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

January 12, 2015

Winter rains in Phoenix, Arizona

It's January 12th and the Phoenix area got a gentle winter rain yesterday, and last night. Since Phoenix is in a desert, people will often wonder if rain is typical or not. It is. I've been in this house for over twenty years, and the gentle winter rains, and the violent thunderstorms of summer, are as as dependable as the fact that it gets to over 100 degrees here. Oh yeah, and the fact that it snows every winter in Minneapolis!

So, your watering system in Phoenix should be shut off right now. Your garden doesn't need automatic watering right now. If you have grass, it does, but, uh, why do you have grass? My artificial turf requires no watering, and my tropical plants don't need it in the winter, either. In fact, overwatering plants like cycads in the winter only makes their roots rot, and kills them. Ask me how I know!

So relax. Listen to the sound of the rain, enjoy the smell. Rain in the desert is a wonderful thing. I went out for pizza last night and found myself in a wonderfully cheerful mood. I spoke to a young couple going into the pizza place ahead of me and absolutely felt compelled to ask them if they thought the rain was wonderful. They did.

If the design of your garden is right, rain shouldn't make a mess. If the rain creates mud puddles on your patio, then you need to rethink your drainage. Like all suburban homes, your yard should hold a certain amount of water, drained away from the house, and then drained out to the street, and the retention basins. My neighborhood has two retention basins, one at 67th Avenue and Mountain View, and the big one, which is called Sahuaro Ranch. In fact, all parks in Phoenix act as water retention basins.

OK, I'll admit I'm lucky when it comes to rain. I work indoors, all I need is my computer. I don't need to go drive in the rain. Rain for me just means that the garden will be lovin' it, and a break from how terribly dry the desert is most of the time. Enjoy it while you can, the next time it rains should be in August, and the next winter rains won't be back for another year.

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