Desert Gardening – Patience required

If you have followed my winter garden this year, you know I have been frustrated. In the fall, we put five large pots into our 18-foot raised bed, making it easier for me to tend them. I devised a splendid plan (in my mind, at least!) and installed the pots and plants in late October.

The first week was fine. The plants were somewhat young but lovely in the white and yellow pots. Then, I went out and found many had been eaten. And not the pansies or violas, which I would expect.

I tried red pepper and watched the camera for critters. The pepper might have helped, and nothing showed up on the camera. A friend told me she had read about a nocturnal moth that feeds on Petunias, the primary plants being eaten. Then, the flowers on the Dianthus, Lobelia and alyssum were missing. Totally. I did not have the answer, and I was very frustrated.

Then it started getting colder, and I realized the bed and pots were not getting as much sun as they had in the past. We had extended the patio, cutting the winter sun hours on the bed.


Twice I added new flowers to find them eaten again. Sometime during the winter, I discovered we also had grasshoppers. In the Winter!

I decided to wait. Thankfully, that was a good decision. Now, the sun has moved around, so the bed is warmer with more ample sunshine. The days are slowly warming even though the nights stay cool.

Here’s the story in pictures. Please email me with your questions or comments!

Don’t miss the video of my current pots at the bottom of the page!

If you look closely, you can see the initial planting photos in the first two rows. Although the pots look OK, it was not up to my standards of 30 years of planting pots! The picture above this paragraph shows how the pots looked in January. To my eyes, they look incomplete, helter-skelter, and the ground planting of the Lobelia and Alyssum is unacceptable.

These next two photos are the same pot. The photo on the left shows empty spaces and small flowers. This pot gets the least amount of mid-winter sun. In the second pot, on the right, I added two purple Osteospermum the day before I wrote this article.

Spring Shoulder Season

If you think about my teaching of Shoulder Season plants, this is what I did. The pot had holes, it wasn’t totally empty by any means. I don’t think we get to talk much about the spring shoulder season. We can usually slide right from winter into summer color. But this year, I believe summer will be a little late, so shoulder season flowers are a good choice!


After I wrote this, I got thinking. (And I was watching a TV show with a psychiatrist as a main character. He basically said that our memories cannot be trusted for accuracy. He recommends we live in the present.) From this, I decided to stop reliving the past few months of disappointment and treasure what I have today. Next winter, I will pack the pots full so I can share my flowers with whatever attacks them. And when I am displeased with the view, I will go shopping. I will continue this practice until winter turns into spring and enjoy every day of living color that I can. 🙂

Now, make sure you scroll down to watch the video of my Winter 2023 pots!

Below is a video of the pots as of March 27th!

Success Finally! Patience Paid Off

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