How Does Your Garden Grow? – June 2014

Neighborhood hognose skunk digging up the Grabell garden!

Neighborhood hognose skunk digging up the Grabell garden!

Louise Grabell

Pay attention, gardeners! There’s a lot to do now: 1. Finish planting your summer annuals; 2. Fertilize your garden; 3. Fertilize your citrus around the end of May; 4. Make sure all parts of your irrigation system are working properly; 5. Change your watering cycle today so that sufficient water is reaching all plants during the upcoming hot-dry season.

Why do we gardeners do all of this and more? Well, if you haven’t spent any time in your garden or don’t have a garden, you can’t know the joys of being outside with the flowers and the birds and the bees! For many of us gardening is a rewarding experience. All our plants say thank you by growing tall and, perhaps, producing an abundance of flowers that beautify our estates. But gardening has other benefits. For kids it’s just playing in the dirt. For some adults, it’s a way to grow food for the family. But for most of us it’s just plain fun. Maybe you could call it therapy for the elderly (is that a rhyme?). LOL, but if you think about it gardening requires planning, re-designing, physical labor and the joys of reaping the results.

For me gardening just makes me feel good. There is nothing more relaxing or gratifying than spending hours in the outdoors away from the phone calls and the tumult of caring for the house, opening the mail or making the bed (I confess, I don’t make the bed anyway)! Surprisingly, even though some physical labor is involved, gardening is restful and has been shown to lower blood pressure. Working in a garden is stimulating to patients with Alzheimer’s. And what better way do you know to get your daily dose of Vitamin D?

Stop complaining about those aches and pains. Go outside and move around a bit. Bend and flex those muscles of yours. Pull some weeds. Plant a new shrub. Make a rock walking path with your own rocks! You’ve got plenty of those all over the place; use them to make your yard beautiful. Just between you and me, I have taken some gorgeous rock beauties from out behind my property and made some lovely creations in my garden. Too bad I can’t lift the really big ones!

Here’s a P.S. to my article about skunks: My yard was being roto-tilled nightly by the young fellow in the pic shown here, a hog-nosed skunk, one of the larger Arizona varieties. He was smart enough to outwit the professional animal trapper I hired and refused to enter any of the four traps waiting for him!

The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke has a website: for all up to date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.