A yard full of wildflowers with #OXOSpringGardening

by autumn on May 14, 2015

Autumn Makes & Does/ #OXOSpringGardening

For this #OXOSpringGardening post, I received the tools discussed free from OXO. My opinions are my own. 

I basically gave into the fact that my spring planting would be wildly late this year, as wrapping up book stuff has been all-consuming the past couple months. (I’m going to share some behind the scenes shots from the photoshoot soon, which was so fun!) Luckily, we have a long growing season and I have a bit of leeway.


However, I have been itching for months to get out and work on my yard. Literally right after I turned in my manuscript I went out and trimmed the heck out of our bonkers lady banks rose bush. That’s how I party! #pinkhouselife

Autumn Makes & Does/ #OXOSpringGardening

Another part of my delay in getting things going in our yard has also been a hefty dose of indecision. We don’t have grass in our yard, which I am SO thankful for in the desert, but instead our lot is covered with paver stones and concrete (pictured above). We have a few built in planters and some small holes that were left in the pavers to plant things, but otherwise no dirt. We have the smallest patch of grass next to our carport that I had hoped to dig up for garden space, but when I tried to do so, discovered that there was concrete under it!

Autumn Makes & Does/ #OXOSpringGardening

So, I went back and forth about how best to use my small, odd dirt spaces for growing food. When we bought our house, one of the planters along the back of our lot had shriveled up tomato plants in it, so I decided to continue the tradition and make that our tomato planter. Paul’s mom gave me some of her tomato starts, a bizarre hailstorm ensued, and my tomato starts took a beating. She had some extras, so I re-planted a bunch and hope some of them will be successful (and we won’t have another hailstorm)! I used the OXO trowel and the serrated edges easily dug through our super-compact, sandy soil. It’s also significantly wider than the trowel I already owned, which made the job super-quick.

Autumn Makes & Does/ #OXOSpringGardening

The biggest planter we have is along the front and side of our house. I’ve had a lot of strife over this planter because it’s right up against the front of our foundation, so I haven’t really wanted to plant anything in there that required much water. For a while, I considered filling it with gravel because I was also looking for something low maintenance. It has been neglected for a few months and was harboring all sorts of wild grasses, but I noticed one of them was a super-cute plant called mexican evening primrose. I decided that native plants and wildflowers were a good solution to my low-maintenance, low-water planter situation, so I sought out the seeds from a native seed vendor in my area and am going to give it a try. I pulled everything in the planter that wasn’t a mexican primrose and used the OXO hand rake to help clear it out. Because the tines are adjustable, it worked especially well on my small, sometimes oddly shaped planters. I’ll share an update when they come up (hopefully!)

In March, I began an apprenticeship in herbalism, learning about plants of the Sonoran Desert, which has really been influencing what I want to plant in my yard! Every time I fall in love with a new plant, I want to grow it. So, for now, I’m going to stick to putting native plants and wildflowers in my available dirt because I know they’re what will grow best in our sandy desert soil! We have a large concrete slab that I believe the previous owners used for a hot tub and I’m going to look into placing a raised bed there for growing food.

Autumn Makes & Does/ #OXOSpringGardening

A lot of the stuff I have left to do in my yard is way less fun than planting wildflowers. We have a pyracantha next to our studio that, like the lady banks rose, had gotten completely out of control. It’s in a very odd spot and at times I’ve wondered about chopping it down completely. However, there’s a recipe in Saving the Season for pyracantha jelly (has anyone tried it?) that I’m really curious about, so I’ll keep it around for a little while at least. Anyway, it was growing up and onto the studio roof, so I had been wanting to deal with that. I could not believe how easily the little OXO bypass pruners cut through the pyracantha branches, which were probably almost  ½ inch thick. I also used them to clean up our trumpet vine, which had worked its way through our fence!

What’s growing around your yard, patio, or fire escape right now?



Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Dwight Giles Jr. May 16, 2015 at 2:39 am

Hi Autumn,
This is so cool what you are doing.
I am proud of you.
Uncle Dwight


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