Jan 30, 2004, 9:13 AM
Post #2 of 8
Many things grow very well indeed here, with very little effort, while other things have to be coddled beyond their worth. First, we're at 6400-ft altitude, mostly a desert with a serious water shortage, and it can get over 100 in May, under freezing in December. The rainy season is June-Oct., usually a half hour or hour heavy shower in the late afternoon those months. We get something like 27 inches of rain a year almost totally in those 5 months, far more than Phoenix's 7 inches a year, but not enough to a lot of plants.
Even in the winter, the place has far more flowers than you might expect. In my courtyard, flourishing with very little effort, are poinsettia trees, a rubber tree, palm trees, citrus trees, bougainvillea, and day lilies. On my porch and rooftop are geraniums, a frosted herb garden, hibiscus and more bougainvillea. Some people do well with roses. The pioneer gringo to this town, Stirling Dickinson, who encouraged US artists on the GI bill to start living here after WWII, started a wondrful orchid garden which still flourishes.
There is a Garden Club here which does wonders in spreading info on gardening tips appropriate to this area and which has a new project, to support the city's meager budget in maintaining and improving Juarez Park, a marvel that reminds me of the San Diego Zoo vegetation where it is maintained well.
This area grows a lot of vegetables for export, such as broccoli. Someone put it, we don't export broccoli, we export our dwindling water. But our farmers have to eat. Friends have been unable to grow US midwest tomatoes like Big Boy, but the roma tomatoes seem to be easy to grow--the markets are full of them. Corn here is white big kernels, tough as field corn to me, and only a few have been able to grow our smaller sweet corn here. Lawns are a ridiculous luxury in this desert and should be outlawed, IMO, but some places have them.
So it's like any place, some things grow well, other things don't. SMA was greener than I expected snce I came from Phoenix before this, but it's not like a rainforest!