By Diana Elizabeth Steffen
Hello from Phoenix! While most of the country is enjoying a beautiful winter wonderland right now, those of us in Zone 9 are enjoying our extended gardening season. I wanted to share some photos from my garden, and a few products I’ve added to my raised garden beds from Gardener’s Supply Company. I’d also love to share what we’re growing out here.
During my visit to Switzerland last year I was enchanted by their gardens, and I knew that I wanted to add height to my own garden with an obelisk. I’ve had my eye on the CedarLast Obelisk that stands at 7’6″ (another option is the Pyramid Trellis) and I wanted to stain it a dark color. (Read about my visit to Switzerland here.)
Gardener’s has a new exterior wood stain and I loved the graphite gray. It took my husband and I maybe a little over an hour to stain it together and less than an hour to assemble and position it — total time, 2 hours.
You can see that the CedarLast Obelisk is very tall! Our home is currently undergoing an expansion so that’s what’s going on in the background.
I decided that this bed needed some white, purple and green accents so we headed to our local nursery and bought lavender, rosemary, stevia (white flowers), and when it came to deciding what type of climbing plant I wanted, instead of peas — which would be great — I went for the Dutchman’s Pipe also known as a pipevine. This particular bed doesn’t get the best water and these plants prefer well-drained soil so I think it will be pretty happy here.
If the raised garden beds looks familiar, they should – they are the raised bed corners, and in-line connectors – height is 10”. I recommend these corners to all my friends who start their gardening journey. Our boards are redwood that I attempted painted with diluted milk paint. While ideally it would be best for us to plant in the ground given the extreme summer heats we have, a problem I have is bermuda grass and nut grass.
So without having to add concrete divider in the ground, we’ve been fine so far with the raised beds — and every fall to control any massive nut grass take overs from summer I layer newspaper, new soil and mulch which helps reset my beds before I plant seeds and starters.
My basil is still happy and thriving — it will be happy until January or February when temps really drop here and freeze. Some parts of Phoenix however, basil survives the frost, I’ve seen it myself when I visited a friend who lives downtown and I was shocked!
Summertime my basil goes crazy (I used Jardin Half-Round Plant Supports to keep them from toppling over and blocking my other flowers) and something I recall learning when I first started gardening seven years ago was to pinch off the flowers. It was a friend’s mother who told me when I showed her the garden, it was just something I didn’t know and had wondered why my basil leaves looked different than when I originally bought them. It shows how we can teach one another at all stages — and I’m still eagerly learning.
Right now I’m growing artichoke (from starters and some came back and I split them), peppers, nasturtium, green onion, and lots of flowers — I have to space them accordingly knowing by spring the beds will be full.
I mix florals with my vegetables for color, and while it seems odd to have a rose tree in the middle of your raised bed, I love the visual height and color it brings to the beds. I am heavily influenced by French gardens and I collect roses as much as I seem to collect citrus trees.
Since we added peppers this season to the beds, I used these Pepper and Eggplant Stakes (set of 3). They are so helpful to keep them from toppling over. In Phoenix our peppers don’t get incredibly large, maybe fist size but our eggplants do very well!
So that’s what’s going on in Zone 9 here in Phoenix! We loving our weather and time to be outside pruning and gardening. Hope you enjoyed my little tour, thank you so much for reading!
Diana Elizabeth Steffen is a lifestyle blogger and photographer. She and her husband live in a 1952 brick home on a former citrus grove in Central Phoenix. She regularly blogs about home, garden, style and shares efficient living products and solutions – with camera in hand. Read about her latest projects and discoveries on her blog: www.dianaelizabethblog.com.