Southwest Gardening forum: New Hoop House - May I pick your brain?

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Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
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GinaY86441
Jul 23, 2017 7:12 PM CST
Hi SW Friends!

Boy, it's been a very long time since being here. I can't even remember. So, this past Spring we constructed a PVC hoop house. We finished right when those extreme AZ temps came around in June. Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike shoveling rock?

Anyway, this is my first shade, hoop house and although it's doing a great job keeping the summer sun and ravenous rodents at bay, I'm wondering if the 40% shade cloth will be okay year round. I'm hoping to use the house for veggies, Spring bulbs, and young trees.

Has anyone utilized a shade structure year round in the Southwest? I'm planning on a plastic tarp for our chilly winter nights, but I'm not sure if the shade will be detrimental come Spring when I want the sunshine. Anyone have any advise for me?

Also, any recommendations for online spring bulb nurseries? I won't buy Gurney's anymore. Spring Hill? Brecks? Is there a store here?

Thanks, friends. Hope all is well with each of you.

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Jul 25, 2017 12:34 PM CST
Hi Gina, welcome back. I just returned from a long absence recently and it's good to hear voices from the past joining in...

I buy my bulbs from Van Engelen / Scheepers and cannot remember having a single problem in twenty years. The two companies have common ownership and they sell the same bulbs. Their catalogues arrive together. Scheepers has a beautiful catalogue, small lot sizes, higher prices. VE is the wholesale branch: large lot sizes, no photos, low prices. I look at the Scheepers catalogue and buy from the Van Engelen site.

I have also bought from Van Bourgondien. Here the quality is spotty. I cannot recommend any of their non-bulb offerings. Thinking of their dahlias and cannas, it is not uncommon for their bags of five to contain two absolutely wonderful specimens, two rather marginal specimens, and a bit of a root. So instead of getting a screaming deal you get... two plants for the price of two. Still, sometimes it works. Mostly bulbs arrive in good condition.

Sorry I can't be of any help with shade structures, my property just won't accommodate any. Not unless you consider the rose arches to be shade structures.

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It seems pretty unlikely this is anything like a practical solution, but if it worked it could be pretty cool: You might plant a Lady Banks rose on the structure. When it loses leaves in fall, it will let light in. Then it could provide shade in warm months when it's leafed out. By clever pruning you could adjust how much light enters and where. And you can keep changing your mind... The downside is that it will want quite a bit of water, especially while it is getting established.

When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Jul 29, 2017 12:50 PM CST
Hi Steve,

Wow! Your roses are beautiful! I sure like the idea of covering the nursery with natural material. It makes a lot of sense. People use vines and such for their pergolas, why not for the nursery. I have some climbing roses at my main garden bed which are doing well this first year. It's a U-shaped bed, so my hope is to provide an arched entry into the garden. But, I never thought of using plant life as a shade cover for this structure... Brilliant. How old are those roses?

Thanks, also, for the online bulb recommendation. I'll zip on over to their websites and get on their mailing list.

Do you happen to have any bougavilla in your garden? My single plant isn't doing too well these days and can't figure out why.

Here's to SW living! Hurray!
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
Salvias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Art Plumerias Seller of Garden Stuff Bookworm
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plantmanager
Jul 29, 2017 2:50 PM CST
I was just peeking in here. I agree, Steve has the best roses!

I have Bougainvillea in my yard in Scottsdale. It needs at least 6 hours of sun a day, and more is even better. It has to be planted in well draining soil, and hates wet feet. It should be bone dry in the top 3 or 4 inches of soil before it gets more water. Too much water grows lush leaves only. One tip I read was to only water when you notice the leaf tips drooping.

If you're in an area with extreme cold, it should be potted and go inside for winter. We do have it where we've occasionally gotten below freezing, and some of it does get killed in that weather. We just pruned off the dead areas and it kept on keeping on.

The standard Pinky fuchsia one you see everywhere is "Barbara Karst"., It is the hardiest one in my opinion, and the easiest one to grow. I've grown the other colors and while they are beautiful, they don't grow as well.

Edited to say that they hate to have their roots disturbed, so be very gentle while transplanting one from a pot to the ground or pot to pot.
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[Last edited by plantmanager - Jul 29, 2017 7:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Jul 29, 2017 6:40 PM CST
Gina,
I'm delighted to hear you are considering a plant for shade. I love the idea of Bouganvilla, too. I wish I could grow it here, but it's too cold - unless I bring it in for the winter.

I meant to say, with those chairs in it your hoop house, it looks like a fun place to hang out in spring and fall. I love the use of a trowell as a door handle.

The rose on the arbor is Malvern Hills (David Austin Roses) and it's in its eighth season. It took some patience to get it to this point. It had two or three canes nearly head high in its fifth season and really didn't look like much. Now I have to prune it twice a year to keep it in bounds. Good news is that it is not terrribly thorny. It could be confused with Lady Banks. Not quite so proliferous in bloom, but it does repeat a little.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 6, 2017 3:14 PM CST
Thank you for the added recommendations and tips Steve and Plant Manager.

My bougainvillea should be getting enough sun, but maybe not. It is east facing but it should still get 6+ hours. I cut the bottom off the existing pot when transplanting as I read they were sensitive to root damage. It did just fine at first and even put out colored leaves, but then it just stopped growing, dropped all its leaves and looks like it's on its last leg. I'm having trouble with another green/yellow shrub which gets full sun. Same thing, thrived upon transplanting and now the top leaves are dry and dropping. My honeysuckle vine is doing fine and they were all planted the same day. Vine gets full afternoon sun as its west facing.

I don't know, maybe the cottontail/jack rabbits did a bit too much damaged before I got the plants protected? SW landscaping is no easy task, that's for sure; especially, when property fencing isn't solid fencing. As soon as the weather allows, I'm going to begin working on some hardscape projects and also some rock towers/features. AZ Summers can be rather defeating, but I press on. Sighing!

And, yes Steve, that wooden trowel as a handle was my hubby's ingenuity! He has a knack for seeing multiple uses in everyday objects... It's one of the things I adore about him!

Happy gardening... Autumn is just around the corner! Hurray!

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
Salvias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Art Plumerias Seller of Garden Stuff Bookworm
Image
plantmanager
Aug 6, 2017 3:18 PM CST
Yes, Fall is an incredible time in AZ, as is Winter and Spring. For me, summer is pretty much only getting water to what needs it and hibernating under the AC the rest of the time. If I need to do errands I go shopping at night when it doesn't feel so hot even though it does stay hot at night. You can almost hear the plants give a sigh of relief, and start growing again in the Fall.
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Name: Gina
(Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Aug 6, 2017 7:22 PM CST
I agree, Karen! I go out as little as possible and consider it my downtime of the year. Summer vacay!! Rolling on the floor laughing

It gets tedious for me, but I usually find something to do, or organize, while cooped up. Today I made bread and butter pickles from this morning's cucumber harvest! Hubby is mighty pleased. Hurray!


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Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Sempervivums
Salvias Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Art Plumerias Seller of Garden Stuff Bookworm
Image
plantmanager
Aug 6, 2017 8:05 PM CST
They look yummy, Gina! My grandmother made them every year.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!

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