Xeriscapes

Photo Essay: Awaiting Monsoon Rains

News Flash: It’s hot and dry here in Tucson, Arizona. We’re eagerly anticipating the start of the monsoon rains. In the meantime, my container garden appears to be holding up… I give the container garden at least one watering a day. The cactii? Well, they could use a drink… What happens to sagging cactus branches?…

Event Photography: Homescape Tour 2012

Nothing like a sunny fall day for admiring low-water use landscaping in Tucson. This past Saturday’s Homescape Tour attracted more than 100 people to 13 private residences and one public elementary school. The tour was organized by Tucson’s Watershed Management Group (WMG). Although I wasn’t able to participate in last year’s inaugural event, I added…

Photo Essay: Rainfall 911

It’s been almost a month since we’ve had a proper rainstorm, and I’m starting to feel nostalgic. The last precipitation of note happened on September 11. With predictable effects on flags… After I took my flag back into the house — and hung it up to dry — it was back outside to observe the…

Photo Essay: Mesquite Bean Harvest

As mentioned in previous posts, I have a nice big mesquite tree in my front yard. It’s in the Transition Zone of my xeriscape, and it has become one of my very best friends. When I look at this tree, I say “Feed me!” Here’s why… During June and July, Tucson’s mesquite trees are quite…

Photo Essay: Greywater Harvesting on the Cheap

Funny thing about those plants in the yard. Although a lot of them are native species of the low water using variety, they still get thirsty. They get especially thirsty at this time of the year, when daytime temperatures are in the triple digits and rain is scarce. A popular solution to the thirsty plants…

Photo Essay: Slacker Mesquite Tree

Welcome to my place, home of the slacker mesquite tree. This tree has the dubious distinction of being the last one on the block to bloom. But when it comes to dropping leaves all over the place, my mesquite is a champ. I truly adore having to sweep the porch, over and over again… Then…

Photo Essay: Mulching the Yard

Xeriscaping update:¬† It only took 3 hours and 40 minutes to get the better part of that big pile of mulch into the front yard and spread around. Amidst all the mulching, I also had to remove a pile of cut up mesquite branches from the yard’s main water harvesting basin. Those branches were left…

Photo Essay: Free Yard Mulch

In the life of a xeriscaper, there are fewer questions sweeter than “Would you like some free mulch?” Why the affection for ground up tree trunks, branches, and leaves? Because mulch holds moisture in the soil. It also builds the soil and controls weeds. In the arid Southwestern United States, we like such things. A…

Event Photography: Watershed Management Group Earth Month

Throughout this month, Tucson’s Watershed Management Group has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. WMG’s Earth Month celebration included a block party, street painting, a bike tour of water harvesting sites, and several workshops. The last two Earth Month workshops were held in my neighborhood. A nearby neighbor had a culvert cistern installed,…

Construction Photography: Tear Down the Wall

My front yard was graced (if you want to call¬† it that) by a crumbling brick retaining wall. The wall had no seep holes, which meant that it was gradually being weakened by moisture. Time to tear down the wall. I wanted replace the old wall with something more attractive. Since I’m a member of…

Nature Photography: Prickly Pear and Mesquite

When I bought this property in November 2004, it had no landscaping. There was crushed rock in the front yard and a formidable infestation of Bermuda grass in the back yard. I’ve done most of the landscaping work myself. This includes the landscape design, planting, weeding, and other maintenance tasks. To learn how to do…

Nature Photography: Greening Up for Summer

Tucson’s summer monsoon season is in full swing. This is rendering swamp coolers ineffective and that’s bad news for some of us. (I have a swamp cooler.) However, the plants are welcoming the rain the only way they know how. They’re getting very green. And the cactii are plump again. Here’s how the plant life…

Construction Photography: Yard Makeover

This past Saturday, the Watershed Management Group helped me get my yard into better shape. Permit me to explain… After I moved in here, I set about the task of planting a xeriscape so I wouldn’t spend a fortune on water bills. In addition to planting low-water use plants, I tried to contour the property…

Nature Photography: Xeriscapes and a Prickly Pear Cactus Sunrise

Good landscape planning and design is one of those things that a lot of us talk about, and some of us even do it. But, here’s Martha from Reality-ville: I didn’t plan the design of my yard. I just made it up as I went along. And my forary into water harvesting was motivated more…

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