Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

December, 2006
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Silk Floss Tree
Native to South America, Chorisia speciosa is an incredibly showy tree. Its trunk is studded with thick thorns that look like rose thorns on steroids. In fall the tree is covered with large, pink to red flowers. It grows 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide, takes full sun, and needs little water.

Tool or Gardening Product

Wall O' Waters
Heavy-duty plastic tepees help expand the tomato-growing season by protecting tender plants from frost. The gardener fills pockets on the open cylinder with water, which absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night. Planted within the tepee, the young transplant is also protected from desiccating winds. Sunlight penetrates the plastic, so these protectors do not have to be removed each morning as does frost cloth. In the low desert, tomato plants can be transplanted a month earlier (around mid-February) than the last frost date (around mid-March) to get a jump-start on fruit set before the summer heat arrives.


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