• When to Prune Roses and Shrubs in High-Desert Landscapes

    Knowing when to prune your roses and other shrubs takes some knowledge of the plant type, cues from nature and a little guesswork. In the low desert, hard pruning usually begins in winter (January or early February) to stimulate early spring growth. A second prune in summer can lead to additional blooming. See Noelle Johnson’s post for more tips on…

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    Introduce New Plants to the Great Outdoors

    Growing food from seed is rewarding and less expensive than buying starts. It’s also a way to control the growing medium and ensure healthy plants and use of organic methods. Of course, if you prefer to buy starter vegetables or herbs, the same rules apply: Get your young plants to acclimate to wind, sun and outdoor temperatures before planting them.…

  • Passive Solar and Plants

    Passive solar design for homes relies on many of the same principles as for placing plants; likewise, landscaping can affect a home’s passive solar efficiency. We live in a passive solar home in the high desert/intermountain area of southeast New Mexico. The home is designed to maximize the warming effects of the sun in winter and the cooling effects of…

  • African Violet Photo Gallery

    Southwest plant lovers might think African violets are the last houseplant they can grow; I know I had my doubts. The stunning plants are native to regions like Tanzania, with a temperate but tropical climate. But it only takes some trial and error to grow these pretty flowering plants in dry Southwest homes.