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Desert Gardening: Plans for 2014

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Desert gardening expert Scott Calhoun discusses his hopes, dreams, and aspirations for his garden in the new year.

raised-bed vegetable garden, winter, lettuce

By Scott Calhoun

I love gardening in the Southwest, but it is not without its challenges, and every year I like to assess and reconnoiter. For me winter is the time to take stock of what is working and what isn’t and decide what to do going forward. I made some big changes at my home garden last year, and in 2014 I’m scheming to do more.

Grow Winter Veggies
I often preach the gospel of edibles; that is, “If you use high-water-use plants, why not plant something you can eat?” My garden design business has occupied so much of my time that I gave up planting dedicated veggie beds a few years back. But in 2014 I will make time for the veggie beds to rise again! Actually they will be raised beds, in stock tanks (see photo above) filled with soil. I plan on growing mostly cool-season, easy-to-grow crops we like to eat: arugula, French lettuces, Swiss chard, and onions.

Blue pot, Queen Victoria agave

Go Crazy with Blue
In contrast to the backyard, where the veggies will grow, the front courtyard is purely ornamental, filled with perennials, grasses, lots of seating, containers, and a grill. In this space I am going to use lots of blue-color furniture, pots, and plants to make a cool-color theme for maximum summer enjoyment. As the photo illustrates, blue pots appear cool even when planted with spiny plants.

cyclamen and amaryllis bulbs, white

Plant More Bulbs in Fall
More and more I’ve come to appreciate winter-growing bulbs, and the verdant green and flash of color they give to an otherwise dormant winter garden. In the fall of 2014 I plan to incorporate more bulbs into gardens. My ideas include mixing white cyclamen bulbs with Agave species in containers (pictured), planting more freesia bulbs in the ground, and planting more dwarf iris blubs all around my rock garden.

What does 2014 have in store for your garden?

See more Desert Gardening Articles.