This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

May 13, 2013

Redeveloping the western edge of The Outback

The area outside of my bedroom window is part of what I consider "The Outback". It's not a place that I go into often, and it's off-limits to visitors. The best view of it is through the bedroom window, although I usually keep the blinds closed. And it's some premium real estate for tropical plants, so I'm redeveloping it.

The first thing I did was to get rid of the old "purple plants". Old-timers called them "wandering jews". They grow like weeds and really don't look much better. Over the years they had really gotten out of control, so I tore them out (you can do that with your hands) and dug up the stumps from the roots. I did some general clean up of the area, and some small repairs to long-neglected watering heads. I also put in some flat rocks, which perform two functions, they show me where it's safe to walk, and they also cover areas where I shouldn't dig, that have wires or tubing buried.

To the left you can see some new leaves flushing on a cycad. It's a Cycas Guizhouensis x Taitungensis hybrid developed by Robert Chumley that I have had since 2005. It got some damage during the big frost of January 2013, but is coming back nicely now. In fact, most of the cycads are beginning to flush now. Better late than never!

If you look carefully, you can see that I planted some elephant ears. Tiny now, but they get huge. These are great "background" plants because of their size. They like plenty of water and plenty of shade, which this area has.

All this area needs now is a little more time and some warm weather. That will be the easy part!
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