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Why I Garden #27

Firewheel - Gaillardia pulchella

Firewheel, a.k.a. Blanket Flower, is a short-lived perennial or flowering plant native to most of the United States including the Southwest. This example has spread from the original one we planted a few years ago. This Gaillardia has only needed occasional watering to provide summer blooms.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Gaillardia pulchella

Just in Time Rain Barrels

Rainbarrel Daisy chain

Just in Time Production is a popular manufacturing strategy with the MBA crowd. It's also a popular strategy for the procrastinators among us. At the Santa Fe Master Gardener's Fair this spring I saw a simple demonstration of how to build an inexpensive (Woo Hoo!) rainbarrel.

Why I Garden #26

Thyme in bloom

One of the first things I did after moving in to our house over 10 years ago was plant a small bed of culinary herbs by the front door. Some of these perennial herbs have thrived, while others didn't. Two thyme plants have survived in this planter and grown bigger after some of their competition was frozen two winters ago. These small and subtle herbs bloomed with small and subtle white flowers this spring.

Why I Garden #25

Sulphurflower Buckwheat in bloom

Here's another small but hardy perennial native growing in our front yard. You won't find Sulphur-flower Buckwheat in your morning pancakes (the food crop Buckwheat is another genus) but it is native to the western U.S. While it's not indigenous to New Mexico several varieties grow in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. The little plant in our front yard decided this was a good year to display it's namesake blooms.

More Info:

LED's for Nothing (almost) and Lumens for Free (not really)

AmbientLED bulb in lamp

If you live in New Mexico and are a customer of PNM - here's a deal for you. $10 off (at the register) two different Philips AmbientLED light models at New Mexico Home Depot stores. What's the catch? This discount is only available through July 31, 2012. If you buy the Philips 12-watt AmbientLED (60-watt replacement) soft-white light the price is below $5 per 'bulb' (before tax).

Why I Garden #24

Golden Columbine flowers

Golden Columbine is flowering in our yard. Columbine (species - Aquilegia) are high-altitude perennials native to the Northern Hemisphere. Golden Columbine is indigenous to the Southwestern U.S. and is growing well around our house.

More Info:

Golden Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha

Paint It White

White Rooftops Bermuda

Summer is nearly upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and for city dwellers and suburbanites (like my family) summer brings the 'Heat Island Effect'. The sub/urban Heat Island is the result of acres of black-tar roofs and dark asphalt absorbing solar energy during the day and radiating that heat out late into the night. It turns out there is a simple way to turn off the Heat Island - Paint it White.

Why I Garden #23

Jupiter's Beard in bloom

Jupiter's Beard blooming in the front yard. This perennial shrub is naturalized in the American Southwest (a native to the Mediterranean) and has grown slowly, but steadily, since we planted it.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Jupiter's Beard, Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber

Planting for the Future

Apple Blossoms

Planting a garden each spring is a wonderful start to the growing season. We can choose new annual crops based on what grew well (or didn't) last year and whatever looks interesting or unusual. Planting trees and perennial crops requires more planning. Some perennials like strawberries will bear fruit the year they're planted, but fruit trees can take two or more years to bear a crop.

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