Curb AppealPlant for color and texture, and watch out for frost
Of two distinct landscape styles — traditional style, green and lush with foundation shrubs, or quasi-desert, with low water use — the former is the style most favored in our vicinity.
The best look requires appropriate layering and mix of texture and color, explains Melinda Walton, co-owner of Berridge Nurseries on Camelback Road. Roses are popular as a hedge, especially the Iceberg Rose. This rose, which produces white flowers, blooms frequently throughout the year — except for what Walton refers to as a forced dormancy in December and January — although somewhat slower during the hot months of summer. Also popular in our vicinity is Little Ollie, a dwarf olive bush with silver-grey foliage.
Photos: Iceberg Rose, Little Ollie, Myoporum
Those are two of numerous options homeowners have for low shrubbery; there are fewer available for ground cover. Trailing varieties of lantana — with white, purple or yellow flowers — are easy to control and maintain. If you want a more lush appearance, go for the wedelia. And then there’s myoporum, which Walton describes as “like a green carpet that just hugs the ground” as she notes that most people don’t want to see any dirt or any of the decorative granite commonly used to cover landscape beds.
Spring will be the time to plant bare-root roses, but now is a great time to get the beds ready — turning over the soil and adding fertilizer. Berridge offers free rose classes every weekend in January to help you get the best results.
Other special care for your garden this time of year is sheltering vulnerable plants from frost. Most vines are frost-tender, notes Walton, also naming lantana, hibiscus, geraniums — in fact, most flowers — and desert plants, too, which are popular here as accents for the garden. There is a special frost cloth available that’s breathable, “so you can leave it on for several days” and not suffer the inconvenience of repeatedly putting the cover on and off during extended frosts, says Walton, explaining household staples such as sheets are serviceable but become heavy when wet and are better not left on too long. And burlap sacks and other heavy materials are best avoided altogether.
4647 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
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