Santa Fe Cholla

And Away We Go

I’ve packed an arsenal of high SPF sunblocks, camera gear, and several light, long-sleeved shirts and am now on my way to the desert. The forecast says it will be 111°F in Phoenix when we arrive and I am already imagining myself in the Arrested Development scene where Michael reaches for the door handle of

Grow Write Guild: Creative writing prompts for gardeners

Grow Write Guild: A Spring Day

Click here to see larger. It’s been interesting to see how differently people react to the Grow Write Guild prompts. Some people say they’re too easy; others too hard. I’m behind schedule with my responses and was very tempted to throw in a super easy one for number 4, but I promised myself from the


6 Hardy Succulent Sedums for Your Garden and Pots

I am always on the lookout for drought tolerant plants that will thrive with little effort through my region’s paradoxical climate (hot summers and cold winters). Cold hardy sedums were a trusted friend through the years when I gardened in a trifecta of challenging spaces: a hot rooftop garden, a community garden plot, and a

cactus garden by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Learning from Nature: Observations on Cold Hardy Cacti

Throughout my gardening life there have been many plants that I tried to grow with middling success, until I observed them growing in the wild. Sarracenia (pitcher plants), venus fly trap (Dioneae muscipula), episcia, and ginger are just a few that come to mind. Seeing them in their natural habitat helped me understand something about


Herbaria (January 16, 2013): The All Hardy Cacti Edition

As previously mentioned, I decided to stop posting weekly from my ongoing Herbaria project. However, I am still assembling the boxes and taking the photos each week and hope to make this into something bigger once the full year is up in May. Until then they will make an appearance now and again rather than

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

My Year in Gardening: 2012

Happy New Year! I wrote my first year-end wrap-up post in 2010 and continued with it in 2011. As I sit here at my desk the end of 2012 [note that I began compiling this post just before the New Year], the garden buried underneath a blanket of snow, I feel compelled to continue the

Photos by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Recently in My Garden + Assorted And Sundry

I’m on a staycation of sorts. The last month and a half was overbooked and I’m exhausted. Burned out. Frazzled. Fried. I am trying to relearn that there is nothing noble or brag-worthy about working yourself to the bone at the expense of your health and wellbeing. There is much gardening and preserving to do.

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

California Poppy ‘Buttercream’

This soft and creamy version of the typically orange California native poppies are just starting to bloom in my Dry Garden Bed. Despite my love of orange I went with the cream flowers because there are too many other colours in that bed and it would have been chaos. I also love the unusual.

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Cold Hardy Opuntia (Winter)

At least a decade has passed since I first discovered and started growing cold hardy opuntia and yet it still comes as a surprise that they exist, like some mythical unicorn come to life. And there are so many of them! Some have thick paddles like the big opuntia that produce edible pears in southern