’ll want to start some Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant or
even Tomatillo seeds indoors. When choosing varieties of any of
these be aware, however, that it’s not the same here as back home.
Pelargoniums, sometimes referred to as succulent Geraniums, have just got to be one of the coolest things to the eye of the succulentophile (you know, one of those nuts that goes ape over fat, squirrelly looking plants!). There are over 200 species of these plants in South Africa. Some have thick, water storing stems, while others, called geophytes, withdraw into the ground when the going gets tough. Unlike Geranium flowers, Perargonium flowers are not real showy. They do their growing during our cool winter months, then as summer approaches lose their leaves and become dormant. Overwatering during this time often leads to rot. They should be protected from frost and given some shade through the summer. We have a handful available at Shady Way.
While Pelargoniums are for the collector of smaller succulents, Aloes (members of the Lily family), which range in size from a few inches to 30 ft tall, can be used as striking landscape specimens. One of particular interest to the lover of the large and bizarre is Aloe dichotoma. This plant is in the Tree Aloe group as it forms a large trunk topped by a head of short, thick branches. It is quite the sight in its native South Africa where its thick branches were once used by indigenous peoples to make arrow quivers. Possibly not for the feint of heart, this plant requires perfect drainage and minimal summer watering as it is very prone to rot. There is a truly awesome plant at Arizona Cactus Sales in Chandler, but sadly some of it rotted away last summer and its ultimate fate is unknown. We have some available if you’re up to the challenge and want a plant that truly appreciates neglect.
The latest thoughts on planting holes from those in the know (University people etc.) are that they should be dug no deeper than the rootball of the plant but 3 or 5 times wider, since new root growth tends to grow laterally and not down.
Web Comments email@example.com September 13, 2004 © Shady Way Nursery 2004