Gardening in Different Climates

There was a time when I enjoyed gardening and yard work. My interest began when Al and I were newly married and we purchased our first home in the Chicago suburbs. I started my gardening education by planting annual flowers in the spring, a few perennials during the summer, and by fall my focus was on bulbs. I adore tulips and hyacinths!

As my garden interest grew, I took some perennial gardening classes at the local community college and started adding beds of perennials to our large yard.Β Illinois is known for its rich farm soil, so even a gardening novice like myself could find success and have things growing without much attention. That is, if a full-out war with the local cottontail bunny rabbits could be averted.

Denver Botanical Garden

Denver Botanical Garden

Trouble in the garden

When we moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, everything I thought I knew about gardening was quickly rendered useless. All of a sudden, I found myself living in an arid climate with an elevation over 6,000 feet, and things did not grow as easily as they did in Illinois.

After many perennial and bulb failures, I switched to vegetable gardening. I thought I might have better luck growing veggies than flowers, but that too, proved to be a challenge. Eventually, my interest in gardening waned.

And now that we live in our RV, gardening is no longer an option. Oh, I tried the whole planter thing last summer. I thought it would be wonderful to enjoy some home-grown tomatoes or some fresh herbs, but the intense sun and heat in Arizona were not kind to my plants. Another gardening failure by yours truly. Not to worry, the planter pots were quickly filled with flowers purchased at Hobby Lobby πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸŒ»πŸ˜

gardening

My son with my mom in my parents large and successful garden in Illinois. Photo taken 7 years ago when my mom was still with us.

Illinois has some of the best dirt

I’ve never had the kind of gardening success that my mom and dad enjoyed. Every spring they would look forward to returning to their home in northern Illinois after their Texas Gulf Coast winter sojourn in their Motorhome. They were eager to get the earth tilled and the garden planted. Since their harvest was always way more than they could consume, they would share their bounty of vegetables with delighted neighbors.

I used to time my return visits to Illinois based on their garden. Ah, such fond memories!

Al’s side of the family used to live near Rockford, Illinois. If you’re ever in this part of the state, I highly recommend a visit to the Anderson Japanese Garden. The grounds are tranquil and beautiful and the restaurant tasty. More than once, we’d stop for breakfast or lunch at the restaurant and forgo touring the grounds if we didn’t have time.

Jumping into yard work

Monday night, our son called Al. In a somewhat frantic voice, he informed his dad of his failing water heater and was hoping Al could help. Our son has been working well over 60 hours a week at his job in management plus helping his soon to be bride with wedding day details. To say he’s stressed these days, would be an understatement.

So without hesitation, yesterday morning Al and I hopped in the truck and took the 85 mile drive from Prescott, Arizona, to our son’s home in Phoenix to deal with the leaking water heater.

As soon as we pulled up to Logan’s house, I noticed all the weeds growing up between the rock landscape. Oh don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t so bad that the homeowners association had sent a notice …. yet, but in another week or two, I assure you, he’d be receiving a “take care of your weeds” notice. After all, it is the monsoon season in the desert and considering Phoenix has received a fair amount of rain lately, everything is growing including weeds. Actually, the moisture is very welcome!

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

With that said, the cactus are happy and touches of color from wildflowers dot the landscape.Β  It never ceases to amaze me what will grow and thrive in such a harsh and unforgiving environment.

So while Al was assessing the problematic water heater, I went to work pulling weeds. Now if my son were home, he would never have allowed me to do this. He usually hires out the yard work, but I knew he was too busy to even give the yard a thought and call the landscaper.

The job of pulling weeds didn’t take me long and was relatively easy, BUT the temperature was already over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 20 minutes of either bending over or squatting, I was done! It was as good as it was gonna get by me.

There’s still a couple of areas that could use a tad more attention, but those areas are on the side of the house and not as easily noticeable.

The heat was brutal and for a gal that doesn’t normally sweat (I merely glisten 😁), I was sweating like a pig and light-headed. (Do pigs actually sweat? Wherever did that phrase come from? 🐷)

But hey, it’s a dry heat…. seriously? … even an oven is a dry heat!!! Yeah, the desert can be a dangerous place. However, it did feel good to accomplish the yard work and have the yard looking more polished.

By the time our son got home from work, the water heater was replaced and the front yard was looking good. Logan was grateful beyond words, and some serious stress was lifted. After a successful and eventful day, an exhausted mom and dad headed back up the hill to Prescott at a higher elevation where temps were almost 20 degrees cooler.

Denver Botanical Garden

Denver Botanical Garden

Garden or Gardening – this weeks theme

Today I reflect on the yard work I did yesterday. I don’t miss it. Quite frankly, I don’t miss gardening either, but I do miss seeing a beautiful garden of flowers. That’s when it’s time for me to visit a Botanical Garden or Arboretum. I appreciate the labor of love that goes into the design and care of a garden.

For this weeks photo theme, let’s share images and/or tales of gardens or gardening. Do you have a favorite garden you’ve visited or do you enjoy the task of gardening? Feel free to share a link in the comments below or link back to this page on your post.

Denver Botanical Garden

Denver Botanical Garden

Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Inspirations

Each Wednesday I post a different photo theme as a way for bloggers to share their love of photography and engage with other like-minded bloggers. Perhaps you could use a little inspiration to pick up the camera in search of a composition or a reason to go through your archives. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR or something in-between, don’t be shy πŸ€— share and connect!

Upcoming prompts –Β  Birds, Black & White, Reflections …. get out and shoot or peruse those archives!

(affiliate links)
Β 9 Piece Garden Tools Set
Β White Ceramic Planter Set / Kitchen Herb Garden

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45 thoughts on “Gardening in Different Climates

  1. We’re not on the road full time but try to get away for the Melbourne (AUS) winter. We used to have a large garden that took up most of my free time but now my joints thank me for downsizing. Although my heart misses gardening my head knows it was the right thing to do.

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    • There’s a time and place for everything, and like you, I miss my garden but my body does not. The beauty of travel is I get to see all these formal gardens and not break my back πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed this post very much. We love to garden. It is very different in Florida than the northeast or California. Boy do things grow fast! In one week my bougainvillea can shoot up stalks over one foot. Our tomatoes here never get as big as up north, so I just buy them from the farmer’s market instead. I loved the sweet picture of your Mom in the garden. That Japanese Garden looks beautiful. We have lovely Bok Tower Gardens and McKee Gardens (waterlilies) near us here in Florida. In California we especially enjoyed Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, and near San Francisco the Santa Cruz Arboretum and Filoli Gardens. I think I always need to be growing something, even if it is on a windowsill.

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    • I enjoy visiting various gardens around the country. Each one is unique. The Japanese Garden in Rockford was an unexpected treat, and once we discovered it, each return visit to see family included a garden stop as well. Sounds like your thumb is a lot greener than mine 😁

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  3. Oh Ingrid, you made me missed our yard 😦 Steve and I used to labor hard on weekends working in our backyard and enjoyed the flowers at springtime. I culled my archives and found this only photo of our yard then which was a work in progress at that time.

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    • Oh my goodness ML, what a stunningly beautiful backyard. I have no doubt, one day you’ll be back to gardening … part-time that is as I don’t see the two of you giving up those wheels anytime soon.

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  4. What great parents! Prior to going full time we had great luck with our Tower Garden (aeroponic gardening) in AZ during the winter. We have had a great time with our mini community garden at our Workamping spot in Minnesota this summer. It’s amazing to me how well things grow around here. Really who, but someone from Arizona, would get excited watching the corn grow πŸ˜‚.

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    • I can totally understand your excitement seeing everything grow in the Midwest. It’s such a contrast from AZ. There are times I miss the lush vegetation, but that’s the beauty of a home on wheels. We may need to head east next summer for a much needed ‘green’ fix!

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  5. I’m actually going to miss our gardens. Once spring gets here we will be weeding all 13 or so planting beds/areas for the last time. Terrible year for vegetables. It’s funny when we talk at work about how our vegetable gardens are doing, it turns out everyone is having the same lack of success with any given vegetable.

    We love edible landscapes. One big scarifies is giving up all the fruit trees and vines that took years to grow and become productive.

    But…. We will replace them with a trip to a bunch of farmers markets scattered around the country. Sold all the canning equipment last year anyway.

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    • I don’t miss weeding or lawn mowing, that’s for sure. Although there will be things you’ll miss about your old life, there will be so many new experiences that will make up for it. There’s a time and place for everything and visiting different farmers markets and unique gardens and sights will be a fun adventure that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

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  6. Arizona is not the place to grow anything other than succulents. This year in my container gardens (aka mini farm) the squash didn’t pan out like last year where I was up to my knees in it but I’ve got loads of carrots, green onions and hot peppers. And lavender πŸ™‚

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  7. Pingback: Late Summer in the Garden – Wandering Dawgs

  8. I have done lawn and gardening in the Midwest, out West and now in the South. All different in one aspect or another. The one garden I really miss is the floral cutting garden we had growing up. We had a few people that would stop by to see if we were willing to sell them a bouquet of flowers. We could make $5 on up or even barter for some honey, apples, etc. some Saturdays and Sundays. Here’s to Natural Beauty! Happy Day – Enjoy πŸ™‚

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    • Ah, you are very experienced with the various climates and soil around the country. I can’t think of a prettier garden than floral’s meant for cutting… lucky you. I’m sure growing thinks in FL is a lot easier than northern CA – at least that’s my assumption πŸ˜€

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      • People say things are bigger in Texas have not gone far enough to Florida – ha! We mow the grass at least twice a week right now and then the pruning is a constant. It can look like a jungle if not on top of it. Plus we have taken some things out and replanned the spacing for symmetry to not look bushy.

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        • Oh dear, I’m sorry … I thought when you moved from CA you went to FL. Moisture and humidity does have a way of making things grow and if you don’t stay on top of it, things can easily start looking like a jungle. Such a vast difference from an arid climate.

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          • We are in FL and yes from one extreme climate to another extreme climate for sure. I just meant that they say everything is bigger in Texas, which probably is true in some aspects. However, Florida can grow some big things too – ha! – shrubs to bugs.

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  9. Again I’m reminded by what a small world we live in…..we are from Rockford, Illinois, moved to Arizona in the 90’s. Enjoyed gardening in IL, both vegetables & flowers. Actually the vegetable garden helped feed our family in the β€œlean” years! And moving to AZ was a challenge, never could get used to the different growing seasons & awful soil. As always, amazing photos! I’m slowly learning the new camera…thank God I don’t have to develop film!!

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    • Oh yeah, I remember you mentioning Rockford. It’s so easy to garden in Illinois. Just about anything will grow without too much effort. My son’s backyard could use some attention and I’ve been sketching out some ideas and doing research on plants (wedding first … so no changes until next year) I want to make sure I pick plants that thrive on little water and little care. Although, I’m enjoying the design, I have no intention of digging in that ridiculously awful soil 😁

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  10. Wow, that is some tomato! We are getting ready to pick up our RV. It made it to Boston, but we had to fly home for a few months to take care of business. Cannot wait to be back in my home away from home. May be stopping in Precott to check it out again. I really liked the Midwest (crazy coming from a CA girl), but we did travel when everything was so green and the weather was great! Such pride people take in their gardens. Great values!

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    • There are times I miss the lush vegetation found in the Midwest and folks there do take great pride in their yards. There’s definitely a beauty to the land when the weather is nice. I do not miss tornado season or those minus 20 below wind chill factors during the winter. BTW – we’ll be in Prescott Valley until the end of September if you’re in the area and let me know if you have any questions!

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  11. You know how much I love gardening. I’ll try to post a wee bit later.

    How nice of you to weed for your kids! You are going to be the best mother in law ever!

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    • Yes, I do know how much you love gardening, and you are a very talented and creative gardener. Hopefully you’ll have time to share your beautiful yard … again! I’m doing my very best to be a ‘good’ MIL … that’s a fine dance though 😏

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  12. I love flowers and love to grow them. Unfortunately, like you, they don’t always love me back by growing into the beautiful landscape I have pictured in my mind. Doesn’t stop me from trying, though! When we travel I always try to spot the flowers in a scene – from the wildflowers that grow alongside the road to the manicured gardens of the parks, I love them all! This picture was taken in Palmer, AK – the agricultural center of that state. https://candyswhimsy.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/palmer-dsc_0009.jpg

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  13. I’ve never been a flower gardener, but I did love having vegetable gardens. I would love to have another vegetable but I don’t think that will happen in Boulder City! I did carry a nice herb garden for our first five years on the road. I don’t miss weeding, at all. Good for you taking care of your son’s garden weeds even with the heat and Al putting in a new hot water heater. It’s always great being near by and being able to take care of those projects for our working kids.

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    • It is nice to be around to help the kids especially in these urgent situations. The huge relief on our son’s face when he got home from work made it all worth it. Yeah, you’ll probably have a bit of a learning curve gardening of any kind in Boulder City. I like your idea of a cactus garden … that should do very nicely.

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  14. When we went full-time, I really missed my 1 acre flower garden but now I realize how much work it was and that it was not what I wanted for our retirement. Now I help our daughter develop her garden and take pleasure passing on knowledge and supplying weed pulling expertise with her

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    • I share your sentiment and it is very enjoyable passing our knowledge down to the next generation. I know it’s something I enjoy. I sure don’t miss the large yard and hours of maintenance, but miss the visual beauty. However, a visit to a Botanical Garden quickly satisfies any longings … and without the backache πŸ˜€

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  15. Years ago when living in Utah, I always had a nice garden. Flowers, and fresh veggies. I do miss fresh veggies, but not enough to want to do all that work again. That’s what farmers markets are for. I remember the 4 years I lived in Phoenix. When the monsoon season hits, the humidity, and the high temps made it unbearable. No wonder you were glistening, and light headed.

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    • Fortunately, yesterday wasn’t a humid day or I don’t think I could’ve managed 5 minutes. Folks don’t realize how dangerous the desert can be. A hiker passed away the other day out on the trail. I’ll never understand why someone thinks it’s okay to go hiking at this time of year. Even in Prescott at 5,500 feet in elevation, Al is out getting in his 3+ mile walk at 5 in the morning to beat the heat. Crazy! And I’m with you, farmers markets for me these days. I’ve given up any hope or desire to grow my own stuff.

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