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Still not ripe:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, January tomatoes

However, the plants are still growing and flowering. Recently, it’s been unseasonably warm in Phoenix – it was 74 degrees two days ago (it has since been raining and the temps dropped slightly). But in December, there were several days where the temps flirted with freezing. (I kept the plants covered for at least a week.)

The plants would definitely prefer hotter temps and longer periods of sunshine. They’re tomatoes, after all.

I’m interested to see if the fruits will ripen anyway. I’m encouraged that the plants are growing despite the poorer conditions.

This has been one of my favorite plant experiments! I can’t wait to see what happens!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, January tomatoes


Oh hey lookee, an actual post about plants! Imagine that – on a plant blog!

I’ve been doing some limited gardening, finally, now that it’s cooling off in Phoenix (cooling off means high 90s). I’m not sure how the plants will do, as this is my first time gardening in a low desert. But I figured I would try.

It’s been oddly reassuring to do something so familiar in an unfamiliar place.

I found a basil plant with three different types of basil at the grocery store for $2. So I planted them in a container by my back door. (The back door faces east, the front door faces north, which is no bueno.)

Right away, one of the basil plants began to flower:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, basil plant trying to flower

While the flowers are pretty, I snipped them off because I’d like the plant to concentrate on growing leaves, not going to seed. It’s too early in this venture to let the plant do what it wants to do – I’m the boss, haha!

In the coming days, I’ll show you more of what I’ve been planting.

Then soon – not to get everyone’s hopes up or anything – but sometime soon, there will actually be an Ask the Experts post and perhaps even a Plant Puzzler as well. I can’t say what day, as that will depend a lot on my schedule and Expert Dottie’s health. But it should be right around the corner.

I hope to see you back here!

Hello! I still haven’t gotten my Experts Panel post together for you – it’s been a busy last few days – sorry about that! So here’s a photo of pretty flowers instead:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, pretty Hollyhocks

Because I have a fondness for soft petals on thorny plants.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, optunia flowers

I know everyone in the world considers it a weed, but I have a soft spot for Globe Mallow. I mean, the flowers are adorable, right?

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Globe Mallow

Yes, very cute!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, early sunflowers

Is it early for sunflowers to be blooming? It seems early. But not surprising, I guess, with all the rain this ol’ desert has been getting lately.

Good To Grow, Liza's plants, Zauschneria the plant with goals

The California fuchsia is blooming already! She’s not supposed to bloom until the fall. But like last year, she couldn’t wait. Which means I’m in store for gorgeous blooms all summer long.

The plant is Zauschneria or more technically speaking, Epilobium. It’s drought tolerant and grows in full sun. Pretty much maintenance free. People say the reason the plants bloom in the fall is to help the hummingbirds have extra food before they migrate south for the winter. They are bird pollinated plants, as the tubular shape of the flowers is prohibitive to bees.

I can attest to how much the hummingbirds love this plant. Maybe even more than I love this plant. Which is saying a lot!!!!

I’d never see lemon balm bloom before, so I was very intrigued when I noticed the plant beginning to change (the stems started getting taller, sortof like what basil and oregano do when they start to flower).

I kept an eye on it, and soon enough, spotted the itty bitty flowers:

Good To Grow, Liza's  photos, lemon balm blooming

So cute!

Good To Grow, Liza's  photos, lemon balm blooming

Aaaand hard to see unless you get right up in the plant’s grill.

My garden in its current state:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, backdoor container garden oasis

Not a lot going on. No summer crops, for reasons that will become apparent later this month.

The maroon container has oregano (flowering), some garlic, chives, and some parsley. The orange one has Zauschneria, or California Fuchsia, which has already started blooming. It’s supposed to be a fall bloomer, but no one told the plant. That container also has a blue Penstemon, thyme and some sedum.

The purple container had some garlic until I accidentally harvested it today:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, backdoor container garden oasis

I thought I’d killed all the garlic by not watering it enough – I haven’t used the drip irrigation because the timer froze over the winter and I haven’t replaced it. But when I went to pull the garlic, I found that there were some bulbs in the soil after all. So that was cool.

Also pictured growing: Lemon balm and more oregano, vinca, hollyhocks, plus a handful of garlic shoots and onions.

Seems strange not to have tomatoes and peppers growing, but that’s just how it’s working out this year.

How about you? Is your summer garden in full swing?

Oooh, Hollyhocks are blooming all over Albuquerque right now. They’re so pretty!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, hollyhock flower

Also, you still have time to guess the current puzzler, in which I asked if this flower was real or fake:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Leave your best guess in the comments section. I’ll reveal the answer and the winners tomorrow after an all-new Ask the Experts Panel. There will be imaginary prizes galore for all who play. Good luck!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.