December in your Desert Container Garden

Winter flowers in a desert container from The Potted Desert
Greetings All!

Happy December!

As I sit down to write December’s post, I think back over the year and continue to ponder about what I want to do – for you – lovers of all things pots and for me – what my growing retirement looks like.

My fall online classes with the Tucson Botanical Gardens were a lot of fun meeting new folks and seeing past students and friends show up for my classes. I plan to have more classes next year – some revised and some new.


Riley's Garden Oasis - A Story of Getting Potted in the DesertAlso, my second book has been out a year now and I hope you have met Riley and her friends in “Riley’s Garden Oasis.

I am glad you are here. There are several resources linked below so don’t miss any of them!

I hope we continue to have discussions about everything potted, and I love when you share pictures, either in emails or on Facebook!

(Not in my group, Getting Potted with Marylee on Facebook? Check it out here.)

December Presents its Own Challenges

When people think about the desert, they immediately picture long sunny days and hot summers. When we have a true fall season, we are lulled into lovely 80° days with plenty of time for golf, gardening, and evenings on the patio.

Suddenly, a surprise freeze ruins our assumption that the comfort of living the dream is everlasting. Then, day temperatures don’t rise above 55° and nights fall below 32.

Now those in snowy northern climes will laugh at us desert dwellers and say, “Give me a break!” But darn it, for us desert dwellers, it’s cold! Heck, we are reaching for sweaters when it gets below 90!

Tucson Annual average Temperatures

December and January are the coldest months in the middle desert of the SW U.S.  For years I’ve sought to abandon ship during this time of year. But now I’m committed to “toughing it out” and snuggling in during the coldest days while bounding outside as soon as I see the thermometer hit 60°. You will even find me on the golf course on a sunny morning when only 55°!

Check out December’s Checklist, and be sure to attend to your plants, so they flourish when it gets cold!

A simple planting of a yellow dairy bush, red Dianthus and white Alyssum by The Potted Desert

A simple planting of a yellow dairy bush, red Dianthus and white Alyssum by The Potted Desert

This month, while we can plant our pots until they are brimming with beautiful colors, we need to be on top of freeze warnings.

Get your copy of the 5 Steps to Protect Your Desert Potted Plants from a Freeze – HERE

Keep up with your December tasks in your desert container garden

4 Ways to Ensure Success in your Desert Pots

People often ask me to learn more about how to garden in this challenging but wonderful climate. There is no “one-stop shop” to learn everything to help you succeed.

I offer four resources to teach all I have learned and experienced over the past three decades. My books, Zoom classes through the Tucson Botanical classes, self-study classes, and my Potted View e-newsletter all provide you with the information you need to guarantee your success.

Have a copy of Getting Potted in the Desert and Riley’s Garden Oasis?
Check out Marylee’s Getting Potted in the Desert books here

Here is a quote from one of my book purchasers:

I moved to Tucson a year and a half ago from Seattle, Washington. I needed to “re-learn” and adjust to many new gardening techniques in this Sonoran Desert climate. Marylee’s book is a godsend. I now have a “to-do” list for every month with the information I need to take care of my landscape and pots … as well as add new plants or dispose of ones I don’t want any longer. Thank You, Marylee!  Kathy P.

It’s not too late to order books now – for yourself or as a gift. 

If you are inclined to do some planting this month:

Pick up some extra flowers to make your pots company-ready. Add an arrangement to your front door. Whatever whim you have, please keep it simple and save your time and energy for other holiday preparations and time to enjoy your friends and family.

Happy Holidays to you!

Keep everyone you love close – if not in person, then in your hearts.

Take time for each other and to smell the flowers!