Sun City Anthem

The Garden Wizard

Image result for garden wizard cartoon

Winter Watering Restrictions

Image result for winter watering schedule\"

Limit landscape irrigation to one assigned watering day a week in the winter  months.

Mandatory watering restrictions limit landscape irrigation to one assigned day per week from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28.

Watering restrictions also apply to drip irrigation.

Sunday is not an optional watering day.

Find your watering group on our website or check your monthly water bill for your assigned group.

If you don't comply with the watering restrictions, you could be assessed a water waste fee. 

            Group              Watering Day                                

                A                   Monday

                B                   Tuesday

                C                   Wednesday



                F                   Saturday

When daylight saving time ended on November 2nd, did you reset your irrigation clock, as well as, your indoor clocks.

                                         Sprinkler Watering Tips

Use the "cycle & soak" sprinkler irrigation method, which allows the soil to absorb water slowly and reduces the risk of runoff.

Set each sprinkler station to run:

3 times a day

1 hour apart

4 minutes each watering

Don't Water on Windy or Rainy Days

Winds can send sprinkler water in unintended directions, saturating the sidewalk more than the lawn.

Watering during rainy periods can cause soil over-saturation and wasteful runoff.

Shut off the sprinklers on windy or rainy days and save as much as 500 gallons of water a day.

To Keep Landscapes Healthy, Follow These Tips:

1. Aerate your lawn if you have grass. Aeration pulls tiny plugs from the soil, allowing water to be better absorbed.

2. Bermuda goes dormant in the winter so it doesn't need much water. Irrigate Bermuda grass just once per month November through March.

3. Avoid afternoon winds and reduce the risk of icing by watering in the mid-morning.

4Adding a protective mulch on the soil around your plants will trap moisture so you don't have to water as much.

5If frost or a freeze damages a plant, leave it alone until warmer weather arrives and new growth appears.

Pruning or transplanting a damaged plant now can hurt or even kill it.

6. Turn on sprinklers for a minute after you mow and scan for broken or misaligned sprinkler heads and broken pipes.

Drip Watering Tips

During winter, Southern Nevada Water Authority recommends running your drip irrigation system in a single cycle of 30 to 90 minutes, one day a week. The length of watering should be determined by the emitter flow rate, soil type, and weather conditions.


Las Vegas Fall Weather
The Best Time of Year to "Treat" Your Trees & Shrubs

Image result for fall and plants

It's fall, the weather will be rapidly changing, and it's the best time of the year to tend to your plants for the coming year.

Those first few days in the lower 90’s are sheer bliss. Then the nights start to cool down more and more, dropping into the 60’s before you know it. 

October and November are nothing short of glorious, with crisp, brightly-lit days and evenings just brisk enough for a sweater. 

Best of all, you get to rest well at night, smug in the knowledge that for the next few months, the national weather forecasts will predict bitter and unlivable cold for the rest of the world, while you might be sitting under a palm tree and laughing maniacally at your good fortune. 

The thing is, it’s pretty darned sweet for your plants, too. 

They may not be consciously aware of the fact that summer’s behind us and a mild winter is just around the corner, but there’s no question that the cooler temperatures are a whole lot easier on their systems. 

And that’s just part of the reason that for many plants in the low desert, getting them in the ground in October or November is actually a much better option than planting in the springtime.

There are a couple of other very good reasons that some trees and shrubs prefer being planted in the fall.

First, their roots are about to become more active anyway. 

Oftentimes, people think plants that lose their leaves in the wintertime look dead, but nothing could be further from the truth.

When they don’t need to expend energy producing leaves and flowers, deciduous trees and shrubs are putting their efforts into developing a nice, healthy root system. 

Things may look quiet up top, but there’s a lot going on below the surface. 

Getting them planted in the fall means that you’ll have a fairly well-established plant that’s ready to bush out nicely in the spring.

Second, fall planting will allow your new greenery to ease into the summer heat. 

For many evergreen plants, our mild winters don’t present much of a challenge. What can be a bit of shock to their systems, however, is our intense summer heat, even for those trees and shrubs that can take a lot of sun once they’re established. 

This means that if you’re planting in a spot that gets crazy hot in the summer months, it’s usually best to put your plants in around October, in order to allow them the chance to get settled in before shit starts to get real next June.

So...get going and make sure that next year will be healthy one the beauty that surrounds our homes.


The Difference Between Cacti and Succulents
Image result for cacti and succulents

Succulents are not cacti and vice versa. 

"Cactus" denotes a botanical family. 

"Succulent" is a looser term: A number of botanical families contain at least a few succulents. 

All cacti are considered to be succulents. That is because succulents are the overarching category; cacti are a sub-group of that category. 

This fact begs the question of why popular convention persists in using the somewhat misleading phrase "cacti and succulents," as if they were two different things altogether.

Differences Between Cacti and Succulents

Despite their close relationship, there are some important differences between cacti and succulents:

Cacti are distinguished from the rest of the succulents by the rounded indentations along their stems. 

These are modified buds called "areoles." 

From the areoles spring the spines (usually) for which cacti are best known.

Image result for areoles cactus

Cactus plants generally have few or no leaves.

A wide variety of non-cactus succulents are native to different regions across the world. By contrast, almost all kinds of cacti are native only to the New World.

A lot of people who are new to the desert (and some who have lived in it their whole lives) assume that these plants are one in the same, but the fact of the matter is that there are a number of differences between the two. 

One of the most important things you should know is that cacti can usually take considerably more sun than succulents

Many succulents actually grow in tropical climates, where the sun is much less harsh than it is in the desert, so one hot afternoon exposed to the heat of the Mojave can easily burn their soft skin. 

They also aren’t typically equipped to deal with our occasional below freezing temperatures, so you’ll want to plant them in a protected area or be prepared to throw some burlap or a blanket over them at night in the wintertime. 

Some cacti will also need protection from the cold, something that comes as a surprise to a lot of new desert gardeners.

Examples of Succulents That Are Not Cacti

Image result for Angelina stonecrop (Sedum rupestre Angelina)
Angelina Stonecrop

Image result for autumn joy stonecrop
Autumn Joy Stonecrop

Related image
Chocolate Drop Stonecrop

Image result for Purple ice plant (Delosperma cooperi)
Purple Ice Plant

Image result for hens-and-chicks (sempervivum tectorum or echeveria elegans)
Hens & Chicks

Related image
Aloe Vera

Image result for agave americana agave

Image result for moss rose portulaca grandiflora
Moss Rose

Related image
Flaming Katy

Examples of Cacti

We tend to associate cacti and succulents with warm areas such as deserts, but some types are quite cold-hardy. 

Before you plant, you should check the USDA Hardiness Zone to determine which would be appropriate.

This is the 2019 guide:
Image result for usda plant hardiness zones 2019

The hens and chicks succulent grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 11. 

Among the cacti, prickly pear has hardiness bragging rights (zones 4 to 10).

Image result for prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear grows in clumps reaching 6 to 14 inches tall, with a width of almost twice that. As it matures, it becomes more prostrate in its growth habit. It bears 2-to-3 inch yellow flowers. 

Image result for prickly pear cactus

The plant may begin blooming in either summer or late spring. The fruit from which the plant derives its name is also called a tuna (Spanish).

The flat, bluish-green vegetative parts are referred to as nopalitos or "pads." 

The pads resemble nothing more so than a bunch of spiny beaver tails stuck together. 

In fact, the Opuntia basilaris species is called the "Beavertail."

Image result for Opuntia basilaris species

Other examples of cacti include:

Image result for Crown cactus (Rebutia)
Crown Cactus

Related image
Ball Cactus

The Garden Wizard

Avoiding Bee & Wasp Stings

Recognizing Common Garden Diseases

Common garden diseases are common for a reason. These diseases are the ones that can be found in most gardens at some point or another. Knowing what these diseases are will help you to prepare to combat them, as well as identify them when they do show up.

Here is a quick list of some of the more common garden disease, what they look like, and even a method of treating them.

Powdery Mildew

Image result for powdery mildew disease

Powdery mildew is actually a type of fungus that can be found on almost all kinds of plants, such as trees, vegetables, flowers, and even fruits.

When it shows up this fungus will typically show up with, believe it or not, powdery white spots.

Since this is a fungus, using fungicide can usually treat it.

If you don't handle the problem you can easily find entire plants, or simply large sections of the plants, dying off.

Downey Mildew

Image result for Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is another fungus, this one is more often found on vine plants than other kinds.

That being said, it can still be found on most types of plants.

While this type of fungus is fairly similar to powdery mildew, it does have a different look since it will show up as a yellowish green color rather than white.

Treatment is pretty much the same.

Blossom End Rot

This particular garden disease is exceptionally common with fruits such as tomatoes.

When it appears, it generally shows up around the middle of summer and will have a reddish color.

As the disease progresses, the area that is afflicted will sink in, and eventually end up causing the fruit to fall off the vine.

The best way to deal with this problem is to add a bit of bone meal to the soil, and also applying a bit of fungicide (since the disease is a type of fungus).

Bacterial Blight

Bacterial blight is a disease that is fairly common east of the Rocky Mountains, though it can also be found west if the circumstances are right.

This particular disease commonly affects beans, and shows up as lesions or cuts that look like a burn.

If it is not treated when it first shows up, you can easily find your entire bean crop gone. This is another disease that can be easily treated with the help of fungicide.

While these may be some of the more common garden diseases, they are by no means the entire list. That list would be one that takes up a book.

One thing to keep in mind about garden diseases is that they tend to be more common in some areas than in others.

For regional help, it is always a good idea to talk to your local nursery for some advice.


Ridding Yourself of Those Ugly Weeds

Gardening has many wonderful benefits: it can be very relaxing, fun, and you have a beautiful area to look at, or a nice place to grow fruits and vegetables. 
Gardening, however, is a lot of work. 
You are basically trying to get the earth what you want to do, rather than what it wants to do naturally. 
Taming nature is always difficult, especially because of weeds. 
A weed is really just any plant that you do not want to grow there, but typically they are fast growing and ugly
Getting rid of weeds is never easy, but here are a few things that you can try.
The first thing that you need to decide is if you want something to grow where the weeds are growing. If you do not want anything to grow there, the weeds are much easier to handle. 
Commercial herbicides such as RoundUp will certainly do the trick. 
Image result for round up
Commercial organic herbicides will also work, but they usually are not quite as effective at keeping the weeds down.
Many organic herbicides are made out of vinegar, so you can try making your own by mixing vinegar in with dish soap. 

If you do not plan on growing anything in that area for a long time, use rock salt and spread it over the area. 
You can also mix salt in with water and dish soap to get the same effect, but a little easier time applying it. 
Once again, this will kill all plants in the area and leave it infertile for many years, so do not do it if you are planning to grow anything in that area.
If you want to grow things in the area with weeds, your task is much harder. 
If you are growing fruits and vegetables, your main option will probably be to remove the weeds by hand. 
This is certainly a lot of work, but you do not want to contaminate something that you are going to eat later.
If you have a flower garden, one popular solution is to lay newspapers around your flowers. 

Cover the newspapers with mulch to keep the area looking good. 

The weeds will not receive the sunlight they need to grow, but water will still soak through to your flowers. 
You probably will want to soak the newspapers before you lay them down to keep them from flying away. 
An alternative to this is to use a black plastic tarp and lay it down over the area, but poke holes for you plants to grow

The heat from the sun on the tarp should kill any weeds.
The Garden Wizard
Got Bees ?
 Bee Careful !

Image result for cartoon angry bee

Bee Safety Information

Warmer weather and increased outdoor activity boosts the possibility of people encountering bees in Southern Nevada.

Bees tend to be most active from the spring to the fall, when they are colonizing and looking to set up hives, according to the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

A swarm of bees is generally not harmful unless disturbed. They are moving from place to place to colonize new hives.

Bee hives can be dangerous and should be removed by a professional exterminator using appropriate safety gear and clothing.

If a hive is found on your private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner to hire a pest control company to exterminate the bees.

For your safety, do not try to destroy a hive yourself.

The Southern Nevada Pest Control Association keeps a list of licensed removal services and can be contacted at (702) 385-5853 or via its website at:

Bee Safety Tips

Image result for cartoon angry bee

1. If you accidentally encounter bees, do not disturb them

Remain calm and quietly move away until bees are out of sight.

2. If bees attack, run away in a straight line and take shelter inside a car or building as soon as possible.

3. If under attack, use your arms and hands or shirt to shield your face and eyes from stings.

Bees will attack the eyes, nose and mouth.

4.  Do not try to fight the bees.

They have the advantage of numbers and gift of flight.

Do not scream.

 Do not swat at bees or wave your arms.

The more you flail your arms, the madder the bees will get.

5. Do not jump into water or thick brush, which do not provide adequate protection.

If you jump into water, bees will attack you when you come up for air.

6. After an attack, bees will continue to be agitated by loud or humming noises such as barking dogs, lawnmowers, weed eaters and flashing lights.

7. If you are stung, remove the stinger by scraping it out and washing the area with soap and water and applying a cold pack to the sting site.

When a bee stings, it leaves a stinger in the skin. This kills the bee so it can’t sting again but the venom remains.

8. If someone is stung by a bee and becomes dizzy, nauseated or has difficulty breathing, an allergic reaction to the sting may be occurring.
This is a serious medical emergency and 9-1-1 should be called for immediate medical treatment.

9. If you are stung more than 10 times, you should seek medical attention as a precaution. Reaction to bee venom takes several hours, which may cause you to feel sick later.

Preventing bee sting incidents

Image result for cartoon angry bee

The best way to avoid a stinging incident is to avoid bee colonies and prevent them from establishing a hive in your yard.

Listen for buzzing indicating a nest or swarm of bees.

1. If you find a swarm or colony, leave it alone and keep your family and pets away.

Contact a professional pest control company to remove the bees.

2. Check around your house and yard every four to six months for any signs of bees taking up residence.

3. Wear light-colored clothing when you are outdoors.

Dark colors can attract bees.

4. If you are sensitive to bee stings, check with your doctor about bee sting kits and proper procedures, or if you start having a reaction to stings such as difficulty breathing call 9-1-1.

5. When you are outdoors, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for bees.

6Don't panic at the sight of a few bees foraging in the flowers.

Bees are generally very docile as they go about their work.

Unless you do something to irritate or threaten bees, they generally will not bother you.

7. When working or hiking outdoors, consider carrying a small hand kerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head and can be carried in a pocket.

People who have been attacked say the worst part is having the bees sting your face and eyes. Any impairment to your vision makes escape more difficult.

A blanket, coat, towel or similar item placed over your head can give you momentary relief as you run away as fast as possible.

Sprinkle, Plant & Kill

Image result for checklist

The warm weather will sneak up on us this year after the unusual winter we've had, and before we know it, 80 degree temperatures will quickly turn to 90s and the 100s will be here before we know it.

Some dread a long, hot summer, but it presents a challenge to keep your plants and scrubs alive and well.

Here in Henderson we are experiencing steadily warming temperatures.  No chance of a late frost.

Spring is decidedly here.

There are three landscaping activities you need to go to as the warm (hot) weather begins. 

My suggestion:
Do this NOW.  

SprinklePlant and Kill.


Image result for chelated iron fertilizer kerex

Sprinkle chelated iron onto the soil around the base of all your plants.

Not on the plantSprinkle the ground below.

Chelated iron is an orange-colored dust in a convenient shaker can.

Image result for Chelated iron

The iron is slow release. 

You won’t see an immediate “TAH DAH!!” response from your shrubs.  The iron is formulated to release slowly .

The purpose of adding iron is to help support your landscape all through the spring and summer months ahead.

This is your spring dusting.

Another dose should be applied in autumn.


Image result for tomato plant

Plant your tomatoes.

Look for a variety that will produce in 90 days or less.
 If your tomato plants go now, they should be ready to harvest in late June..

Expect only one harvest.

The weather gets too hot for a tomato plant to flourish  further into the summer.

I consistently have folks who correct me and vouch that they have home-grown ‘maters in August.

Don’t count on it, though.

Successfully planting tomato plants in the desert requires some special handling.

Select "leggy" plants.

If the plant is 8 inches tallit is perfect.

Strip all the leaves from the stem except two or three leaves at the very tip top of the plant.

Dig a deep hole and plant the roots with that long stem attached all the way down into the soil.

Just those tippy-top leaves should be exposed.

Everywhere a leaf was removedthe plant will send out a root.
That extra root system creates an awesome water and nutrient delivery system for your tomatoes.

Water your crop diligently in order to enjoy sweet, tender fruit.


Image result for cartoon killing insects

Kill destructive insects.

If the bugs are already active, shoot them with an insecticide.

Douse the leaves, the stems, and the soil.

A suggestion is to use Sevin as a pre-emergence measure.

Image result for sevin weed killer
I had Black Widows spinning their webs in the courtyard a couple years ago. 

That was disconcerting... 

And to my wife,  Creepy, too !

A dose of Sevin the next spring encouraged the "ladies" to relocate.

If you are wary of strong chemicals, then try this recipe for an eco-friendly pesticide.

In a spray bottle, mix together:

2 tbsp dish detergent
2 tbsp rubbing alcohol
Liberally spray the plants...both sides of the leaves…with the spray.

You can leave it on or wash it away with a good spray from the hose. Your choice. Reapply until the pest activity ceases.

DO NOT KILL BEES....they don't like to die...besides they  help your garden !

Image result for cartoon bee dying
Bees pollinate. They make those tomato plants you took care in planting, bear tomatoes.

 If you locate a hive in your yard, call a bee removal company.

These companies are listed in the yellow pages between Bedspreads and Beer Dispensing.

Enjoy this glorious time of year.

Check out those sunsets.
Look up...and...Smile.
    The Garden Wizard


6 Steps to Healthy Roses

Image result for healthy roses

With Spring not far away, it's time to start thinking about those roses that decorate much of our neighborhood landscaping.

Spring normally comes early here in the Southwest, so it makes sense to do a bit of work to make sure those beautiful " Acts of God" stay that way.

Keep these tips handy !


Image result for fertilize roses

Fertilizing is really so simple but does so much:


Roses will reach their full size

Roses will produce more flowers

Plants will stay healthy

Plants will resist attacks from disease and pests

You should fertilize new plants about 4 weeks after planting.

Feed older roses in spring when new growth is 6inches in length.

Species roses, old roses and climbers need fertilizing in early spring as buds prepare to open. They will benefit from a second feeding after the first bloom.


Image result for watering roses

From early spring to fall water 1 to 2 inches per week all at one time.
Increase your watering to every 4-5 days in very hot and dry conditions.
Soak soil to 16 inches in depth.


Related image

Weed when weeds are small, this is so much easier plus they won’t have a chance to go to seed.

Mulch your roses to reduce weeds and retain moisture.

Do not mulch more than 2-4 inches deep.

Do not mound mulch around the base of your roses during the growing season. This encourages disease and pests.


Image result for pruning roses

Roses love care and attention. Keeping roses clean helps them to resist disease and insects.

After blooming remove spent flowers (deadhead) so plants will concentrate on making more blooms instead of seed.

Removing spent flowers also produces the second set of blooms faster and plants have stronger stems. 

Cut blooms back to the closest 5 leaflets where the stem is thicker (about thickness of a pencil).

Remove twiggy growth to improve air circulation and prevent fungal disease.

Cut all weak growth back to the main stem.

Remove dead litter and leaves from the beds.

5Protect from Pests & Disease

Image result for rose bugs

Use organic methods and products.

Select healthy strong varieties for this specific area.

Ensure at least 6 hours of sun daily, more is better.

Do not over crowd when planting.

Be observant while tending to your roses so you catch problems early before they get carried away.

6. Protect in Winter

Image result for rose cone

Use hardy roses.  Check your landscaper or local nursery for advise.

Use a rose cone to mound dirt or mulch around base, remove in spring and work back into the soil.

Climbers can be untied from support, tied together and wrapped in burlap.

Here's a summary.

Image result for weeding roses

The Garden Wizard

Cacti Should get No Water
 November through March

Image result for cacti

Have you been watering your cactus plants this winter?

If so...

That’s right, you can go for five months without watering this plant.

There are a couple of reasons for letting cacti go dry during the winter months in Vegas and other mild winter areas. 

Since a lot of them basically shut down during the colder seasons and take up very little or no water, if you keep putting water on their roots, you’re setting them up for rot

If, on the other hand, we have a mild winter and a plant remains active, taking water up, its skin becomes plump with moisture. 

Then, when we have our inevitable hard freeze in January or February, that internal water freezes and expands, often splitting the skin and damaging the plant beyond repair.

The Garden Wizard


Tea Anyone? 

How to Grow Your Own !

Have you ever wondered where tea comes from, and if you would be able to grow some tea at home?
Believe it or not tea can be grown at home, just like any other plant. All that is really required is to learn a little bit about the basics before you begin.
Here are a few simple guidelines that are designed to help you begin growing tea at home.
1Select the plants
Probably the single biggest challenge to growing tea at home is choosing the tea to grow.
Tea comes from a surprisingly large number of sources. Some great examples that you can use to grow your own tea would be plants such as peppermintlavender, lemon verbena, and marjoram.

Mint plants

Lavender plant

Lemon Verbena plant

Image result for Marjoram

All of these are fairly hearty plants which can grow in just about all growing zones.
If you want to grow other kinds of plants for tea, then be sure that you know the proper growing zones and their care before planting them.
2Start the plants indoors
When ever you begin growing some plants for tea, you should always start growing them indoors. This will allow you to take better care of them, while also giving them a greater chance at success.
If you will be transferring the plants outside, be sure that you begin the plants a minimum of six weeks prior to their ideal growing season.
This will allow the plant to get a really great start at life before having to face the harsh outdoors environment.
3Select the location
Whether you are growing your plants indoors or out, you will need to take some time to select the proper location.
Most plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight, so be sure to choose an area that will give that amount of sunlight.
In addition to this, you should also choose an area that will protect the plant to some extent. For example, if you growing the plants indoors, choose an area that will keep the plant out of direct traffic, but not some place which will allow you to forget about the plant.
4Maintain the plants
Once you have started the plant and placed it in its correct location, you will need to maintain it.
This means checking to ensure that weeds, bugs, illness, or some other problem isn't damaging the plant.
You should also be sure that you are feeding the plant properly, as well as watering it regularly.
This also applies if you are growing the plant indoors as well as outdoors.
If you still want to use traditional tea bags...don't throw them away !
The Garden Wizard
Bugs Eating Your Plants?
Make Your Own Insecticide 

Image result for cartoon insects eating plants

Insects are extremely difficult to deal with, since they are small and tenacious, and many love to eat your plants. It is extremely difficult to get rid of insects without using insecticides, but many insecticides can be hazardous to your plants' health or your own. 
Depending on the types of insects you are dealing with, there are various ways to get rid of them. 
One more way is found here. It is a natural, homemade insecticide that can kill insects but is not as harmful as using most manufactured insecticides.
If you want to make your own natural insecticide for both house and garden, all you need is two tablespoons of liquid soap and one quart of water
Just mix the little bit of soap with the water. 
You can try to sprinkle the mixture on the plants directly, but it will probably be easier to put the mixture in a spray bottle. 
If you use the spray bottle, you should be sure to spray the plants evenly. 
If you see any bugs, aim directly at the pests to get the best results.
Liquid soap with water should work well, but if you want to use something a little stronger, look to these great solutions
For this natural-based alternative, all you will need is a couple of ingredients you can get at any grocery store. 
The list of ingredients are as follows:
1 bulb of garlic
1 small onion
1 tablespoon cayenne (red) pepper
2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water
All you need to do to make this environmentally friendly insecticide is first, finely chop the onion and the garlic, and then mix them with the tap water. 
Add the cayenne pepper and, after letting the mixture sit for one hour, mix in the soap. 
Finally, mix well.
When the foam subsides, strain the mixture into your spray bottle. 
You can store the mixture for one to two weeks if you keep it refrigerated.
The Garden Wizard
Ideas for Low Maintenance Home Plants

It seems like no matter what some people do, they always end up killing their houseplants. 

That is until some plants can be found that are willing to be very forgiving to those who don't exactly have a green thumb. 
The following are those that seem to be the lowest maintenance houseplants around; in fact, some of these plants even act as if they thrive off of the lack of general care knowledge that many plants need.

This wonderful plant can actually live at temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods of time. 
It will shed off old blooms naturally, so there is little need for picking or trimming. 
This particular type of houseplant is also very forgiving in low water situations. T
hat being said, you still need to make sure that the soil remains as damp as possible to ensure that it does the best it can.
New Guinea Impatiens

This particular type of impatiens is a very versatile plant. For example, this plant will continue to grow even if it only receives four to six hours of sun. 
This means that it will grow on any side of the house, or even inside the home. 
Pretty much as long as the plant is within spitting distance of a window it will be getting enough light to grow well.

Probably one of the best possible flowers that you can have around the home, inside or out. This beautiful plant comes in dozens of different colors that are really easy to maintain.
 When the colorful blooms begin to fade, all you need to do is snip off the fading blooms, which will then encourage the remaining flowers to bloom more.

This is one of those wonderful drought resistant plants that has a wonderful green look with delicate looking blossoms. 
Euphorbia requires very little care, and is another plant that can shed its own blossoms itself. 
Another of the major benefits that this plant provides is that if you happen to have this plant outside it will be left alone by animals. 
Sweet Potato Vine

Image result for sweet potato vine

One of the wonderful things about this plant is that it can be planted in anything from partial shade to full sun. 
 This means that you will have a wide variety of places in which you can place this wonderful ornamental plant. 
Another of the benefits of this easy to care for plant is that it comes in a wide variety of dramatic colors such as lime green, deep purple, and bronze. 

This plant also grows quickly and will cascade beautifully over the edges of any pots that you plant it in. 

Unlike most vines though, it will not grow along trellises or walls, and will continue to thrive even if the temperature stays above 86 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods of time.
The Garden Wizard
Shrubs & Security Go Hand in Hand

Shrubs can make a great decoration for your lawn, since they can add color and shape to something that is naturally flat and all one color of grassy green.

Although shrubs are generally a great item from a decoration point of viewthey should not be grown everywhere.
One very important thing that you need to consider while you are taking care of this foliage is the home security of using shrubs.
Many people in the world today love their privacy. We go to great measures to insure that no one can see into our house, and sometimes even into our yard.
Unfortunately, these measures can sometimes allow burglars to have easy access to our homes.
Make sure that your shrubs do not create an easy hiding place for burglarsand you should also not have your shrubs covering up windows, since that makes an easy entrance for someone who wants to rob your home.
Another security issue you should consider with your shrubs is if they are blocking exterior lighting.
While good lighting does not guarantee that no one will break into your house, it does act as a deterrent, since your neighbors can easily see what is happening in your yard.
If your shrubs are covering up the lights, then burglars have a great place to sneak through.
Finally, there is one thing that shrubs can do to help your home security.
If you are trying to decide what kind of shrubs to plant, consider thorny shrubs.
Thick, thorny rose bushes act as a great deterrent for sneaking through, and using these bushes on your side could help keep at least part of your house safe.
Pruning Desert Shrubs in Southern Nevada-Type Climates

Image result for cartoon woman pruning a bush

Pruning is an important part of landscape maintenance. Pruning may be straightforward and quite simple.

However, poor or incorrect pruning will often lead to serious problems, including premature death of the plant.


Maintain height and width 

Rejuvenate old shrubs

To Remove Damage from cold, heat, and unwanted sprouts.

To provide clearance for vehicles, pedestrians, and windows. 

To promote new growth and better health, better flowering, and less yard waste.

To improve landscaping aesthetics.


Pruning Desert Shrubs

Pruning shrubs begins long before the clippers are taken out.

It is important to choose the correct plant for the right place.

Never plant a shrub, cactus or ornamental grass that reaches heights above what is desired at mature height.

For example, if a 3-foot shrub is needed in front of a
window, don’t plant one that reaches a height of 15 or 20 feet.

If done on a regular basis, most desert plants only take a few minutes to prune.

Poor pruning of shrubs can cause many problems in the landscape.

Long-term pruning into balls and squares produces plants with very little green or live leaves on the outer extremities,  while the interior consists mostly of dead leaves and twigs.

When shrubs are incorrectly pruned into balls and squares, live growth is left on the outer edges, and a barren interior is created.

This form of pruning also causes problems when drastic size reduction must be done.

It exposes the old woody interior, and in some cases the shrub does not rejuvenate.

It may take some time for this stark barren interior to be covered with new growth.

Over pruning also creates unnecessary yard waste.

New growth sprouts where the plant was cut. 

If a shrub is cut at the same spot over and over again, a live exterior and leafless interior will result.

Correct pruning in a more natural manner is done by reaching into the plant’s interior and pruning off the longest branches to bring the overall plant down to the desired height.

New sprouts will form where the cuts are made.

Pruning into balls and squares can also cause poor plant health.

Leaves produce food for the plant through the process of photosynthesis.

The fewer leaves a plant has, the more it struggles to produce enough food to remain healthy.

This type of pruning also eliminates flower buds.

Many shrubs are planted for their beautiful flowers.

Frequent shearing of shrubs in geometricshapes removes the majority of the potential flowers.

Pruning shrubs into their natural, open shapes not only promotes health, but also produces a better display of flowers.

This is especially true for some desert shrubs such as Leucophyllum (Texas ranger), which has a tendency to spontaneously burst into bloom during rain or high humidity.

Image result for texas ranger plant

Constantly pruning tips of the branches removes most of the leaves and many of the flower buds.

When the correct plants are chosen and planted the proper distance apart, less pruning is required and plants can grow more naturally.

Many times, landscapers will plant closer than is necessary, not taking into account the plant’s mature size.

These shrubs are planted too close.

They will fill in quickly, but will need to be pruned often.

As they grow, half or more will need to be removed to make room.

This is done for many reasons. 

More plants can be put, in which raises the price of the job, or an established look can be obtained more quickly.

If shrubs reach a mature width of 3 feet, they should be planted 1 ½ to 2 feet apart.
Many times plants that reach a mature width of 4 to 6 feet are planted 18 inches apart.

This may sell more plants and quickly give the impression of an established landscape, but over the

long term, it becomes a pruning nightmare. In the end, the solution is to remove a portion of the plant material or redo the entire landscape.

Mulch with organic material and plant annuals until the
shrubs fill in.

Open and natural pruning can take on a semi-formal effect as well as the more natural untamed look.

This Texas ranger produces more flowers than over pruned shrubs because it is pruned open, allowing more green leaves and flower buds to grow.

When the correct plants are chosen, pruning can be kept to a minimum.

These are three-year-old dwarf “Little Ollie” olive shrubs that have never been pruned , and fit nicely into their space.

The rosemary makes a beautiful single foundation plant over 10 feet wide.

It has never been pruned and has been growing in this bed for eight years.
Retrofitting of Old Plantings

This Texas ranger was hedged in a small planting bed for many years.

The solution chosen was to shear it back in width and height, exposing the dead interior.

This is the same hedge one year later. It's back to its original size, taking up too much room in the small planting bed.

On close examination, one would see that this shrub was trying to tell the gardener that it would resprout from its trunk.

The best solution for this plant would have been to prune it to the ground, leaving stumps only a few inches tall.

Many gardeners are afraid to prune plants back so severely.

Not all plants will resprout in the manner of this Texas

If in doubt, try pruning one inconspicuously planted shrub in the landscape and see if it resprouts.  You have nothing to lose.

A shrub pruned to the ground will regrow faster than a newly planted shrub from a container because it already has an established root system, which facilitates faster growth.

Landscape plants such as Lantana should be pruned back to the ground once a year.

This should be done after all danger from frost has past, or the new growth may be killed.

These Lantana are pruned to the ground every year in the first part of March, after all danger of frost is past.

By June, they have almost covered the bed and are blooming.

By August, they are their original size, in full bloom, and have required no pruning during the growing season.

Larger-growing plants, such as this Cordia (Figures 24, 25 and 26), can grow too large for their planting space, so can be cut to the ground every two years.

This Cordia hedge is cut to the ground every two to three years.

Once or twice a year, it receives some selective maintenance pruning.

Choose plants so their natural beauty can be achieved with as little pruning as possible.

The cascading rosemary provides natural beauty with little or no pruning.

 Related image

When shrubs are sheared into formal shapes, such as balls and squares, they develop an old woody center with dead leaves and twigs.

Such an interior is a potential fire hazard.

When exposedto fire, it can combust easily, damaging plants in the landscape and possibly nearby buildings.

The interior of this rosemary hedge was full of dead leaves and twigs, unseen before it caught on fire.

The fire burned hot enough to kill other nearby plants.


When creating a landscape, select shrubs that will fit the site when planted for years to come.

This limits the amount of pruning that will ultimately be necessary.
Avoid over watering or over fertilizing.

When pruning is unavoidable, use techniques that will maintain plant health.

Incorrect and over pruning makes more work for the gardener, produces unhealthy plants, fills our landfills, and costs more to maintain.
Now...enjoy those beautiful plants ! 

The Garden Wizard

Correctly Pruning Branches & Bushes


When pruning bushes, remember what some arborists call the “4 Ds.”

Start with the dead and damaged branches, because they make the plant look bad, and encourage rot and disease.

Also, cut out wilted, dried or diseased branches as soon as you spot them, to remove disease before it spreads.

Deranged” includes a broad range of branches that cross (the rubbing wears away the bark), loop down to the ground or simply look out of character with the bush (stick out at an odd angle or grow alongside the trunk).

This pruning also thins out the bush, opening its interior to more light and air, which encourages fuller, healthier growth.

Here are some tips on pruning. 

1. Always prune just above a node, the place where a leaf joins a stem.

The node is where dormant buds are located. 

These will grow out into new stems.

If you prune just below a node or in between two nodes, you leave a stub.

Never leave a stub

The section of stem between two nodes, the internode, cannot grow new stems.

All it can do is sit there, become infected, and rot.

A stub is an open invitation to diseases that can kill your plant.

2Prune to nodes with buds that face away from the center of the plant, and in the direction you want them to grow.

New branches that grow from these buds will grow in the direction the bud is pointing.

If you prune properly new growth develops away from the center of the plant, leaving the center open to air and light. This helps to avoid diseases and pests.

3Never cut a branch off flush with the trunk or stem.

The place where a branch joins the main trunk or larger branch is usually slightly swollen and is called a collar.

The collar is special tissue that can quickly grow over and seal the wound when you prune off the branch.

Always protect the collar.

4If you cut any plant for any reason, sterilize your tools before you use them on another plant.

The Garden Wizard


Roses...Care for Them 
They'll be Back Each Year




Plant bare root roses this month, but no later than mid February.

Plant container roses anytime except during the heat of summer.

Strip off old leaves from canes prior to pruning to force the bush into dormancy.

Prune roses before they leaf out.

Remove debris from the area and spray with a
dormant oil mixed with a pesticide to control
over wintering pests on bushes and soil.


In mid-February, fertilize roses with a balanced fertilizer.

Add a cup of sulfur, 1/4 cup of magnesium sulfate (Epson salts) and one-half cup of super phosphate to each established rose to stimulate new cane growth and improve bloom quality.

Always water bushes thoroughly before and after fertilizing.

Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to the rose bed after applying the fertilizer.


 Continue to fertilize roses monthly with a balanced rose fertilizer.

Apply iron chelates as needed to correct iron deficiency.

For higher quality blooms, foliar feed with a soluble
fertilizer in early April.

For larger blooms, remove secondary buds below the lead bud on hybrid teas.

For a more uniform bouquet of flowers, on florabunda remove the large center blooms.

Water early in the morning to minimize mildew. If possible, avoid wetting the foliage - use drip or soaker irrigation.

Use a recommended fungicide if the mildew becomes a problem.

Control aphids and thrips with a recommended insecticide.

The big rose display occurs from mid-April through May.

For fresh roses, cut back to where a cane is strong
enough (thickness of a pencil) to support a new

Cut just above an outside leaf (five leaflets.)


Fertilize roses at one half the normal rate.

Yellow leaves indicate iron deficiency - treat with iron chelates.

In June, apply one fourth cup of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt.)

Apply one cup again at the end of August.

Water deeply once a week or more often if necessary.

Remove faded roses after bloom.

Apply three to four inches of mulch to the rose beds and sprinkle a light application of nitrogen over the covering to hasten decomposition.

Roses produced during the summer are usually half the size of spring and fall roses.

Treat powdery mildew and insect-infested roses with the proper sprays.

Beginning in late August, remove all weak and undesirable canes to the crown or base of the rose.

Reduce the bush’s top growth by one third to stimulate the fall flush of growth.


Return to normal amounts of fertilizer.

Also include one cup soil sulfur and one-half cup
superphosphate per plant.

For higher quality blooms, apply a soluble fertilizer to the foliage every two weeks until buds show color.

Spray to control any insects and diseases.


With cooler weather and shorter days, lengthen the intervals between irrigations, but do not let the
root zone dry out.

Fertilize with a balanced rose fertilizer and one cup of sulfur to spur on blooms before Columbus Day.

The fall bloom cycle begins at the end of the month and continues into December.

Foliar fertilize until buds show color.

Disbud hybrid teas leaving the terminal buds for higher quality blooms.

Remove suckers that rise below the bud union or graft near the soil line.

Cut off spent blooms to stimulate flowering.


 Irrigate every two weeks if needed.

This is an excellent time to prepare new rose beds.

Evaluate the roses and discard those that did not perform well to make room for newer varieties.

Have the soil tested if there is a suspected problem or roses have performed poorly.



Keeping Your Potted Plants Alive in Winter

Potted plants are a wonderful way to help decorate both the interior and exterior of the home; however, if you have any potted plants then you know just how vulnerable they are to cold weather, and just what kind of damage they can experience.
Protecting potted plants from cold weather isn't all that difficult as long as you are willing to not only keep a few things in mind, but also put forth a little bit of effort.
Here as some helpful ideas.
1Cover them up
At the first hint of cold weather, usually accompanied by a frost advisory, cover up your potted plants.
For smaller potted plants this is a really simple craft project. Simply cut off the top of a plastic two liter bottle, take off the cap, and place it over the plants. In effect, this will turn the small potted plants into a terrarium.
For larger potted plants, such as small shrubs, you can simply wrap some blankets, flannel, or even burlap around the pots. This will help protect the roots from the cold and keep things a little warmer.
 2Bring them inside
Bringing potted plants inside is one of the simplest ways of protecting potted plants from cold weather. This method usually will require a little bit of effort on your part though. The reason for this is that you will want to place something down on the floors, counters, or tables that you are going to store the plants.

Remember that these pots can be a become a bit dirty and grimy if they are stored outside for a majority of the year.
3. Mulch can be a huge help
There are some potted plants that are simply too big to be able to move easily, and that means that you will not be able to move them indoors.
For cases like this you will want to apply some mulching over the top of the soil in the pots.
In addition, you can also apply a few burlap sacks, blankets, or other types of fabric around the pots to help keep them warm.
If you have the funds available, you can also purchase some heating elements from your local department store or nursery that you can use to help keep the soil warm.

The Garden Wizard

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is the time for "enriching" some of your landscaping...

Spring Landscape Tips

Spring Landscape Tips

Plant water-efficient perennials that will provide explosions of color in the spring.

If you haven't already done so, NOW IS THE TIME to consider planting water-efficient perennials that will provide explosions of early spring color.
During March and April, landscape irrigation is limited to three assigned days per week.

Sunday is not an optional watering day.

Make sure you know your watering group.

Don't forget to set your irrigation clock ahead an hour now that daylight saving time began on the second Sunday in March.

This also is a great time to check your clock's batteries.

Check Your System

  1. Inspect filter screens for damageClean the filter screens by opening the end of the filter and running water through briefly. Soak the screens in a 50/50 water and vinegar solution if there is mineral buildup.
  2. Flush the irrigation lines. Find the end cap and briefly run the system to flush out debris.
  3. Check valve boxes for debris buildup or muddy conditions indicating poor drainage.

Selecting Plants for Spring

Spring is a fine time to explore what plants work best in your yard.

First, assess the function of the area(s) you plan to plant.

Are they used for recreation, shade, border or entry areas or purely for decoration?

How much sun, shade and wind do these areas receive?

Keep in mind the size your new plants will grow to when mature to avoid placing them too close together.

Also, group plants with similar water needs together in your design to make your water use more efficient and effective for plant health.

Use the Southern Nevada Water Association Plant Search tool to help you find the perfect plants for your yard and create a list of plants you can take to the local nursery on your next visit.

Choose Desert-Hearty Plants

Select plants that do well in our desert climate.

Although nurseries offer a wide variety of plants, you'll have the greatest long-term success by focusing on hardy, low-water-use plants.

Find a wide variety of low maintenance and native plants using the SNWA Plant Search.

Some Recommendations

Try some of these shrubs, trees and plants:

Valentine Bush

Masses of tubular red flowers begin blooming in early February and continue into March.

They like full sun.

This shrub's bright yellow blooms appear from January through March and sporadically the rest of the year.


 A good companion plant for the cassia, rosemary blooms during the same periods.

Spanish Lavender

 Expect blue spikes of color in spring and fall.

Autumn Sage

Don't let the name fool you. This hummingbird favorite blooms all year, but most profusely from October through April. 

Sweet Acacia

Puffy yellowish-orange flowers perfume the air from February through April.

Palo Verde

Count on a shower of golden-yellow blooms beginning in March.

Desert Willow

Native to local washes, this tree is beloved by hummingbirds and bees and produces clusters of fragrant orchid-like blossoms, ranging from white to deep purple.

Texas Mountain Laurel

This tree's large purple clusters of wisteria-like flowers looks as good as they smell.

Chaste Tree

 Long, narrow spikes of purple flowers cover this shrub-like tree in early summer.


When buying a container-grown tree, look for a firm, straight trunk, good symmetry of branches and foliage free of browning or disease.

Check the roots: the soil mix should stay in contact with the roots.

Never buy a container-grown tree with tightly congested roots or one with thick roots poking through the drainage holes.

Plenty of small, fine-white, moist roots that are evenly spread out suggest a healthy tree.

The Garden Wizard

1 comment:

  1. Wow beautiful and creative blog it is. This Fall Watering Restrictions blog give many informative ideas.
    Rail Inspection Systems