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  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

Mention June and up comes words like: hottest, driest, windiest and most miserable. Even newcomers speak of the challenges of this month and that this is the ideal time for a respite from the desert.

  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

Who could overlook the breathtaking color recently created by otherwise average-looking cactus? Many often-unused cameras have surfaced to record the splendor. Enjoying the huge, bright flowers is a delight for one and all.

  • By Mary Kidnocker For the Green Valley News

Saguaro, Arizona’s official state flower, is widely recognized as an icon of the Southwest. Like the saguaro, graceful Yucca plants have also become symbols of the desert. Currently in bloom, Yucca flower stalks are usually

  • By Mary Kidnocker For the Green Valley News

A large, well-hydrated saguaro can weigh more than 10 tons! This native cactus is protected in Arizona by regulations restricting the harvest or sale of wild saguaros. However, seed-grown plants are readily available from commercial nurseries.

  • Linda Christensen photograph

Although quite young, this Desert Willow near the La Posada Treasure Shoppe is currently loaded with deep pink flower

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  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

Currently, Desert Willow trees with their fragrant, orchid-like flowers are filling the Santa Cruz Valley with soft, spring color. Not a true willow, Chilopsis linearis is a member of the family of blooming plants that includes Yellowbells and certain trumpet vines.

  • By Mary Kidnocker For the Green Valley News

May is a prime time in the garden. Having experienced a warmer-than-usual April, soon we will find temperatures creeping into triple digits, accompanied by more dry winds. Therefore, there are a few important landscaping tasks to be completed this month.

  • By Mary Kidnocker

After World War II, a returning soldier brought bulbs to family and friends in coastal Oregon. Today, an area along the California-Oregon border is known as the “Easter Lily Capital of the World,” producing nearly 12 million bulbs for shipment to commercial greenhouses throughout the U.S. an…

  • By Mary Kidnocker For the Green Valley News

It is logical that the large state of Texas would have countless people and plant natives thriving in our desert. Among the familiar plants are: desert spoon, Texas ranger, desert willow, Texas olive, Texas mountain laurel, lead ball, kidneywood, honey mesquite, flame bush, Texas ebony and betony.

  • By Mary Kidnocker For the Green Valley News

Currently in full bloom is a perennial euphorbia most commonly known in our area as “Gopher Plant” (Euphorbia rigida). Look for clusters of stacked silver leaves waving their brilliant flower heads around. With the unique foliage, bright flowers, and humorous name, every garden should have a…

  • By Mary Kidnocker For the Green Valley News

Like to celebrate? Daylight saving time begins March 12 (some places). March 15 is the average latest freeze date in this area. The 17th is the day for “wearing of the green” and sipping strange-looking brews. The first day of spring is March 20.

  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

This is the time when we welcome back our latest group of winter friends, when local organizations schedule volumes of social events, when our landscapes look a bit less weary, and when we all excitedly anticipate the springtime that is just around the corner. March can be one of the busiest…

  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

Much like a first-class haircut, a good pruning job is a properly trimmed tree looking untouched. Major pruning is best done during the months when the tree is dormant. This can be done to control its size, remove dead wood, eliminate crossing or rubbing branches, remove heavy growth at bran…

  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

Florists, garden centers and nurseries are currently overflowing with traditional and “out of the box” valentine gift options. If your loved one is interested in live presents, here are but a few of the many choices.

  • By Mary Kidnocker

Do you recall the strange little dragons that lived in the gardens of your mother or grandmother? Brilliantly colored snapdragon flowers had noses and little mouths that opened when the bloom was squeezed on either side. Childhood memories may even recall the little mouth snapping shut and t…

  • By Mary Kidnocker Special to the Green Valley News

Because the average last frost date for this area is March 15, February may represent patience waiting for the danger of late season frosts to pass. Sometimes it announces the end of a short winter.

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