Gardening for Newcomers to Mountain Landscapes – Ken Lin

Gardening for Newcomers to Mountain Landscapes – Ken Lin

High-altitude gardening is different from low-altitude gardening. Combine our altitude with Arizona’s dry climate, bright air, and perpetual mountain winds, and you can pretty much forget what you learned from gardening in other parts of the country! Arizona’s high country is unique in the way its soils respond to water, or lack thereof. If you have moved from the deserts or lowlands of Southern California, you really need to keep reading to learn how to become a successful gardener in these conditions.

Our local USDA garden zone is 7 with a pronounced influence of zone 8. This defines our area as temperate, with distinct winters of freezing night temperatures. The secret when purchasing plants is to look for those that grow in zones 7 and below. Avoid planting desert plants designated for zones 10 and 11.

Low winter temperatures provide the coolness needed for growth All deciduous fruits are perennials that thrive in cool climates. The list includes apples, peaches, cherries, grapes and raspberries. This climate is also suitable for the flourishing of deciduous shrubs such as lilacs, forsythia, hardy camellias, Rose of Sharon, butterfly bushes and Russian sages.

We garden 12 months a year Because of our mild seasons. Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are available now at the garden center and should be planted in late winter to early spring with harvest expected before Mother’s Day. Warm season crops are planted in May. Few places in the country allow these crops for two seasons. Local vegetable cultivation calendar.

We have the best flowers that bloom in winter They include pansies, snapdragons, violas, dusty mills, johnny hops, and ornamental cabbages. Our mild, cool season is a blessing for gardeners who grow it for color. The splash of flowers blooming through the snow is an oasis of joy during the winter. They are all available at the garden center now and can be planted immediately. I fully expect my garden to provide gorgeous color every month of the year.

Never underestimate the Arizona sun; Wind and dry air at these high altitudes. They are key influences in determining which plants do well in our landscapes, and which do not. Informed selectivity is essential when selecting plants for your Arizona mountain landscape. This area works best for plants with thick, leathery leaves because it allows the plants to retain additional moisture and be less likely to tear during heavy storms in the area. This is when it can be helpful to talk to a horticulturist who has experience working with local landscapes; It can save you a lot of time, energy and expense in creating your own landscaping.

Mountain soil changes from one house to another, Even on the same street. In many landscapes, the soil in the front yard is different from the soil in the backyard! You need to know how plants will react in each new garden location. The local soil is usually either sandy or heavy clay with very little organic matter. Therefore, preparing the soil for planting is of great importance. It requires adding organic mulch to your soil to either retain moisture in granite soil, or to prevent clay soil from compacting. Our soil is alkaline, so do not add any lime or wood ash as they increase the already high pH. Instead, local gardens benefit from soil sulfur, which lowers soil pH.

National forest lands surround usSo the mammals can be a problem for local gardeners. Pike, deer, antelope, rabbits, squirrels, and gophers all have the ability to devour parts of a carefully planned landscape. The garden has continued here for more than one season, and you soon find local gardeners who have either given up on these creatures or found ways to farm with them. List of deer and rabbit resistant native plants.

February plant It is the everlasting beauty that blooms with others in the gardens still asleep. Introducing Ice & Roses Lenton Rose, a captivating addition to any garden landscape. With delicate, snow-white flowers contrasting with deep green foliage, these resilient perennials add a touch of elegance to even the coldest days of winter. Ice & Roses thrive in challenging conditions, from cold winters to scorching summers, making them a reliable, low-maintenance option for both novice and experienced gardeners alike. Their compact size and bushy habit make them ideal for borders, containers or as a focal point in mixed beds. Whether you are decorating an attractive cottage garden or a modern urban landscape, Ice & Roses Lenton Rose is sure to enchant with its timeless beauty and enduring charm, making it a must-have for every garden enthusiast.

Learn more in our free garden lessons. The spring schedule is over, and next week, we’ll be diving into local gardening tips, tricks, and tricks, so join in the garden fun. Here’s the lineup for the 2024 Garden Classes and the next few classes.

February 10 at 9:30 am: Top 10 Trees for Fresh Fruit

February 17 at 9:30 am: Gardening for newcomers

February 24 at 9:30 am: Evergreen plants that bloom in early spring

Until next week, I will be helping local gardeners grow healthy fruit trees here at Waters Garden Center.

Ken Lane can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contact him through his website at or

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