Shady Way Gardens Bits and Briefs November 2001

     In November plant growth winds down as temperatures drop.  Don't expect new growth on trees & shrubs until spring and remember that leafless plants need less water.  For many of us the sight of brightly colored leaves will produce a nostalgic twinge or conjure up that pleasure of the past, the smell of burning leaves.  Some trees that exhibit fall color here include; Ash, Cottonwood, Mulberry, Jujube, Pomegranate, Chinese Pistachio, Chinaberry.  Trees that drop their leaves without fanfare (now you see them, now they're blah, now they drop) include Desert Willow, Monk's Pepper, Mimosa, Lysiloma, Jacaranda, Elm and Mesquites.  See beautiful fall colors at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior.


Sow wildflower seeds through the month and remember to keep soil moist and protect from hungry critters with a chicken wire fence.   You may also lay frost cloth over your seeded area but remember to secure the edges and to check frequently for soil moisture.  You can water right through the frost cloth.  Remove when seedlings have well developed leaves.


Veggie seeds that can be planted in November include; Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Radish, Spinach and Turnips.  You can plant Pepper and Tomato plants, but they must be given as much sun and warmth as possible and protected from frost through the winter.  Basically, they'll just sit there during the cool months.


The Gourds (of which we are sometimes out) and a few Melons on the Shady Way fence were direct seeded into the ground in May, but it's best to plant them in March or April, as it takes many months for them to fully ripen.  They are water hogs but made our hot summer months more livable with their lush green leaves and white or yellow flowers.  Barbara, our shady garden lady, was kept hopping all summer with clipping, snipping, grooming and maternally guiding the vines.


Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) will begin to look especially ratty with seed pods and yellowing leaves.  Newcomers may not realize that although it's fine to plant them now, they will not look good or have flowers until late spring or early summer.  Cover small plants during hard frosts and don't cut any plants back until frost danger is over.

IT'S A PIECE OF PAPER!! iT'S A PIECE OF PLASTIC!! IT'S...IT'S...OH NO!..IT'S A LEAF.  A DEAD FLOWER!! OH MY GOD, A POD!! ARE THERE ALIENS INSIDE?? QUICK! RUN FOR THE RAKE, OR BETTER YET, NEVER LET ONE OF THOSE MESSY PLANTS INTO YOUR YARD AGAIN!  If you are a yard neatnik stay away from Bougainvillea, Eucalyptus, Bottle Trees, Fruit Trees, Mesquites, certain Acacias, Jacarandas to name a few.  And if you are a yard super neatnik, don't buy plants with living leaves, living flowers, living bark, living branches or living fruits, because at some point they all fall off and will most likely land on the ground (hopefully at the neighbor's!).


Ahh!  That sweetish fragrance (familiar to desert dwellers) emanating from the desert after a rain is from the Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata), that hallmark of thelow deserts.  This plant is a must have for anyone wanting a drought resistant shrub or for any native plant enthusiast worth his salt.  These wonderful plants exhibit interesting bonsai-like forms if left to their own devices, or they can be trimmed to keep compact.  Once established, they can endure lots of drought during which time the leaves become dry and yellowish.  A shot of water and they green right up.  Yellow flowers and fuzzy white fruits appear on and off throughout the year.  They require little maintenance, but yard super neatniks beware as they do drop little leaves and a fuzz or two.  Infusions and teas of Creosote leaves have many purported medicinal uses.  We have 1 gallon size plants available at the nursery now.


Rabbits are still on the rampage gobbling up everything green, especially your newly planted flowers and shrubs and lots of ours too.  If you have a rabbit problem, be prepared to protect your plants with chicken wire or plant in containers out of their reach.  We don't know of any deterrent or chemical repellant that will discourage a really hungry bunny.  Since the summer and fall have been extremely dry there is  little native vegetation as delectable as your luscious flowers and veggies.


Citrus beginning to ripen in November include pink and white Grapefruits, Melogold & Oroblanco (delicious Grapefruit x Pummelo hybrids). Washington Navels, Arizona Sweet Oranges (Hamlin & Marrs), Moro Blood Orange, Algerian (Clementine) & Fairchild Tangerines, Limequats.  Grapefruits get sweeter the longer they remain on the tree and some will last into next May.  Mexican Limes (Bartender's Limes) ripen throughout the year and actually turn yellow when fully ripe.  Bearrs Lime, the bigger kind, ripen August through January.  Taste fruit to see if ripe and remember that fruit stores best on the tree.

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Web Comments September 13, 2004 Shady Way Nursery 2004