Changing Garden

♪♪ COLLEEN: It’s a
great time of year to evaluate your
landscape at home. How has it aged? Is it time for a refresh? Take a hard look and ask
yourself, and your plants, some rather difficult questions. It’s difficult to
judge plants and say, “Well, you’re too old,”
or, “You’re too mature. “You’re too rangy
and leggy,” or, “You’re not attractive enough
to be in this garden anymore,” but that’s really
what you have to do. So you have to pick
and choose the plants that still look great and still are kind of
filling whatever design role is necessary for that site. So yeah, cleaning out
stuff that’s not doing well and then putting in things
that are gonna compliment the mature specimens
that are already here. COLLEEN: Sometimes the solution may not involve drastic changes, but rather a little trim
here and a new plant there. Or if you have some
heartier woody plants, like shrubs that are
approaching their teen years, it might be time for a
rejuvenation pruning, where you cut the plant almost
all the way to the ground. Be sure you do your research before you start cutting, but you can cut
shrubs to the ground and then they’ll regrow
often in a much tighter form and they’ll regrow more
quickly because they have a large established root
system to pull from, and that’s a good way to kind
of freshen up the landscape without having to spend a lot
of money or buy new plants. COLLEEN: As you evaluate
your garden changes, know it’s okay to experience
some growing pains. Our garden is now
13 years young, and we love every mature plot, but our needs have evolved
and electrical lines are now needed in this space, so our garden will
soon be undergoing a bit of an upgrade
and makeover. FRITZ: We’re calling it
the Electrical Expansion and what it’s meant
to do is bring power to parts of the garden that
currently don’t have any, so that when we have
an event that’s out on the backside of our property, like Haunted
Harvest for example, we have to run big power
cables all the way to it. COLLEEN: We’ll use
this dirt moving as an opportunity
to consider our best and not so great
plant performers and perhaps introduce new
species to our collection. FRITZ: We are planning to
add and kind of spruce up all of the beds in the area
we call Cactus Alley, which the Electrical Expansion
will be going right along one of the main pathways
through there. And it’s just a chance to add plants to the
beds or remove things that are kind of
underperforming or half dead, and just really
taking a hard look at our desert plant collections and trying to bring in
stuff that we don’t have for our Mojave collection, and also kind of pick out
some of the showier things or things that I’m
excited about for, that are representative of
some of the other deserts. COLLEEN: And when
all is said and done, you can count on a garden
experience you’ve grown to expect from us. FRITZ: You’ll still
be able to have a very similar
visitor experience, just to kind of be immersed in the plant world,
surrounded by greenery. You’re able to look
at these exotic forms that you don’t see
everywhere else, and we’ll do our
best to make sure that when the
contractors are all done, that the garden looks better
than it did when they got here. COLLEEN: We’re going
to keep as many areas of the garden open as possible, but even while
construction is underway, we’ve still got plenty
of garden inspiration for guests to enjoy. From food-producing plants and historically-themed
plantings out at Boomtown, to a journey around the globe in our Deserts of
the World garden. Guests can also use
this opportunity to explore our natural
area, trail system, and beautiful cienega,
where you’ll see the best of our desert
landscape on display and even some native
wildlife scurrying around. If you venture out
to Cottonwood Grove, you may even catch a glimpse of two of Fritz’s
favorite native plants. There’s one of my favorites
is a perennial gourd, called the buffalo gourd, which is also called
the stinking gourd. So if you rub its leaves, it’s kind of a
unique combination of maybe onions and body odor, if you’re into
that kind of thing. And then it makes a
fruit with edible seeds. Basically like a
baseball-sized gourd, that if you let it dry, it kind of turns into
a natural rattle. And they’re pretty charming. And there’s another gourd out
there called the coyote gourd, a second perennial gourd. And the way these things
survive the desert, it’s pretty interesting,
they have a massive, relatively massive underground
tuber that stores water and nutrients for
the lean times, and so that’s how
they stay green or bluish-green
during the hot season. COLLEEN: We’re always here to share our favorite
gardening tips and tricks and answer your questions. Our gardening staff and our
signage throughout property is here to guide
you along the way. FRITZ: We’re here to answer
your gardening questions, and we’re here to
provide an example of what you might be able
to do in your own yard. We’ll still offer tours of
the open parts of the garden, and there’s all sorts
of classes and workshops that you can find out
about on our website. Meaning you can take a look
at some of our signage, write down the name,
and look it up online and see if you think
it’s a good fit for you. You’ll be able to find
out how big it gets and so what its needs are, too. Not only the possibility for changing the plants
out in your garden, but seasonal changes, the way
the foliage changes color. The way you walk into
the garden one day and then the next day, all of a sudden one plant
is completely in full bloom and it changes the whole
look of the garden. COLLEEN: One thing
is for certain. Change brings about
substantial growth. FRITZ: Gardens are
incredibly dynamic. It’s kind of a reflection
of life itself. Things are always
changing and it’s, if you’re ready or
willing to accept change, then things are a
lot easier for you. Holding onto the past is
kind of counterproductive, and it’s an opportunity for
everyone to see new plants.

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