- Author: Deirdre Shore
BY DEIRDRE SHORE -
A bit of history -
My gardening experience began as a child, helping my parents in the family garden. My love of gardening was nurtured as I grew to include not only flowers, shrubs and trees, but also vegetable gardening.
I attended Victor Valley Community College and then Cal Poly Pomona where I was able to learn more about what I love. Earning my AS in Horticulture and my BS in Agronomy - Gardening, next to family and horses it's my favorite thing to do.
Hubby and I moved to the High Desert, close to the Victor Valley, in the early 80's making Hesperia and then Phelan our home. Then we moved to North Carolina for a year. We missed our family so much we returned to the land of Sunshine and Blue skies. Recently making our home in Lucerne Valley, California.
Our home is located on what one might call a five acre blank canvas, as it has no landscape. The front half of the property was void of any plants except a few Russian Thistles (aka tumble weeds) and a Creosote bush or two. The back half has many more Creosote bushes and lots of tumble weeds. There is a small back yard consisting of two Ornamental Plum trees. One which was chewed off at the trunk at about 2 foot. Both looked sickly and really should have been removed. However, they are improving and seem to be doing better.
Our first project was to establish our wish list. Wish list meant Pine trees around the entire acreage as a wind break, with some shade trees and of course fruit trees. Roses, honey suckle, jasmine as well as some grape vines, black and raspberry bushes, a flower bed, ornamental bushes, and last but not least a vegetable garden. Oh I almost forgot ~ a small patch of grass in the back yard.
However, our reality list will be so much more conservative. Will will be concentrating on the front half of our property for now. Our property is surrounded on three sides by dirt roads and one really nice neighbor to the west. So that adds another dilemma to overcome. Although, we want to use drought tolerant plants as much as possible in our landscaping. Our goal is to be able to dual purpose our plants too.
- Author: Carol Constantine
BY CAROL CONSTANTINE -
Nothing says - holiday season - as much as the sight and scent of plants that we bring into homes at this time of year. Our botanic allies help raise our spirits and make us cheerful.
Another popular holiday plant is the Poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrina. It has very tiny flowers, but we like its spectacular red or cream or green bracts. Poinsettia will also grow outdoors in our warm climate and may reach 10 to 13 feet, although it may become leggy. If you want that great color for next year, the plant must have bright sunlight each day, plus 12 hours of total darkness for five consecutive nights.
- Author: Vikki S. Gerdes
BY VIKKI GERDES -
Just wanted to share my good news. I entered the Cucamonga Valley Water District 7th annual Water Savvy Landscape Contest this year due to results of a water audit (and re-do of our irrigation), taking Debby Figoni's excellent workshops, and a lot of hard work with my husband to reduce our water use by 65% on our 1/2 acre lot since the start of the project(a few years ago).
All the best,
San Bernardino Certified Master Gardener
- Author: Kathy DeRouen
BY KATHY DEROUEN -
Not so long ago, my husband and I - discovered - the forty acres of Mojave Desert that was to become our - Desert Disneyland - and home.
1978 was an El Nino year, and Dry Morongo Creek flowed bank to bank past the highway connecting San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Perry and I set off to explore the canyon formed by the creek and the effects of the flood.
Perry was born and raised in the Coachella Valley and lived most of his life on farms and ranches. He grew up exploring the Ancient Salton Sea, earthquake and flood created canyons, and surrounding environments on his horse Bucky. I grew up in Phoenix, unaware of an environment beyond my home, school, shopping center within walking distance, high school and college campuses. Two less likely life partners and soul mates could not have been imagined. But, life has a way of happening while we’re making other plans, and we found each other.
As we explored Dry Morongo Creek, we marveled at the power of the flood, the beauty of the canyon, sudden springs and riparian zones, and the signs of wildlife Perry pointed out to me: deer tracks, wildlife spoor, and the hummingbirds that had enchanted me since I moved to the desert after college.
We came upon a labyrinth of unpaved roads. “Someone owns this land; let’s buy it,” Perry declared. I couldn’t imagine how he knew the land was privately owned; I had seen no “For Sale” signs. “Because someone cut these roads with their tractor….” Sure enough, a visit to the 29Palms County Assessor’s office verified private ownership of a previously homesteaded 160-acre parcel; it was now divided into 40-acre parcels. We tracked down the owner, made a down payment and began dreaming of our own Little House in the Desert. “But how can we live without electricity?” “No problem, we’ll have a solar home, and you won’t know the difference,” Perry assured me.
And so we began dreaming of our own nature preserve in the Mojave Desert wilderness. Thirty-five years later, through winds, weather, fire and other man- and nature-made events, we still marvel at the beauty of our surroundings. Hummingbirds, rabbits, bobcats, coyotes, resident and migrant birds, and occasional deer, bear, and mountain lion have never ceased to captivate and thrill us. And, almost always, the lights have shone brightly.
Next: Designing and building an off-grid solar home
- Author: Deirdre "DeeDee" Shore
Here in the Lucerne Valley, Ca we have plenty of wind, sand, sunshine and wildlife. The sunshine being most enjoyable, however, when gardening in the "High Desert" some of the others are not necessarily desirable traits. Providing protection from the wind and sand is obtainable in a variety of ways. For our vegetable garden we plan to install corrugated metal panels that are about two foot high around the perimeter of the garden fence. The panels will provide some wind protection, as well as a bit of shade during the hot summer months while also keeping some of the native critters at bay.