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

May 18, 2015

Preparing your garden for the heat of summer in Phoenix

If you're new to Phoenix, even though you may have heard that it gets hot, and think that you're prepared for it, you may be in for a real surprise. It gets REALLY HOT in Phoenix. I've lived through over twenty of those summers, and believe me, it never gets any easier.

But don't despair. My backyard in Glendale, which is a suburb of Phoenix, is proof that you don't have to just grow cactus and rocks. But there are a few tricks I've learned over the years, and here are a few:

• Shade. Shade, shade, shade, shade. When it's over 100 degrees, there's nothing *cheerful* about sunshine. If your backyard faces east, like mine, that's the best. If not, you have to figure out a way to get shade from that nasty western sun. Even the morning sun can be hot, so see if you can add more shade, like with trees. Did I mention how important shade is?

• Automatic watering system. I have a simple system that runs on batteries that waters the garden regularly through a low-water-use drip system. If you think you're gonna be able to water with the hose all summer, you have another think comin'!

• Don't trust the *full sun* on the tags at the garden center. They mean full sun in San Diego, not Phoenix! Talk to people, go look at gardens in the Phoenix area.

So there's a few stray thoughts. I use a lot of tricks that allows me to be in the garden even when it's ridiculously hot. When the temperatures get up near 120, I even wet down the towels and lie on them. And I don't ever, ever, go out in the noon-day sun. I think that's only for *Mad Dogs and Englishmen*, right?

Brad draws custom cartoon illustrations for publications, blogs, presentations, anything you want. You can contact him at his website

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