Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

October, 2004
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Harlequin Flower
Sparaxis tricolor is a fun bulb-type plant (it's actually a corm) to add to the garden. Small but vividly colored flowers resemble a variegated 'harlequin' pattern. Native to South Africa, it thrives in warm, dry climates. It grows about 8 inches tall, so plant where it won't be overshadowed.

Clever Gardening Technique

Water and Dig
Desert soil can be such compacted hardpan that digging a hole becomes a real challenge. Water the soil beforehand. Let water soak in with a slow trickle from a hose for several hours. Then allow soil to dry out for a day or two before digging. Never work with wet soil that clings to the shovel or you can damage its structure. Soil should be loose and crumbly. You may need to "water and dig" over several sessions if soil is extremely hard.


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