The Q&A Archives: Desert Gardening

Question: Hello! I have recently moved to the desert (Joshua Tree, CA) and would love to start a garden. I am originally from PA and have no experience in how to plant a successful, beautiful desert garden. Can you help?

Answer: Joshua Tree is considered a subtropical desert area where winters are short and mild, and summers are quite hot. In these areas the gardening year begins in September and October for most vegetable crops and annual flowers. Plants grow slowly during the winter months and then pick up speed in February, peaking in March and April before the summer heat arrives. For year around color in the landscape, include ornamental grasses, bougainvilleas, date palms, yuccas, and poppies. For even more ideas, take a walk (or drive) around your new neighborhood and see which plants appeal to you. Then visit some local nurseries and gather additional ideas. Once you know what thrives in your region you'll be able to pick out your favorites and plant them in your new landscape. Best wishes with your new garden!

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