First You Account for the Sky: Negative Space and Desert Landscaping

Balancing precariously on a rock, I held both hands in front of me, fingers forming a box. In the universal sign of film directors and photographers everywhere, I panned slowly across the sky in front of me.


Dropping my hands, I contemplated the sprawling vista before me, then adjusted my stance. Bringing my hands back up, I looked again.

Hands up. Adjust stance. Hands up. Hands down.

“Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.”
The desert is a place that makes the most sense with its expansiveness. The sky has placed an indelible claim on the landscape and it shows. As anyone who has ever seen the Sonoran Desert at sunset knows, this is a very good thing. An awe-inspiring thing even. But, when attempting to scale down the sight for a photograph-or a .2acre suburban garden-it can be a very inconvenient thing.
When planning a Georgia style garden, each element is planned and blended the way you would paint a watercolor painting. Soft or bold sweeps of color, each blending and enhancing each other to create a coherent pictures. Daylilies, peonies, hyacinths, coneflowers….all of these increase their appeal en masse. Not so with desert plants.
In a desert landscape, resources are scares and plants stake out their territories jealously. It is a space where the eye is made to drift through. Because of this, attempting a literal translation of a desert vista can result in a garden that looks truncated and awkward.

In addition, Southwestern plants tend to have bold, sculptural forms. It is as if nature says, “Well, if there is only going to be one plant here, it is going to be a plant worth looking at. Desert plants are the prima donnas of the plant world. You may be able to add a backup singer or two, but there is only one star of the show.
Desert plants can be blended, but not massed. In this bed, agave is clearly the focal point with Gregg’s mistflower, autumn sage, and a salvia adding complimentary notes without overpowering.
Consistency is another really good way to increase the amount of plants in a bed without looking chaotic. In the top photo, a meadow mix of grasses and a few flowering plants add texture and movement while framing the prickly pear. More agave adorn the bottom photo. In this case, cohesion is achieved by choosing a variety of plants with similar colors.
Repetition is another cool way to cheat the eye (and fit the rest of your must-have plants in your yard). Because both of these photos contain plants that repeat themselves (totem pole cactus and cholla) you could add a variety of low growing flowering plants. The taller cacti would draw the eye up, adding the room the eye needs in order to move around in the desert, and the consistency of the cacti forms would balance out a mixed flower bed.
Then there is the option of just taking the “empty space is gardening partner” concept and just rocking it. I mean, if you have a Van Gogh on your hands, you’re not going to waste time thinking “now, if only I could find ten other masterpieces for this one wall.” No, you let the Van Gogh take its rightful place as the centerpiece of the wall. Using plants strategically as focal points and you can get along with a lot more empty space. In the top photo, palo verde blooms dust the ground-and the cacti- making a perfect vignette. In the lower photo a twisted mesquite trunk steals the show and the scattered plantings along an otherwise bare expanse of ground are a perfect compliment. It would be a gorgeous natural patio for group gatherings.
Planning a desert garden is well worth the change in perspective. The trick is to embrace what makes the desert unique. When designing for the land, you must first take into account the sky.

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November Gardener’s Bloom Day

Like most Phoenicians, I consider November to be my personal reward. It’s like the desert itself is saying: “Remember that time this summer when you stood on a pothole in your brand new sneakers and the rubber soles literally started melting? And you didn’t run screaming, even though no one would have blamed you? Yeah, good times. Anyway, because you stuck it out through both summer seasons (blast furnace and humid blast furnace) here is the light at the end of the tunnel: gorgeous November days. When the rest of the country is suffering snow storms, you can party like a rock star through cool days filled with flowers.”
And that, dear readers, is why I love November. Phoenix kind of skips past autumn, going from summer to a winter-spring combo and then back to summer. The flowers go crazy blooming and, if you get up early enough, you can even justify wearing a light jacket. Since I don’t have a garden of my own yet, here’s a look at what’s blooming around Phoenix.
Yellow Bush Daisy Euryops pectinatus has pretty ferny dark green foliage and bright yellow flowers. It blooms pretty frequently and makes a nice 2ft border plant.
Gregg’s Mistflower Conoclinium greggii blooms in sun or shade here. The purple flowers visually cool down space and attract a ton of butterflies.
Mexican Tarragon Tagetes lucida is beautiful, to be sure, but its best quality is culinary. For those of us who love tarragon (which should be everyone because it is awesome) but can’t grow the French kind, which is finicky in general but especially in the desert, Mexican tarragon offers the flavor from a relatively trouble free plant.
Desert Milkweed Asclepias subulata comes into bloom just as Monarch migration hits the desert. Out of flower, it is a relatively unassuming plant and I recommend planting it with some kind of airy flowering plant which can spill among the stems and add additional interest. Milkweed is of course the only host plant for Monarchs, so plant milkweed save a (butterfly) life.

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Musings on Tomatoes

The first tomatoes I ever grew I grew in the desert. The plant was on sale for $5.99 at Wal-Mart. It had thick green stems with small yellow flowers curling from thick stems. It was too late in the year to plant tomatoes, heat already winding its way inexorably around the valley.. The heat was the kind of heat you ran from, darting into the first cool dark place you saw like a shadow flinching from light. It was not conducive to growing things.
There is a sensible way to grow tomatoes, even in the desert. Typical of Phoenix, the sensible way meant inverting all ‘normal’ gardening rules and turning tomatoes into a spring vegetable. Start when the morning is still cool enough your breath leaves your mouth in misty clouds but after the threat of frost has passed. Choose a fast ripening variety like ‘Early Girl’ that will be ready for harvesting before the worst of the summer arrived. And, since a beautiful April day in Phoenix closely resembled the East Coast during a heat wave, provide afternoon shade. I did not grow my tomatoes the sensible way.
For eight weeks I moved my tomato plant daily following the single pizza slice wedge of direct sunlight that moved across my shaded balcony in the early morning. For eight weeks I hand-picked green caterpillars off the leaves and moved them to the lawn below. I fertilized with liquid seaweed and sprayed each flower with a ‘completely organic’ blossom stimulator I found online. I may or may not have played ‘eye of the tiger’ on repeat days when the leaves were looking particularly wilted. And eight weeks later the sun lit silver sparks on the blade of my knife as I held it poised over…two mini tomatoes. The glossy red fruits, each the size of a large strawberry, was the total harvest of my hard working tomato plant.
Those two tomatoes, rolling around in the world’s saddest salad, taught me three important lessons. One: wanting something badly enough does not actually subvert the laws of physics and chemical ecology anywhere outside teen movies. Two: tomatoes need sun! And three: gardening, like life, is sometimes going to make you crazy. Just go with it.

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Cum functioneaza transferul de bani online

Transferul de bani online are loc acolo unde conceptul de moda veche de transfer de bani converge cu tehnologia moderna de transfer de fonduri electronic. Probabil ca utilizati transferul de fonduri electronic tot timpul – este pur si simplu un mod complet electronic de a transfera bani de la un cont bancar in alt cont bancar. Datele sunt schimbate – banii de hartie nu sunt. Atunci cand folositi un card de debit, se trimit bani de la contul dumneavoastra bancar in contul bancar al magazinului. Depozitul de salarizare directa muta bani din contul bancar al angajatorului in contul dumneavoastra. Ambele tranzactii sunt exemple de transfer electronic de fonduri, si asa este si transferul de bani on-line.
transfer de bani onlineConform site-ului, transferul de bani on-line este diferit de transferul electronic de fonduri – nu este vorba despre o modalitate de a plati facturile pe Internet. Transferul de bani online este echivalentul modern al transferului bancar. Puteti trimite bani cuiva instantaneu, pur si simplu prin transferul de bani (sau datele care reprezinta banii) de la dumneavoastra la o alta persoana. De obicei implica informatiile de contact – cum ar fi un numar de telefon mobil sau o adresa de e-mail – pentru partile care trimit si primesc si care sunt legate de un cont bancar. Transferul de bani on-line se poate face pentru o mica taxa de la un serviciu pe baza de Web sigur prin utilizarea oricarui calculator cu acces la Internet. Nu este nevoie sa mergeti la un birou de transferuri bancare, la o statie de telegraf sau la o banca.
Principalele avantaje ale acestui tip de tranzactii sunt acelea ca reprezinta cai sigure, rapide si foarte comode.
Daca trimiteti cecuri prin posta, poate dura zile intregi pana sa fie livrate, iar acestea pot fi pierdute in multimea de scrisori sau furate. In cazul in care banii sunt trimisi pe plan international, unde este nevoie cel mai mult, exista, de asemenea, problema comisioanelor de schimb valutar, care sunt in general mai scumpe decat o taxa de transfer de bani. Transferul de bani on-line permite eliberarea aproape instantanee – este nevoie doar de cateva secunde pentru a se deplasa pe Internet, fara complicatii fizice, practic oriunde in lume.
Exista numeroase masuri de siguranta in vigoare pentru a se asigura ca banii se duc exact acolo unde trebuie sa mearga. Straturi multiple de criptare a datelor sunt folosite pentru transferurile de bani on-line. In acest fel, daca din intamplare datele sunt furate sau distorsionate in drum spre destinatar, totul este codificat de mai multe ori, astfel ca acestea devin ilogice, ilizibile daca ajung pe mana cui nu trebuie. Dupa ce ati dat comanda de trimitere pe un site Web care ofera transferul de bani sigur, informatiile ies in retea ca date codificate, si dupa ce au fost primite de catre banca sau de serviciul destinatarului, sunt decodificate si depuse sub forma de moneda.
Toate tranzactiile bancare online, inclusiv serviciile de transfer de bani online, sunt prelucrate de catre casa de compensare automata (ACH), o agentie independenta care ofera o transmisie de date financiare sigure. Diverse servicii ofera alte niveluri de protectie, cum ar fi de confirmarea apelurilor telefonice catre ambele parti (care trebuie sa verifice informatiile private), de confirmare a e-mailurilor, si chiar polite de asigurare care sa garanteze ca banii vor fi trimisi si conturile bancare nu vor fi compromise.

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