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The Botanist Bartender

Jan Groth

Master Gardener, landscape designer, plant addict

Plant trees that


Organic gardening tips

Pet-friendly Plants

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Meet Jan Groth

Master Gardeners

Landscaping Tips & Vignettes Helping Your Plants Through the Heat of Summer



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Publisher’s note


ur June 2021 edition of W - Cochise County Women’s Magazine is all about digging your hands in the dirt, at least we hope it will bring out the gardener in you or inspire you to add different varieties of vegetables, flowers and landscaping vignettes to your yard. Our cover model for the gardening edition Jennifer Sorenson is none other than Cochise County Master Publisher Gardener extraordinaire Jan Groth. Jan’s expertise in gardening and her vast knowledge of growing almost anything in the high desert is intertwined throughout this issue. I could listen to her for hours talking about the different plants in the Discovery Garden that is located on the UArizona College of Applied Science and Technology campus in



Sierra Vista. I for one am looking forward to the Discovery Garden plant sale when things get back to normal. If you don’t have space for a garden, but are looking for ways to add color to your facade or grow veggies or herbs check out the feature on container gardening. Chelsea Schlarbaum also shares ideas on aquaponic gardening and easy plants to grow. Make sure you checkout her article on botanical bartending if you are interested in using herbs and other plants for unique cocktails. Of course, W columnist Alycia McCloud had to share her non-green thumb on five ways to kill a plant, but as an animal lover and mom to at least five cats, she also shares pet safe plants to have in your home. Shar Porier shares stories about planting trees that give back as well as an article on sustainable gardening. Plus we have so much more in our gardening edition. We also have something new to share with you. We launched a new e-commerce

shop local website filled with Cochise County businesses. We realize that it has become easier to click a button and shop online these days, but we decided to find a way for local businesses to provide the online shopping experience for Cochise County all in one place. Check out to shop local and support small businesses in our area. See all the participating businesses to date on page 3. And remember, when you shop locally you are supporting someone’s dream. If you’re a local business owner and want to learn more about participating email As always, we appreciate you taking the time to read W — Cochise County Women’s Magazine, and we encourage you to shop local at the businesses who support us. If you are interested in being one of our models, have story suggestions or want to provide your feedback please email me at m

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JUNE 2021


Meet Jan Groth: Master Gardener, landscape designer, plant addict BY DANA COLE


lants are Jan Groth’s passion. “I am pathologically addicted to collecting and growing an enormous variety of plants,” she said. “I cannot help myself. “ As a Master Gardener, horticulture instructor and accomplished landscape designer, Groth has made a name for herself in the world of plant sciences. While most locals know her as a botanical expert, Groth’s early career path was very different. “I actually hold a bachelor’s of science degree in medical technology and spent 18 years in clinical laboratory science and management,” she said. “It’s a field I also enjoyed, until plants and gardening caused me to go into a whole different direction.” Back when Groth was still working in the medical field, a neighbor gave her three perennial transplants from his pollinator garden. The plants flourished, burst into bloom and attracted hummingbirds. Ecstatic with the results of that introduction to gardening in Southeastern Arizona’s high desert, the experience sparked her fascination for gardening and spawned a new passion for plants. Sometime in the late eighties, Groth enrolled in her first Master Gardener class. She never looked back. “I was immediately hooked on horticulture, and proceeded to take every available horticulture class I could find,” said Groth. “In 1995, I left the medical field to pursue my newly found love of plant life, and purchased a garden center.” Groth remembers spending hours pouring over plant catalogs. She started taking more classes, read numerous plant books and acquired various certifications. After four years in the retail nursery industry, she transitioned into landscape design and installation.

When approached by Cochise College to teach a “Home Gardening in the Southwest” course in 2000, Groth immediately accepted the offer. “I taught the course for several semesters, and discovered another passion. Teaching. I love sharing information with others and hopefully getting them as excited and hooked on gardening as I am.” Twelve years later, Groth taught her first Master Gardener class for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Sierra Vista, and recently completed teaching her tenth Master Gardener series. Today, Groth serves as the Master Gardener Instructor and assistant in extension for the Cochise County University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. While the position is filled with a number of “rewarding responsibilities,” Groth says teaching is one part of the job she loves most. “I enjoy teaching both the public and my students, as well as managing the ongoing development and maintenance of the Discovery Gardens at the University of Arizona Sierra Vista campus,” she said. “What a lucky lady I am to be doing something I adore!” Groth says she doesn’t deny being overly passionate, even addicted, to growing plants. “My favorite t-shirt says, ‘It’s not hoarding if it’s plants,’” she said. “Many of the native plants that grow well in our area have characteristics that can enhance your landscape with attractive flowers, groundcovers and foliage. We’re fortunate to live in a region with so much botanical diversity.” Jan and her husband Randy Groth arrived in Sierra Vista from Missouri in 1976 when Randy was in the Army, stationed at Fort Huachuca. “Initially, our plan was to stay in the area for two years while Randy fulfilled his army commitment, then return to our home in Springfield, Missouri. But we fell in love with Sierra Vista and the high desert, and never left.” m

What is a Master Gardener? BY DANA COLE


outheastern Arizona’s warm temperatures, arid climate and tough soil conditions can create frustrating gardening challenges. That’s where Master Gardeners are a valuable resource, especially for those new to the high desert. Master Gardeners are university-trained volunteers who serve as community educators. After going through the required training, they work with the University of Arizona in providing researchbased information on gardening and the To learn more about environment. the local Master Gardener The Master program, visit the website at Gardener program was started by a county mg, or google Cochise horticultural agent out County Master Gardeners. Master Gardener of Washington state instructor and coordinator in 1972, whose job Jan Groth can be reached included answering by calling 520-559-7078, or gardening questions by email: jangroth@email. from the community. The local University When the volume of of Arizona Cooperative questions coming Extension Office is located at through his office 1140 Colombo Ave. in Sierra became overwhelming, Vista. he developed a scienceThe number is 520-458based horticultural 8728, ext. 2141. training program for amateur gardening volunteers who, in turn, helped him answer the community’s questions and assisted with gardening-related community outreach projects. JUNE 2021


What is a Master Gardener? From page 7 “The master gardener program became a huge success, and today there are programs in all 50 states,” said Jan Groth, a master gardener instructor and coordinator for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Sierra Vista. The Cochise County program was started in 1987 by Cooperative Extension Agent Deborah Young, and has experienced significant growth through the years. Locally, Master Gardeners help answer questions, participate in educational activities such as workshops and school presentations and manage a seed library where free seeds and planting advice are provided to the community. “Our Master Gardeners also participate in the ongoing development and maintenance of the Discovery Gardens at the University of Arizona campus in Sierra Vista,” Groth said. “The Discovery Gardens, which opened to the public in October 2017, represents the first educational botanical demonstration garden in Cochise County.” Master Gardeners are representatives of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Groth said. Training is designed to ensure the information provided is locally appropriate. “To become a certified Master Gardener, one must first want to learn more about gardening and landscaping in our high desert, and successfully complete the Master Gardener training course,” Groth said. The course is a 16-week class series that covers basic botany, soil science, proper planting techniques, plant nutrition and fertilizers, pruning, water use and irrigation, pest management, fruit tree care, and much more. The class series typically starts the last Wednesday in January and runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday through May. In addition to completing the course, participants are required to complete 50 community volunteer hours within a year of graduation by volunteering for approved activities that help educate the public in efficient and effective gardening and landscaping. Volunteer hours add up quickly, said Groth, noting that it’s not unusual for students to complete the 50-hour requirement prior to graduation. The benefit of the volunteer hours is two-fold, Groth said. Not only do they provide the community with valuable science-based horticulture information, but the student benefits by furthering the concepts derived from the class. To remain certified after the initial program year, a Master Gardener must complete 25 hours of volunteer work and 12 hours of continuing education each year. Groth, who just finished teaching her tenth Master Gardener class series, said, “Master Gardeners believe they help make changes in lives, both large and small changes. But beware. Gardening can become an addictive passion.” m 8

JUNE 2021

Watch for Replenish! Mini-Park BY DANA COLE


small piece of land west of the Discovery Gardens on the University of Arizona campus in Sierra Vista is about to go through a major transformation. With the help of funding from the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona and a community-wide collaborative effort, the vacant parcel will soon be developed into a mini-park for the community’s enjoyment. “This small, triangular-shaped parcel sits across the road from the ‘Path to Higher Learning,’ a popular exercise path built by the City of Sierra Vista,” said Jan Groth, Master Gardener Instructor and Coordinator at U of A Cooperative Extension. “The path runs along the north border of the U of A and Cochise College campuses, ending at Buena High School. Every day, people of all ages use the path. It’s often dotted with walkers, joggers, dog-walkers, baby strollers, bicyclists and athletes in training.” Wanting to create an aesthetically inviting outdoor space for the community to stop, rest and “replenish,” the Cochise County Master Gardeners

Association (CCMGA) wrote a Legacy Foundation grant proposal for funds to develop Replenish! Mini-Park. The Legacy Foundation awarded CCMGA a $47,000 grant which will make the mini-park a reality. “The Master Gardeners Association designed the Mini-Park and proposes to do all plant and irrigation installation,” Groth said. “We are both thrilled and grateful to the Legacy Foundation for this generous grant.” The CCMGA also invited the following collaborators into the grant proposal: University South Foundation, as half-owners of the land parcel, and Cochise College, as owners of the other half of the land. Both have agreed to permit the use of the land for the Replenish! development project, Groth said. The City of Sierra Vista has agreed to fund a safe crossing from the exercise path to the Replenish! park. Fox Fabrication has agreed to donate a new, custom handrail for a sidewalk stairway, while artist Debbie Parra is donating stained glass artwork for the project. A private donor is sponsoring a retaining wall to control water run-

off and soil erosion. “Through the tremendous generosity of the Legacy Foundation, Replenish! MiniPark will become a reality for our community,” Groth said. Development is set to begin in July 2021, with hopes the park will be in use before Thanksgiving. “Replenish! will be a beautiful, contemporary mini-park positioned midway along the Path to Higher Learning,” Groth said. “The goal is to give the community a safe, comfortable rest stop, or a meeting place half-way between UA Sierra Vista and Cochise College campuses.” Once completed, the park will feature a small shade structure with seating, a rehydration station with a water fountain for both people and their pets, a phone-charging station, shade trees, flowering native and desert-adapted pollinator plants, metal art and benches scattered about the area. Replenish! is designed to provide a safe, relaxing space where outdoor exercisers can catch a breath, or friends can meet to enjoy the surroundings in an intimate setting. m

Landscaping tips and vignettes

at the University of Arizona Sierra Vista campus



ith so many people taking an interest in gardening and landscaping, they are either installing a new look, or sprucing up and augmenting a previous one. Here are just a few tips to provoke thought or ideas. Again, just a few. The possibilities are endless. n If your yard is blank, start with tall verticals. Start with trees. Trees add great environmental benefits, mental health and well-being benefits, and mature trees will add financial value to your home… as much as five to 15 percent to the bottom line. n Avoid placing a tree in the middle of the front yard. It can dwarf a house and divide it in half. Some people believe a tree planted right in the middle of the yard and in front of a door will block the good energy into the house. Plant trees toward the sides of the house to give it height and a frame. If you already have a tree in the middle, planting trees toward the sides will give the house balance. n Planting vignettes around trees creates areas of added interest in your landscape. Vignettes are collections of plants and hardscapes. Each vignette becomes its own small garden as a focal point, or a place to view and rest your eyes. Vignettes around a tree can contain some favorite plants, rocks or boulders, and hardscapes such as a bird bath, a shepherd’s hook with a bird feeder, or a bench. n Mesquite trees make wonderful anchors for vignettes. Since they are beanproducers, or legumes, mesquite trees have the ability to fix nitrogen into the soil,

making it more nutritious and welcoming for plant life. n Create a rock garden beneath trees by using pollinator plants, succulents, and herbs scattered among the rock. Evergreen herbs such as thyme, marjoram, and oregano are beautiful year-round landscape plants and they make yummy additions for the kitchen. n Add succulents like agaves and yuccas to a leafy landscape. The succulents contribute texture and structure that make the rest of the leafy plants stand out even more. Try it and see the difference! n The reverse is also true. If you have a garden composed only of cacti and succulents, add a leafy plant or two, such as lantana or a salvia. A few leafy native or desert-adapted plants in a cactus garden softens the edges just a bit and makes the unique structure of cacti stand out. n Large potted plants nestled in shrubbery beneath a tree or next to a bench can add both interest and texture to a landscape design. Just be sure the pot is straight. A crooked pot can alter the entire look of a landscape and make it look unnurtured. n Another idea is to add a path. For example, if you have a vegetable garden or raised beds, create a footpath to the garden. Paths are endearing, interesting, and add a gentle feature to your landscape. n With solar lighting becoming so affordable, consider adding solar lights to your path, under a tree, or among shrubbery. The lights make a welcoming difference when you arrive home after dark. These are just a very few ideas. We bet your imagination is already working! m JUNE 2021



through the



n May of 1977 we moved into our first home in Sierra Vista. Being a young, first time home-owner and a totally inexperienced gardener, I was outside trying to figure a starting point to polish up a yard that had been long forgotten before we moved in. My new next door neighbor, longtime gardener, Betty Blom, came out with her welcoming hello and we began to chat about our yards. Of all the things she said to me that day, one sentence stuck with me. “If you can just get your plants through the heat of summer and keep them alive, you’ve got it made! Don’t get discouraged.” I hear her voice in my head every year at this time. Summer is brutal, especially June. The earth is brown, dry, and hot. The grasses are deep beige and void of moisture. The mesquites are hunkered down in appearance, waiting for the monsoon season. Even the evergreen native Emory Oaks in the Huachucas will often drop leaves in their defensive action of saving internal moisture and energy. The heat intensifies each day as the month of June progresses. A friend from Alabama once visited for the first time during the month of June and asked, “How can you stand to live in such a harsh climate, much less, even try to garden!?” But she had not seen July. More importantly, she had not seen August! The heat we loathe in June is a necessity for bringing in the glorious monsoon of July and August, which, in turn, produces a desert beauty which is second to no other place I’ve seen. The desert beauty of JulyAugust-September is a magnificent thing to experience. Ok. Now, back to June. The searing heat can cause young plants to struggle and can even cause set-back


JUNE 2021

in well-established garden and landscape plants. While it sounds like common sense, and it’s easier said than done in the desert heat — just try to not let the soil around your plants dry out. That is most important. Roots draw up water which is then transpired by the leaves. If the water source dries up, the leaves begin to lose water from their cells. The plant may then lose its turgidity and begin to wilt. As the drying process progresses, more and more cells start to die. Even a small wilt from water stress can cause damage to a plant. Many people believe that morning is the most beneficial time of day to water plants. But water any time you see the first signs of wilt or stress. One unique phenomenon here is that some of the larger-leaved plants, such as squash, will droop slightly during the hottest part of the day, even when it’s had enough water. This is a normal reaction which is considered to be a protective measure used by the plant. In this instance, when the sun gets too intense for the leaf, it shifts its angle by wilting so that its surface receives less sunlight. As the day cools off, the plant will regain its turgor, provided it’s had enough water. Another important point in keeping your plants watered well in June is that wellhydrated, less-stressed plants are far more resistant to attack from pest and disease. Water-stressed plants will become an invitation to pests and disease processes. There are a few measures that can be taken to keep your plants a little healthier during the challenging month of June – most of which you’ve heard before, and most of which are common sense. The most important – when you water, water thoroughly and deeply to ensure the entire root mass, large or small, has had a complete drink. Then, you can water a little less frequently. Absolutely the most frequent mistake folks make when

watering is to water too shallowly. This practice causes the roots to stay in the upper portion of the soil, near the surface, which is the only place they can find water. The problem? This surface part of the soil is the hottest and most exposed part of the roots’ environment. Plus, the remaining section of the root ball always remains thirsty and does not develop health and vitality. Watering thoroughly and deeply will cause the roots to follow the water down to the level where they have a cooler environment and more constant source of moisture. Depending on the type of soil you have, “it takes approximately 1 gallon of water to saturate approximately 1 cubic foot of soil.” This is not exact math, but it’s close and a decent “rule of thumb”. So, envision the amount of area taken up by the roots of your plant, and give the appropriate number of gallons of water. Think about this when setting your irrigation system as well. Another common thing I hear is “I don’t know why my plant is doing poorly. I run my drip system every day!” When I ask the size of the emitter on the plant, it is a 1 GPH emitter. (1 gallon-per-hour). When I ask how long they’re running the system? The answer is frequently, “I run it for 15 minutes!” Again, let’s do the math. 1 gallon-perhour emitter running for 15 minutes has only delivered 1 quart of water, which will only penetrate an inch or two of soil, if that. Then, running that pattern every day gives moisture only in the top inch of soil, keeping the struggling roots only in that top inch where the soil is hot and baked. That would be like offering you ¼ cup of water occasionally when you’re thirsty and never giving you the full glass! All that said, install a sufficient number of emitters to deliver the sufficient number of gallons per hour, needed by the plant’s root size. Run the system for at least an

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hour, so that your calculated number of needed gallons is delivered. Then, run the system less frequently, determined by when the top couple of inches of soil begin to dry out. Speaking of irrigation systems, this is an important time to do maintenance – checking performance of your emitters while the system is running, checking the position of your emitters, and checking for leaks, etc. If you do not have an irrigation system, consider installing one. I resisted this for years, insisting that I hand-water everything, believing I was bonding with and checking on each of my plants as I hand-watered from the hose. Then, one year, I tried irrigation on a small section of my yard. What a wake-up call I experienced!! I had been so totally wrong! Yes, irrigation systems can have their annoyances. But, for every pound of irritation, you will experience 10 pounds of positive results in a) water savings b) time savings and most important c) huge difference in plant performance!!! If you do not have an irrigation system, water your plants, both young and established, with a slow-running garden hose on the ground so as to penetrate the soil deeply around your plants. Top-dress! Top-dress the soil beneath your plants with a mulch of your choice – compost, decomposed bark, decorative gravel, etc. This keeps the soil and roots cooler. This will help retard weed growth around your plants. Above all, this will help keep moisture in your plant’s root zone. (It will also keep the roots warmer in the winter!) Top-dressing is another essential lesson I learned the hard way. When I moved into our present home, I landscaped both

sides of a large driveway. I got the plants installed and the irrigation system in. But I only top-dressed one side of the driveway with decorative gravel, as I ran out of time. One weekend led to another and I never finished the other side. At the end of the season, the plants on the top-dressed side were nearly double in size, bloom, and vitality, as the soil had been kept cooler and moisture more efficiently retained. Visual proof!! Try to avoid applying fertilizers during the heat of June, as the roots’ ability to absorb nutrients is diminished during extreme heat. Wait until after the rains have begun, as the roots will be better hydrated and the soil temperatures will be cooler. While many areas of the country will tell you not to get leaves wet so as to avoid disease, in our dry heat of June, the leaves certainly do not stay wet for long – especially when watered in the morning. I like to spray many of my plants in the mornings for several reasons. 1) Many plants can take in extra moisture through their leaves or conifer needles. 2) Spraying off dust from leaves both eliminates habitats in which spider mites thrive and also allows the stomata in the leaves to “breathe” more efficiently. 3) Strong sprays of water on some plants may be proactive in helping to eliminate pests such as aphids, thrips, and whiteflies. Bottom line – water appropriately, efficiently, consistently, and top-dress your soil. Hang in there. Especially to those of you who have just moved here. June is a necessary challenge in the High Desert that leads us to a most beautiful season! m Jan Groth is the Master Gardener Instructor & Program Coordinator for the Cooperative Extension Cochise County, UA Sierra Vista

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WHItENING spEcIAls! AppoINtmENts AvAIlAblE EvENINGs ANd sAturdAys

at University of Arizona Sierra Vista BY DANA COLE


ose Gardens have long been special features on university campuses around the world. “Our local UArizona Sierra Vista campus is no exception, for it has a lovely rose garden of its own,” said Jan Groth, Master Gardener instructor and coordinator for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Cochise County. “Rose gardens not only offer great beauty for aesthetic value, but serve as places of contemplation and often provide a sense of well-being,” she added. Roses date back thousands of years and have been used throughout history for celebrations, burials, medicinal purposes, and as natural perfumes, said Groth, who noted that roses also have been used as symbols in heraldry and power, as well as in times of peace. “Throughout history, roses are symbolic of love and beauty and have served as a metaphor for life. For example, after encountering a rose’s thorns along its stem, you are met with a flower of magnificent beauty and mesmerizing fragrances. Such is life. After overcoming difficulty, you will find inner harmony, union, and happiness.” Roses come in a variety of colors, each symbolic of a different meaning. Examples of those meanings include the following: n Red roses symbolize romance, love, beauty and courage. n The red rosebud signifies both beauty and purity. n A thornless red rose means love at first sight. n Yellow roses symbolize friendship, joy, or new beginnings. n An orange rose symbolizes fascination, desire, and sensuality. n Dark pink roses indicate appreciation and gratitude, while a light pink rose is indicative of admiration and/or sympathy. n The white rose stands for innocence 12

JUNE 2021

and purity, as well as silence, secrecy and reverence. n A white rosebud is symbolic of girlhood. Brides often select them for their bridal bouquets. The rose garden at the University of Arizona in Sierra Vista was first planted by Master Gardener and community volunteers in 1995 when Weeks Roses donated 180 bare root plants. The donation to the university campus included 60 varieties of three each, Groth said. In addition, a central water fountain was donated by Ken and Nancy McCray. “The garden, now in its 26th year, still boasts 136 of the original roses donated in 1995,” said Groth, adding, “That is a stunning number, especially when you consider the fact that many public rose gardens replace their roses every 10 to 15 years.” The Cochise County Master Gardeners have taken responsibility for the Rose Garden’s maintenance. With a little pruning, fertilizer, and a “whole lotta love” Dennis Sands and his Master Gardener Rose Team are credited for bringing the rose garden into a state of beauty and health. The garden produces a “riotous show of color” throughout the spring, and will assuredly repeat the color storm throughout the growing season! m

Rose tips fr planting o Unive m the rsity o f Arizon a Exten Cooperat ive sion w www.c e bsite: edu. izona . • Sele c t healt plants hy , bare r if package d or oot p lants dry, im ar for a f merse in w e ew h ater • Plan ours. Decem t in midJanua ber throug h ry and W in Southe rn e in Ma stern Arizo rc n North h and Apr a, il in ern A r iz ona. • Co plants ntainerized c a n be p year-r lanted oun • Plan d. t in fert well-d ile, rain • Plan ed soil t w here roses r 6 hou eceive sun rs or m for ore. • Air c ir culatio impor n is tant • East . e rn exp is goo osu d roses for climbin re . g

Sierra Vista Community Gardens offers communal gardening approach



he Sierra Vista Community Gardens was created in 2012 by the local gardening community, so gardening opportunities could be available to all. The community garden is ideal for people who do not have space for a garden, or cannot always be around when the garden needs water. Located at 300 E. Wilcox Dr. in Sierra Vista, garden beds are leased to individuals for their use. “The large spaces are 3 by 20 feet for $15 a month, and the smaller spaces are 4 by 8 foot towers for $10 a month,” Hillebrand said. “We currently have 14 individuals who garden with us,” said Rebecca Hillebrand, one of the garden’s founding members. Along with the leased beds, the garden has communal areas with pomegranates, figs, pears, blackberries, peaches and herbs. The communal areas are for the gardeners who lease beds. “We welcome everyone interested in gardening, even those who have never gardened before,” Hillebrand said. “Gardening is a rewarding activity for everyone and it benefits the entire family.” And she would know. Born in Pennsylvania, Hillebrand grew up in a gardening family. “My parents and grandparents had gardens and my mother’s parents started a greenhouse business with my uncle,” Hillebrand said. So gardening was second nature to me.” After moving to Arizona to attend college at the UofA, Hillebrand did not have time to garden. Then came a job and children, so gardening was put off until her retirement in 2007. “My husband and I lived in the Philippines for six months after we retired, and while there, we were able to travel to China.” It was those visits that rekindled her interest in gardening. “In both countries, even those who live in tiny apartments grow vegetables and other plants on their balconies,” she said. “Throughout the countryside, there are many small vegetable gardens.” Inspired to start gardening, Hillebrand took the Cochise County Master Gardeners

Rebecca Hillebrand is one of the founding members of the Sierra Vista Community Gardens. The Sierra Vista Community Gardens is located at 300 E. Wilcox Dr. in Sierra Vista. For info call 520-249-8942 or email The website is www. For specific information about gardening in this area, the UArizona Cooperative Extension Cochise County Master Gardeners is an excellent resource. Visit the website at www. class in 2009. “I really enjoyed the class and was a certified Master Gardener for a couple of years,” she said. “It answered a lot of questions about gardening in the desert, which is completely different than gardening in Pennsylvania.” Armed with information about gardening in the desert Southwest, Hillebrand started gardening out of her home in Hereford. “When the Monument Fire hit in 2011, we were evacuated from our home and spent a week with friends in Sierra Vista,” she said. “After we were able to return to our home, there was a water shortage, so outside watering was not allowed for another week. Out of my entire garden, one lone jalapeno pepper survived.”

That’s when she started thinking about organizing a community garden in Sierra Vista. “If I had a garden bed in town, even if something like this were to happen again, I would be able to keep gardening.” She got together with like-minded individuals and the Sierra Vista Community Garden was founded. It was open to the public in April 2012. “We have a work day on the third Saturday of the month where we do general maintenance and weeding,” Hillebrand said. “We have more bed spaces available and are always looking for people who would like to garden with us. We also have a board of directors, and would welcome anyone who might want to serve on the board.” Board meetings are the first Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m. Prior to COVID, meetings were held in the SSVEC board room on Wilcox Drive. “Now that the pandemic is no longer such a huge concern, we’re hoping to resume open public meetings again at that location,” Hillebrand said. “If you’re interested in starting a garden, we would love to hear from you. We have a great group of people who enjoy gardening and sharing information with others.” m JUNE 2021


Human beings are intrinsically drawn to nature. We’re just hardwired for it.”

Healing Garden BY SUMMER HOM


o help patients, medical staff, and visitors with mental and physical health, the Canyon Vista Medical Center (CVMC) added a healing garden as a gesture of gratitude and serenity. Dr. Jody Jenkins, MD, General Surgery physician at Canyon Vista Medical Center and project lead, said that the garden, located between Medical Office Building One and the main hospital building, spreads across three different sections: a ramada, kitchen garden and a secret garden. Jenkins said that all of the plants, including a variety of desert-adapted plants and fruit trees, were chosen by master gardener, Jan Groth. Jenkins said that the garden has a spread of oak, catalpa, palo verde


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and mesquite trees, a selection of pomegranate and fig trees, and perennial flowers sprinkled throughout the entirety of the space. Within the kitchen garden, Jenkins said that the garden is home to cherry tomatoes, a variety of beets and radishes, oregano and thyme: all which were requested by the hospital chefs to use for preparing meals. Jenkins said that other hospitals have invested in a healing garden, and noted how the presence of nature is a helpful outlet for stress relief for the patients, staff and visitors. “It has shown that patients can recover better when they are exposed to nature,” said Jenkins. “As you decrease the stress hormones, it’s easier for your body to heal.” CVMC Chief Nursing Officer Karen Reed

said that healing gardens have physical and mental health benefits. “Healing gardens, especially associated with hospitals, are good for us for a lot of different reasons,” said Reed. “Human beings are intrinsically drawn to nature. We’re just hard-wired for it.” Reed said that there’s been research associated with the physiological and mental health benefits of being surrounded by nature. “There has been a lot of research for it over the years that demonstrates that being in nature, even looking at photographs of nature, has an impact on our physiology,” said Reed. “Being in nature, connecting with nature, is a way to counteract the effects of that ‘flight or fight response.’” Reed continued, “The stress hormones in the body go down, your blood pressure,

your respiratory rate, all go down. So, there’s all sorts of physiological benefits, physical benefits, but what we also know is that being in nature helps us to slow down mentally as well. So people have more focus, more balance, an increased sense of well-being, and contentment and peacefulness.” Additionally, the secret garden also has a labyrinth for a walking meditation. “A labyrinth is an ancient geometry, an ancient shape,” said Reed. “ [It’s] been used for literally thousands of years across many cultures, beliefs, peoples, and it’s a space for a walking-meditation. So, especially if you’re not a person to just ‘sit quietly and meditate,’ a walkingmeditation can be very beneficial for mindfulness, for focus, for balance, for peace and contentment.” Reed continued, “It’s sort of away from the mainstream [area]. It’s a little more secluded.” Jenkins said that funding for the healing garden came from physician application fees and dues. “We plan on setting up a collective fund, [and] the medical staff has agreed to set [that] through the Cochise County Foundation,” said Jenkins. “We hope to set up a mechanism for people to donate to the fund. That’s how we hope to get some setting areas or fountains. We want to put plaques on to honor or commemorate people.” While the garden is a recent addition to the hospital, Reed and Jenkins said that the response from the community has been positive. “I think people who’ve stumbled upon the garden, as it’s being developed, have really enjoyed it.” said Reed. “I’ve seen folks out here walking a pet, I’ve seen folks enjoying the patios for lunch, just walking through. I’ve heard people that express ‘this is just the neatest thing.’ And even though these are very young plants, and they are freshly planted, this is a major transformation for this space. It’s amazing to watch it. I am looking forward to having the community feel like this is a place they can come and seek that sense of peacefulness.” m

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Get outdoors and garden BY JAN GROTH


t seems you cannot turn on a television in this crazy time without hearing concern about stress, and lots of advice on how to handle it. They tell you to binge-watch your favorite television series, have a marathon with Netflix, meditate, do yoga, drown yourself in arts & crafts, or even clean out that guest room closet that’s been accumulating a plethora of treasures you just can’t part with. These are all great, fun ideas. But the advisers are not encouraging one of the healthiest stress relievers of all – gardening! You can garden almost anywhere, whether you have a yard, open acreage, a container garden or vertical garden on a patio, a pot on a small apartment deck or a container on a window ledge. Gardening does not have to be only about growing edibles. You can add to your landscape with Arizona natives and desertadapted beauties. You can grow smaller trees, shrubs, or perennials in containers. Or, you can simply grow a beautiful flower bed or a simple pot of flowers to provide nectar for the pollinators. My choice? I’m obsessed. Do it all if you can! Let’s talk about the multiple reasons why gardening and being outdoors in nature is so very good for you. Regarding growing your own edibles, there is nothing quite as rewarding as gathering fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs from your own garden to prepare a meal or even a snack. My husband will often eat his way through the garden while strolling through the water. Fresh veggies still have their high vitamin and mineral content, not to mention their incomparable robust flavor! Also, you know how they’ve been handled, and you know what soil and products have been used to produce them. Growing and eating your own fresh edibles leads to healthier eating habits. Studies show that when children and adults are exposed to eating fresh edibles, they tend to form healthier lifestyle habits. It is also shown that folks who eat from their gardens are more likely to try a larger variety of vegetables and fruits. Regarding physical benefits, gardening is wonderful exercise. Think about it. When you’re gardening, (and moving ergonomically correctly), you are pulling, pushing, lifting, bending, and stretching. This all contributes to building strength in your hands, arms, legs, 16

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and your core. The CDC, (Center for Disease Control) states that 2.5 hours per week of “moderate intensity” activity will “help lower blood pressure, lower heart disease risk, lower risk of diabetes, risk of stroke, risk of various cancers, and depression”. The CDC further classifies gardening as a “moderate intensity” activity. The CDC has also stated the people who choose gardening as an activity will stay active 40-50 minutes longer than with other activities. And remember, gardening burns lots of calories! A comment of encouragement to make here … there is a certain “gardening fitness” to be obtained. No matter how much you work out, when you first start gardening you will use muscles and movements you don’t normally use. Don’t get discouraged during your first couple of weeks with a new fatigue or soreness. Stay with it! Your “gardening fitness” will come! You will also acquire and maintain more body flexibility when you garden regularly. A flexible, limber body not only feels better, but it is less prone to injury. (Personal note: even in my older age, I can still touch

the ground with flat hands and straight legs! I credit gardening fitness.) Regarding mental status, numerous studies from universities, the CDC, the NIH (National Institutes of Health), and more have shown that gardening of any kind and being outdoors in nature will elevate mood and provide an emotional boost. The reward of gardening activities releases the feel-good hormone, dopamine. The release of serotonin, which is a natural antidepressant and immune system strengthener, is also triggered during gardening. Further scientific studies show that serotonin is released with skin contact to soil and the soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae. No wonder why so many gardeners are addicted to getting their hands in the dirt! Gardening can improve mental clarity and focus. Just getting outdoors in nature and being active can help clear a foggy brain and help “change your mind”. It has even been proven that folks who continue to garden into their senior years have far less dementia. Other studies have shown that gardening activities can help prevent or lessen ADD.

It’s good for you!

A detailed and personalized report that can help you reduce energy use. Information on available incentives, zero percent “retrofit”loans and other programs. To find out more about our new FREE energy audit, call us at 520-515-3497.

Regarding the physiologic stress relief benefits — sustained stress can play a role in a multitude of ailments like headaches and stomach aches. Further, sustained stress raises the body’s level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Continued exposure to cortisol can have negative effects and play a role in such conditions as elevated blood pressure and heart rate, diabetes risk and complications, heart disease, asthma, skin conditions, arthritis, and many more. Numerous studies have shown that a session out in the garden or a walk through nature can lower the body’s cortisol level within an hour or two, and can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Gardening can provide some tranquility and the release of negative energy. Hospital studies have even shown that

hospitalized patients who have a window in their room where they can see plants, trees and nature will recover 20% faster than patients with no window to an outdoor view. For that reason, many hospitals are beginning to focus on providing a window with a view to green space for each patient room. You should Google the topics of “Benefits of Gardening,” or “Mental Benefits of Gardening.” The number of countless scientific studies and reports will amaze you. Another fascinating topic is “Forest Bathing.” Let gardening of any kind bring you some serenity, joy, reward, and be somewhat of a sanctuary for you. The benefits are countless. m Jan Groth is the Master Gardener Instructor & Program Coordinator for the Cooperative Extension Cochise County, UA Sierra Vista

Good to grow Tips for gardening in containers BY SHAR PORIER


o you want a garden, but the idea of trying to dig through caliche or rock is preventing your dream come true? Maybe it is time to think about container gardening which saves you the back breaking work and allows you to grow veggies, flowers, bushes, herbs and even dwarf trees to your heart’s content all without having to amend the alkaline soil so prevalent in Cochise County. Jan Groth, Master Gardener and University of Arizona extension assistant of horticulture, offered tips and no-nos to bring your yard, no matter the size, alive with scent and color all through the area’s long growing season. “Container gardening is often a favorite way to garden for so many people, whether they are beginning gardeners or experienced, successful growers, for it offers countless options and advantages. It’s a favorite for those with lots of acreage as well as those with small decks. Even the tiniest balcony can become a soothing leafy oasis by gardening in containers. They can add color, texture, and interest to a patio or front porch,” she said. Having mobile plants allows you to move plants around a patio or yard for a change in season, and change in bloom, or a change in decorating appearance. Viny plants in pots can grow up along the supports of a carport, porch or gazebo where there is no soil in which to plant. “Containers can be used


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singly, in pairs or in clusters to accent a front door. When using them as a year-round primary accent, use an evergreen shrub or even a small tree in the center as your visual anchor. Then plant annual flowers around the periphery of the shrub or tree and change the annuals with the changing seasons, while your shrub remains stationary. Containers can be used as interesting hardscape accents in your landscape, as under a tree, within a garden, or among shrubbery,” she suggested. According to Groth, an entire edible garden can be grown in a pot of 20 to 24 inches including a dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit tree with herbs, flowers and strawberries planted at its base. Herbs do well in containers and a mix of herbs in one pot can add green beauty as well as delightful additions to recipes and beverages. “Combination herb containers using plants such as chives, mints, basil, and parsley can be used as an outdoor centerpiece, where herbs can be snipped at the table for added flavor or garnish,” she said. There are numerous varieties of plants may be used in containers — all flowers, perennials shrubs, vines, cactus and succulents, as well as small trees labeled “dwarf” or “semidwarf.” The type of pot you choose is also important in container gardening. Should you use plastic or clay pots? Plastic pots are lighter weight and easier to handle, but they can blow around more easily in strong winds and will also dry and crack in the sun sooner than clay or ceramic, she pointed out.

“Clay pots are porous and allow air circulation. White salt deposits can collect on the outside, but this can be a good thing as excess salts are being leached from the soil to the outside of the pot. The salt can be left there to add to character or can be brushed off. And terra cotta is always a classic. Yes, clay pots can be heavier, but this is convenient when worrying about pots blowing in a wind event,” she said. An important step to take in successful container gardening is to be sure all the pots have the drain holes punched out. Without proper drainage, the roots will become waterlogged and the plants will not flourish. “Any type of container may be used -- old tea kettles, old wheelbarrows, baskets, watering cans, old tins, galvanized metal art, anything — but it must have drainage” she emphasized. “In order to prevent soil from being washed through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, fit the hole with an appropriate size small rock, or cover the hole with porous material such as landscape fabric, a coffee filter, old hosiery, or window screen, all of which hold the soil in, while allowing excess water to escape.”

She recommends not skimping on the soil used to fill the pots and not using the desert soil to save on money. Native soil can turn into an adobe brick as it does not drain well. “This is not the place to save money,” she noted. “Inexpensive potting soils have larger, barkier material and do not hold water or nutrients well. Always invest in a quality potting soil.” She shared another important tip: “Pre-moisten your potting soil. When it is dry in the package, it is often difficult to get the soil to absorb or receive water and will ‘puff out’ over the pot during the first few waterings, leaving air pockets and unthorough watering. Place your new soil in a separate pot or bucket or wheelbarrow, add water and mix it until it is the consistency of a wrung-out sponge, then use it.” It is best not to plant a small plant in a large pot, she added. If the soil to root ratio is large, the plants cannot absorb all the excess water. It can lead to root rot. It is best to transplant into a pot which is just slightly larger, about an inch more in diameter to ensure continued growth. Also important is to remember container gardens need regular fertilization every

two to four weeks depending on the season, she said. This is because containers need to be watered more frequently and the nutrients will be leached from the soil more quickly than a plant in the ground. “And it’s a good idea to cut the strength of the fertilizer or increase the dilution,” she added. “This will weaken the fertilizer just a bit to avoid burning the roots in the container.” When the plants are potted, they need a top-dress such as decorative gravel or compost to keep the roots cooler in summer, warmer in the winter and it will decrease the loss of moisture. Groth cautioned, “Always, always water thoroughly — the entire root ball, not just the surface. And do fertilize regularly. Healthy, wellnourished, well-hydrated plants are more resistant to disease and pest infestation and will look great.” Containers do need to be level when placed on the ground for that finished look of a caring gardener. “And if your yard is covered in decorative gravel, do nestle the pot into the gravel just a bit, rather than having the pot sitting up on top of the rocks. That will make it look more like a part of the landscape, rather

than an afterthought,” she continued. And, go ahead and pot those species which do need winter protection if you have room the house or a protected patio. “Containers allow you to grow certain plants you might not otherwise be able to grow successfully. For example, certain plants that are popular and desirable might not be cold hardy enough to survive our colder winter temperatures such as citrus, bougainvillea, certain succulents, tropical hibiscus, or even classic geraniums. But such plants can be grown in containers and then either moved indoors or onto a patio close to the house for winter protection or added warmth. “We could go on and on … but let your own imagination take over with the delights of container gardening,” said Groth. m

Fun container hacks n Use potted plants to line a set of stairs or walkway. Then place solar lights in the soil to light the way. n Add a shepherd’s hook to a pot to hang a hummingbird feeder or favorite wind chime. n Use a pretty trellis for a potted vine or potted tomato. And when potting a tomato, choose a determinate tomato variety which will stay shorter and sturdier in a pot than an indeterminate variety. n Add a favorite piece of garden art to your container garden. n Add Christmas lights, electric or battery powered, to potted trees and shrubs on your patio, porch or deck for a year-round festive feel. Jan Growth, Master Gardener and University of Arizona extension assistant of horticulture

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oday I want to share with you all my secrets on how to care for orchids. I call them generically orchids but in reality I refer to phalaenopsis, the most common plants in our homes. These orchids are called phalaenopsis because their beautiful flower resembles a butterfly with spread wings. Many years ago I was given a plant and it was love at first sight. My first orchid, however, was a total disaster and died immediately, but I have never been discouraged! I bought other orchids, I asked my trusted nurseryman for help, I read some books and over time I had my satisfaction. In reality, taking care of an orchid in the best possible way is really easy, just have a few small tricks and these plants


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will give us beautiful blooms. These orchids are native to Asia and are typical of hot and humid areas. Their peculiarity is that they grow attached to the bark of trees. In fact, the roots are all aerial, so this plant does not need soil to grow, their flowers are often large and long flowering. This is a monopoidal plant, that is, it develops on a single vegetative foot. There are many different types of phalaenopsis on the market that differ in the color of their flowers: white, pink, yellow, orange, fuchsia, in short, you are spoiled for choice. The only color that naturally does not belong to these plants is blue with all its shades, so if you find an orchid with these

colors, it is actually white flowers tinged with blue. They are often sold in transparent pots that reveal the roots. When we buy an orchid, let’s check the health of the roots; they must be firm, full, with an intense green color… in short, they must not be dry! The leaves must also be firm and bright green in color, but above all they must tend towards the top; I do not recommend buying orchids with “cocker’s ear” leaves, ie leaves that tend downwards, because it means that the plant has some problems. Then I suggest buying an orchid with many buds still closed, so that you can enjoy flowering for a long time. For beginners I recommend transparent vases, but only for practicality. Many believe it is almost mandatory to use transparent vessels to promote root photosynthesis. In reality, photosynthesis is carried out almost exclusively by the leaves of the orchid and very little by the roots. The advantage of transparent pots is that we can

easily check the health of the roots and their need for water. So if we feel expert in orchid cultivation we can safely use a non-transparent pot, the plant will not suffer from the change at all. As previously mentioned, orchids have aerial roots, so they should never be placed in the classic soil for plants. The ideal substrate for orchids is chopped tree bark, also called bark. In many cases, to increase the humidity of the vase, a little sphagnum for plants is also added, which is a kind of moss capable of retaining water. The size of the pot must be commensurate with the size of the plant, in any case to favor a generous flowering it is better to choose small pots. The main cause of death of an orchid is too much water! My friend the nurseryman confirmed it to me; the most frequent mistake in the care of an orchid is undoubtedly excessive irrigation. Orchids should only be wet when they are completely dry, so it is impossible to give a precise indication of the monthly watering. Generally, in winter, 2 waterings per month may be sufficient, in summer, if it is very hot, even once a week. The only parameter that helps us understand when to give water are the roots; if they appear in a dull green color and with silver gray reflections, then it means that you need to give them water. Another parameter that indicates the lack of water is the weight of the vase; we weigh the vase and if it seems too light we need water. Well hydrated roots appear swollen and bright green. If we are undecided about what to do, we think it is better to have one more dry day, rather than giving water when there is no need! If the soil in which we grow the orchid is composed of bark and sphagnum, we water the orchid like any other plant, but be careful not to leave any residue in the saucer. If, on the other hand, we grow the orchid only with bark, we can immerse the pot 2/3 in water and wait a few minutes for the plant to hydrate itself well. In any case, the flowers should never be wet, otherwise they could wither. The leaves can be moistened with water, perhaps with the help of a or sprinkle, but be careful not to create stagnation in the vegetative nucleus of the plant ... even in this case the plant could rot. So I recommend dabbing the leaves with a cloth to dry excess water. The best water to use is demineralized water (to be understood the water from the iron), but if we give tap water every now and then

nothing happens. The only precaution to have with the water is that it is not too cold, so if you need to heat it for a few seconds in the microwave (around 35 degrees).

Feeding orchids is essential to ensure plant growth and abundant blooms. There are many on the market, specific for orchids. They all differ in administration, so it is best to read the directions that each manufacturer recommends for their product. In principle, it is best to fertilize the orchid all year round, but suspend when the plant is in bloom. However, let’s not be discouraged if we see an orchid grow very little, it is absolutely normal! Phalaenopsis have an extremely slow growth, they may even emit only one new leaf per year.

Undoubtedly, the most satisfying time for orchid growers is its flowering. If the plant has been cared for and fertilized, it will give us flowering that will last a couple of months twice a year (in autumn and spring). We never get the flowers wet and if they start to thicken and become spongy, it’s completely normal… they are about to wilt! Once the last flower has fallen, we decide whether to leave the stems or cut them. If we decide to leave them, the flowers will always grow back in those stems, but a little smaller. Do old stems wither despite loving care? No problem! The plant will make new ones next season. If, on the other hand, we decide to cut them immediately, when the time comes, the plant will make a new stem and from there the new flowers will be born.

Phalaenopsis are plants that require a warm, bright spot. The ideal place to place an orchid is inside the house in front of a window, but away from direct sun. So just put a light curtain on the window and our orchid will be happy! Orchids do not like temperature changes, so if we have to open the window in winter, we move the plant to a sheltered corner. To promote the humidity of the environment, we can place a small bowl of water near the plant. If the orchid leaves are dusty, wash them with a cotton swab (I always use make-up disks) wet with water and a drop of milk. Although it may be strange, that small drop of milk dissolved in the water will make the leaves shiny without limescale residues. My advice ends here! m


Plant trees that



any people say, “If I’m going to have trees to water, they may as well be something that gives back.” Fruit and nut trees will provide shade as well, so why not plant them? According to Jason Sherman, Assistant Area Agent, Commercial Horticulture, the best time to plant trees is in the Fall. He explained, “That’s right. Just before going dormant. The reason for this is frankly, “sustainability.” Of course, we all know how valuable our water resources are, so this is why we typically recommend the Fall. This would be about October. Not to mention the cooler day temperatures during this time of year, thus lowering transpiration by the leaves on the plants, but also the trees or vines will be going dormant so they would require less water in order to get established. And by the way, just because they go dormant, and lose their leaves, doesn’t mean they’re not growing. They are. The roots are actively growing.” As temperatures rise in Spring and Summer, the leaves lose more water due to transpiration and it takes away water from the roots. “One would use more water during this time of year if they were to transplant a containerized tree and get it established, even though one can still plant these times of the year, of course,” he said. So, what kind of fruit and nut trees are the best to withstand the dry heat,

no humidity, fluctuating nighttime temperatures and varying elevations of Cochise County? Sherman advises, “We have an amazingly majestic county with diverse areas of elevation, topography, and annual precipitation that are conducive to growing fruit and nut trees. I would say there are multitudes of kinds to grow and are available. The most popular are of course the apple, peach, apricot, pecan, and pistachio. However, persimmon, pear, pomegranate, figs, jujube, and even cherry would also work. European plum varieties would work in some areas as well.” He recommends avoiding Asian or Japanese plums, since they are early bloomers and would be susceptible to frost damage. And citrus trees do not do well in the cold winters. Another fruit not to plant is blueberries which require an acid soil. Around here, the soil is alkaline. “Really, the ideal is to focus on the fruit or nut trees chilling hour requirement, and more specifically what chill hours your specific area averages,” he continued. “I recommend varieties and rootstocks that need 600 to 800 chill hours, erring on 800 mostly. “I would caution one though with pistachio. Pistachio rootstocks and varieties available tend to be on the higher side when it comes to chill hour requirement. Some pistachios need 1100 chill hours, while some of the newer varieties need about 800 chill hours. This is why pistachios are mainly grown in Bowie, an

About Josh Sherman

Josh Sherman has been with the University of Arizona for six years as a horticulturist and arborist. He has been interested in trees and growing plants since he was 10 years old or so. “It was when I took on higher education that I became enriched in studying trees, and how amazing their physiology, development, and ecological characteristics can be.”


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ideal place when it comes to these chill hour requirements. “Then, one also wants to avoid too low of a chill hour requirement because this would cause too early bud-break on most years when they would be more susceptible to a spring frost event, which almost always happens here. “What’s up with this chill requirement one might ask? Simply, dormancy is broken when enough sufficient cold temperatures has broken down the growth inhibitors, like abscisic acid, within the tree or vine. This

is also called vernalization. There are a few models out there to measure chill hours, but it’s mostly accepted to use the model below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the chill hours that accumulate between November and February.” As for care of fruit trees to prevent diseases and insect infestations, Sherman said, “Due to our dry, arid environment, there really are not a lot of insects or disease to contend with. However, during the monsoon season, and depending on the location, if there is excessive humidity and moisture, then fungal pathogens may become a problem thus warranting some fungicidal sprays during that time period. “The biggest insect threat will be the aphid. For these I recommend ordering and releasing extra ladybugs or lacewings to reduce the populations. One can also use a detergent soap solution or horticultural oil to suffocate the aphids. However, be careful using products after the temperatures have gotten above 75 to 80 degrees because they can burn the leaves. If one is going to use a spray, treat the plants at dawn so the product has time to dry before the blazing sun is out.” One of the biggest threat are, of course, birds who can decimate the fruit, but Sherman has a couple of suggestions to protect the trees. “I would recommend netting to help reduce losing most fruit to birds. Anecdotally though, the flailing arm tube man, seen at a lot of car lots, have incredible effect

at keeping birds away, as does the shiny spinning windmills seen on top of roofs.” Water needs of fruit and nut trees is dependent on the soil, temperature and wind in the location where it will be planted. He recommends watering to a depth in the soil of two feet. A soil probe, or something similar, can check how deep the watering method is reaching. “Also, water where the roots are. This is what is termed the ‘dripline’ of the canopy of the tree or vine, where most of the active feeding roots are. Keep an eye out for standing water, too. This is the first sign of some problem below. Just note that fruit and nut trees require water in order to fruit well. After all fruiting is a stressful process.” He pointed out, “ Fruit and nut trees do not need a lot of fertilizer like one might think. In fact, just a little nitrogen spread over the course of the flowering and fruiting months is all. And really, only a soil analysis of one’s location will determine the other fertilizers that would be recommended. I have seen a lot of soils in the county that need zinc, iron and phosphorus.” The Water Wise team within the Cochise County Cooperative Extension and Cochise County Master Gardeners have more recommendations for the desert adapted landscape trees. Visit the website: mg/Welcome or https://extension. Email Sherman at: m

Quick and Approximate Watering Guidelines

Dependent upon your soil, temperature, wind Newly Planted Trees 1st 2 weeks

~ every other day

next 2 weeks

~ every 3rd day

through hot weather (>850)

~ twice a week

at monsoons

~ once a week

~ mid September

every other week

at frost

once a month

Established Trees starting April

~ every other week

by Jun thru hot weather (>850)

~ every week

at monsoons

~ every week to 10 days

Labor Day

~ 10 days to 2 weeks

by Oct 1

~ every 2 weeks

at frost through winter

once a month

Water deeply (> 2 ft); Water where the roots are (~ the dripline) Beware of standing water!

Landscape Watering Guidelines How Much & How Often

Water to the outer edge of the plant’s canopy and to the depth indicated. Watering frequency will vary depending on season, plant type, weather and soil.

Desert adapted

Trees Shrubs Groundcovers and Vines

Seasonal Frequency - Days Between Waterings Spring Mar-May

Summer May-Oct

Fall Oct-Dec

Winter Dec-Mar

Water This Deeply (Typical Root Depth)

14-30 days

14-21 days

14-30 days

30-60 days

24-36 inches

High water use

7-12 days

7-10 days

7-12 days

14-30 days

24-36 inches

Desert adapted

14-30 days

7-21 days

14-30 days

30-45 days

18-24 inches

High water use

7-10 days

8-7 days

7-10 days

10-14 days

18-24 inches

Desert adapted

14-30 days

7-21 days

14-30 days

21-45 days

8-12 inches

High water use

7-10 days

2-5 days

7-10 days

10-14 days

8-12 inches

Cacti and Succulents Annuals Warm Season Grass Cool Season Grass

if needed 3-7 days

2-5 days 3-4 days

8-12 inches 3-7 days

5-10 days

Nov-March none 3-4 days


8-12 inches 6-10 inches 6-10 inches

These guidelines are for established plants (1 year for shrubs, 3 years for trees). Additional water is needed for new plantings or unusually hot or dry weather. Less water is needed during cool or rainy weather. Drip run times are typically 2 hours or more for each watering. JUNE 2021


Gray water irrigation

Sustainable Gardening BY SHAR PORIER


ooking out over her front yard, Serena Casey is pleased the growth of her mini-orchard, mini-vineyard and small rose garden in what was a huge empty space. The one-acre lot she and her husband Joe have owned for five years in the hills of the Huachuca mountains has taken a lot of work to provide the family of four with numerous fruits, veggies and herbs in an assortment of gardens and orchards all around the property. Her orchard has peach, apricot, nectarines, pineapple guava, olive trees which will provide them with some fruit as soon as next year. A striking feature of the orchard is the way in which the trees were planted. Casey 24

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explained it as “donut hole” planting. They dug out a circular pattern deep leaving the center of the circle intact. The circular hole is then filled with various soil amendments and enriched with compost. The center of the donut hole is where the tree is planted. “This way, only the hole is watered,” she explained. “The tree will draw the water from the hole and the roots won’t get waterlogged. We have had almost three feet of growth on them since they were planted in October.” A berm is made around the tree with the dugout dirt cleaned of weeds and grass to hold the water, a very important requirement when gray water is used. “You can’t let gray water escape the property,” she noted. “The berms hold it in place.” Something not seen, but essential to

Serena Casey and 1-year-old son Arthur walk through the family’s mini orchard recently. The orchard is irrigated by using a branch drain grey water system.

A young apricot tree is flourishing in Serena Casey’s small home orchard.

their way of gardening, is the underground gray water irrigation system which waters the trees fed by the washing machine, bathtub, shower and bathroom basins with around 1,000 gallons of water a week for their family of four. Thanks to the downhill slope of the property, the gravity fed system reaches the trees and plants. But there are two things to keep in mind when using gray water for irrigation, Casey

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“If you do it right, you’ll have a low maintenance system.” pointed out. First, the splitters taking the water to the trees have to be perfectly level to maintain equal flow to all the trees. Second, what is used for washing, bathing or showering is crucial to the success of trees. Natural, organic soaps and shampoos are a must. “You can’t use just any laundry detergent,” Casey said. “And you can’t use powdered soap which has salt in it. That can build up in the soil and kill the trees.” She uses Ecos brand, which is an organic detergent containing phosphorus, a mineral the trees need for good growth. “If you do it right, you’ll have a low maintenance system,” she added. A well-worn book lies on the kitchen counter, “Create an Oasis with Grey Water” by Art Ludwig. It provided them with instructions and tips on the grey water system. “It was my Bible for the project,” she added. “Anyone who wants to use gray water for irrigation should use it.” Along one side of their home was bountiful garden of lettuce and greens. She explained the chickens, egg layers, made a mess of things. The garlic was spared and awaits harvest. “I was going to donate it because there was so much lettuce, more than we could use,” she said. Their backyard is filled with veggies like asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, raspberry bushes, strawberries and a plum-cherry cross tree, two apple trees, planted when the boys were born, and an Asian pear tree all thriving. Interspersed around the yard

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A branch drain grey water system pipe rused to irrigate to a fruit tree. are different types of herbs. In the courtyard just outside the back door is a beautiful garden with some of her favorite perennial flowers and more herbs. It was planted in the “lasagna,” no-dig method in which layers of organic materials are laid directly upon the ground, weeds and all. The vegetation breaks down over time creating a very rich soil for the plants. They used cardboard as well to cover the ground. “I was amazed at how easy it was,” she said. Only the front yard is watered with gray water, but she takes pains to ensure her water use outdoors is as minimal as possible. Their 18 month old Arthur is getting a bit restless. He has been a good sport listening to his mom and walking around the land. He picked a bunch of rose petals and laid them in her hand with a warm smile. His brother Hank, four years old, is at preschool and his father is working. Sitting on the patio, she now ponders a giant veggie garden so she can sell produce. With abundant space yet available, next year could turn out to be their most productive ever benefiting the household and the community. m

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Petunia: Oh petunias. You can find these in all sorts of colors, which means it will be easy to match to a room’s color scheme or give a neutral room a “pop” of color. This plant is more of an investment for time. If you have six animals in your house already, you can simply add their watering to your schedule! These flowers need the right amount of fertilizer, and a lot of sun and water! However, if you do all of that correctly, you can have an overflowing pot of eye-catching flowers year-round!


ne of my cats loves to eat plants, and I am not just talking about grass. I mean, if I have a bouquet of flowers, my cat will definitely be nibbling on them. However, this can lead to some unfortunate events since there are a lot of plants and flowers out there that are toxic to cats (and dogs). So, just to be on the safe side, I do not keep plants in my house and instead just get on my soapbox about cats and plants and the toxicity whenever someone brings up the health benefits of having house plants. I do understand that there are a lot of benefits to having house plants though, and if I had a green-thumb, I may have had a plant or two. Which brings us to this article! If you have any chunky kitties or pups that can’t keep their mouth off of anything in your house, you are in the right place! We are going to chat about some pet-friendly plants that will also bring a nice aesthetic to your humble abode.

Gloxinia Gloxinia: these are super pretty plants with red or purple flowers that have a white ring around the petals. To me, these are your stereotypical garden plant. They are also annuals, so they will bloom a lot of big and pretty flowers! They are also relatively easy to care for, if you keep them out of direct sunlight and a house between 60 and 70 degrees.

Venus Fly Trap: ah, perfect for a funky aesthetic, you can stick this guy in an old aquarium to make sure he is getting the correct temperatures he needs. It can also be a focal point for an entry table or living room. It’s also really close to having a pet, since you will need to make sure you feed it. This one might be a little harder here in Arizona, as it needs at least 60% humidity, however the temperature needs to be 70 -75 degrees. The best thing, it will eat all of the insects!

Boston Fern

The list for pet-friendly plants is extensive and you could find one that matches your house, temperatures, and sunlight availability (if you have black out curtains) in no time! My friendly advice is to always make sure you know exactly what kind of plant you are bringing into your house, especially if your animals are curious. m

Boston Fern: Before we get into this one, I want to put a big caution here, there are a ton of different types of ferns, and unfortunately it’s about a 50/50 chance that it could be toxic to your cat or dog. I would say, if you are wanting a fern for the corner of your living room, to go to your local garden center and find a Boston fern, or one of the ferns that are non-toxic, and don’t just take any ole fern from a college friend that is leaving and can’t take it with her. With that being said, let’s dive into a Boston fern, these are great for a more neutral color scheme, or a great plant to put in that funky pot your aunt got you for Christmas (because it won’t clash). This type of fern needs a lot of humidity, so misting it every couple of days is a good idea. Otherwise, indirect sunlight and cool temperatures could keep this plant hanging around your house for years!





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Air Plants & Succulents BY CHELSEA SCHLARBAUM


ir plants and succulents make great companions for the brown thumbed individual or those who have never considered horticulture until this very moment. Both require little maintenance and grow well in many climates, including the Sonoran Desert.

I Need Some Air!

More commonly known as air plants, tillandsia is a class of more than 650 species native to deserts and mountains in the Americas. Full of esthetic and decorative potential, air plants absorb moisture and other nutrients through their leaves. When not hanging in your kitchen terrarium, air plants hang by their roots from trees absorbing rainwater. Air plants have a wide variety of foliage; some have long grass-like leaves, while others turn in intricate ornamental curls. Other air plants will even produce a colorful flower, but the bloom occurs just once during their lifetime, right before the plant dies. Air plants remain relatively small, growing between two to ten inches. As with most plants and other flora, climate plays a crucial role in how well an air plant will flourish and look when it is mature. Many air plants prefer a temperature between 50 - 90 degrees and will not withstand a freeze. While most air plants can live a happy life in Cochise County, some species grow better here than others. Tillandsia exserta grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert, tolerating harsh and direct sunlight. Air plants are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants and should never be planted in dirt or the ground. However, this means that air plants give complete creative autonomy on where they can live. Try an open terrarium, a sculpture display, hanging macrame holders, frames, or even gemstones to accent their crazy colors. Be sure to keep the air plant in an area of the home that receives four to six hours of bright light per day. When caring for the air plant, avoid misting them with water. Using rainwater or spring water, entirely submerge the air plant every one to two weeks. Allow the plants to sit upside down in the water for three to four hours. After their bath, shake any excess water off and allow them to dry completely before placing them back into their display. Fertilizing air 28

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plants is optional but can help the plant flourish. Somewhere between one to every four months, add a water-soluble fertilizer made for air plants or epiphytes to the water that you soak them in. Besides ensuring the air plant stays completely dry in between soakings, keep an eye out for mealybugs or scale insects and immediately treat it with a Tillandsia-safe pesticide. Otherwise, enjoy easy air plant parenthood!

What the succulent?

Succulents are groups of plants that store water in their leaves, stems, and roots. Aloe vera and cacti are both plants that fall into the succulent family. These plants can rely on this stored water to endure prolonged drought periods. Not only are succulents resilient, but they also propagate very easily, growing new plants from leaves that have fallen off. As with the air plants, most succulents prefer warmer temperatures and cannot withstand a freeze. Succulents desire roughly six hours of direct sunlight per day. Rotate the planter so that each side of the succulent or succulent garden receives enough sunlight. Succulents

also lean toward the sun, and rotating the planter will also help keep the plants upright. In the spring and summer, succulents require more water than in the winter or fall when they are dormant. Feel the soil with a finger; if the top inch to inch and a half is dry, proceed with watering. Do not apply water directly to the succulent, as this may cause rotting in the roots or leaves. Instead, soak the soil until water drains from the container. It is essential to choose a container with drainage for succulents as they do not like to simmer in overly saturated soil. Likewise, use soil that allows for drainage, such as a soil mix with sand, pumice, or perlite. Remember to let the soil completely dry before watering again. Similar to air plants, watch for bugs such as gnats and mealybugs. There are many athome remedies for handling bug infestation on plants if you should choose not to use a store bought treatment pesticide. Neem oil

and diluted dish soap or vinegar solutions can be an effective treatment. Succulents tend to be very communicative with their needs, making them easy to care for. A succulent’s color will change if something out of the norm occurs, sometimes referred to as blushing. Not enough water, overwatering, or changes in sunlight can cause a change in colors. With these little ticks, rearing a garden full of succulents will be as easy as setting a calendar reminder in your phone every two weeks to check water levels. m

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How to kill a inplant 5 ways BY ALYCIA MCCLOUD


am not a plant person. That is not to say that I don’t like plants, they are just not something that I can keep thriving or even alive. I like to say it’s because plants can’t tell me exactly what they need, whether that is different soil, water, sun or even those special nutrients you can give to plants to help them grow. I am very much a person that needs to be told these things or, well… it ends up dead. Some people will tell you that keeping plants alive is the easiest thing possible, and I am here to tell you that just isn’t true and here are 5 ways you can easily kill them: Leave it in a place where the temperature is too hot/ too cold. Plants are finicky 1 things, and all of them have different temps they need to be kept at. So let’s say you want to make sure your plant gets sunlight but you have black out curtains so you stick it out on the back porch to get that good vitamin C (not in direct sunlight) and well.. It’s been 85+ degrees here and I am here to tell you that an Orchid does not maintain it’s life at 85+ degrees.



Under water it, or just don’t water it at all. I can see how this is a

JUNE 2021

relatively easy one to not do, just add some water and you are good to go. However, my SO got me a bouquet of flowers for my birthday, and it’s been two weeks and they were not looking all that great, so I went to dump them. I was told ‘hey there’s a ton of water in there, so be careful’ and folks, there was ZERO water in that vase. I honestly didn’t realize that they would suck all that water up… Too much sun. This is where plants and 3 I start having a lot of similarities. You stick us in direct sunlight for too long, and well, we wither away (or get sunburnt). A lot of plants can’t handle having direct sunlight on them for very long, the heat that comes along with it, is just devastating. Unless you have a sunflower, you want to make sure that plants can get the benefits of the sun without being in it for 6-8 hours. Packing it into a moving box because you 4 thought it was fake. I have to admit, this was not my finest moment. I really thought that this cute little plant that I bought was fake. I had it for about two years, never watering it, and it always stayed exactly the same. So, when we

moved, I packed it up with the candles and didn’t think about it for a good 2 to 3 weeks. Until I went to unpack my candles, and found my cute little plant, absolutely dead. Over watering. This may be a “duh” thing to many people. 5 But before I figured out that I am just not someone who can take care of plants, I did have a cactus. I loved this cactus, this cactus did not love me. What would happen is, I would forget to water it, and so I would then water it TOO much. Now, cactus don’t need a lot of water to begin with, but I would feel bad and think “this will get you back to where you need to be little buddy”, alas, it did not. This is where I will also caution against the water baubles you can get for plants, just be sure that the plant you stick it in, needs the water it releases, or you will inadvertently over water. Have you ever accidentally killed a plant in a way that isn’t mentioned here? Feel free to send it to me at alycia. mccloud@myheraldreview. com. If you know any easy way to care for plants, send those over my way too! m

Water Gardening Aquaponic Ecosystems BY CHELSEA SCHLARBAUM


quaponics is a sustainable food and plant growth system marrying aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaculture is raising and farming fish, while hydroponics is growing plants in water, without soil. Aquaponics combines the two in a closed-loop system in which fish poop is an organic food source for plants, and plants naturally filter the fish’s water. Microbes convert ammonia from the fish waste into nitrites, and a different bacterium turns the nitrites into nitrates which feed the plants. The plant cleans the fish’s water by absorbing those nitrates. Although aquaponics is often accomplished on a commercial scale, it easily translates to personal use at home. Having an aquaponic system removes some of the grunt work of knowing when and how much to water a plant. Likewise, the system allows for no-mess gardening and reduces bugs due to possible root rot. Although aquaponics kits can be purchased through Amazon or a local pet shop, it is reasonably easy to make one at home! You Will Need: Jar or Bowl (able to hold at least one gallon of water) Decorative Aquarium Stones Live Aquatic Plants or Marimo Moss Ball Filtered Water Zym Bac Natural Beneficial Live Bacteria 1 Betta Fish 1 Plant or herb Betta Food Clay Pebbles Pick the plant! Leafy green vegetables, like basil, spinach, lettuce, or herbs, are great starting points for the aquaponic novice. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and other plants will flourish in a more mature system with more fish. For house plants, peace lilies and pothos plants grow particularly well in an aquaponic setup. Find a fish! Freshwater fish are the most common. For a smaller aquarium setup, select a betta fish. Koi or goldfish can be used for larger or multi-fish systems.

1. Thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the jar or bowl.

2. Before filling the jar or bowl with water, add a layer of decorative rock between one to two inches in depth to the bottom. Add any other decor such as marimo moss balls or aquarium treasure chests in which the betta can hide.

3. Add room temperature filtered water, do not use tap water. Springwater works best. To help accelerate the nitrogen cycle of the aquaponic system, add Zym Bac Natural Beneficial Live Bacteria to the water. Use this product after every cleaning and refresh the water.

4. Allow the fish to adjust the temperature in the new environment by floating the container on the top of the jar or bowl. After about 30 minutes, transfer the fish from the old container into the new aquaponics system. Try not to add water from the old container to the new system; this will help keep the proper balance of the water and not invite disease.

5. Grab the aquaponic mesh net basket and add the plant, carefully threading roots through the slats in the basket. If removing the plant from the soil, be sure that all dirt is removed from roots and leaves before placing in the basket. Fill the remaining space in the basket with clay pebbles. Once the plant is seated in the basket, place the basket in the bowl or jar.

Once the system setup is complete, it is relatively low maintenance. If using a betta fish, feed three to four pieces of betta food twice daily. Change out the water every two to three weeks. Adding a small air pump or sponge filter can make the water last a bit longer between tank cleanings. If the water becomes cloudy between cleaning and does not clear up in a few days, adding Freshwater Natural Tidy Tank or even snails can help to resolve this issue. m JUNE 2021



The Botanist Bartender



ew things are fresher than a craft cocktail made with flair and love straight from the bartender’s herb garden. How divine it would be to have a Saturday morning Bloody Mary made with homegrown tomato juice or blueberry mimosa with fresh-squeezed orange juice from the backyard. If a backyard full of fruit trees, berry bushes, and other vines is not possible, do not fret! Herbs and flowers are amenable to growing in patio pots and kitchen counter dish gardens. While handsqueezed and homegrown juices may not be an option, homemade spirit infusions and syrups are at your fingertips. From garden to gimlet, here are some of the most versatile and hardy botanicals fit for custom infusions, shrubs, bitters, syrups, and muddling for cocktails.


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Ginger Use the root of this flowering plant for syrups, infusions, homemade ginger ale, ginger beer, or muddle into a cocktail shaker for a ginger mojito. The sweet and spicy flavor profile uniquely complements straight bourbon or burdon with a twist. Although ginger grows the best in warm, humid regions, it will do well growing indoors in a planter.

Lilac & Lavender While lilacs and lavender are from two different flora families, adding either into syrups or infusions will give floral flavor to cocktails and result in a remarkable purple color. Try in a Tom Collins, martini, gin sour, or a lemon drop. For a thriving lilac bush that will not be planted in the ground, commandeer the largest container possible. Lilacs and lavender are reasonably resilient and low maintenance but require a great deal of sunshine.

Lemon Balm & Lemon Verbena Tea is not the only use for lemon balm and lemon verbena. Both make for gorgeous garnish, add a subtle lemon aroma, and can be used for infusions. Lemon balm, in particular, is one of the easiest herbs to grow in a planter or pot, preferring lots of sunlight and water. Try a lemon verbena gimlet by creating a simple syrup with the plant leaves and combine with gin, soda, and lime juice.



Mint’s distinctive menthol flavor makes fantastic warm-weather cocktails such as mint juleps, mojitos, and south sides. Be sure to plant mint in its own container, as mint is invasive and may spread throughout the garden and take over. Mint grows well in light shade and prefers to stay moist. Try some different types of mint: Yerba Buena, Chocolate mint, Pineapple mint, Peppermint, Ginger mint, and Mexican mint!

Use rosemary in infusions, syrups, and muddling. The pine and lemon flavor profile of rosemary complements a myriad of liquors and cocktails such as gimlets, lemontinis, and Tom Collins. Rosemary grows well near other herbs such as basil, fennel, lavender, lemon verbena, marjoram, and sage.



Greatly accented by anise, shiso’s spicy and cinnamon flavor profile pairs perfectly with whiskey and bourbon cocktails. Stemming from the mint family, shiso leaves can also be used much like mint leaves are for mojitos. Grow shiso as you would basil, in full to partial sun and water frequently.

Stevia leaves are sweet as can be additives for syrups, infusions, and muddling to replace sugar in cocktails. Stevia is a low-maintenance herb that is happy to be in a container placed in a sunny window.

Sage Although sage can be used for infusions, shrubs, or syrups, it is more often used for muddling. A shrub is a slightly sweet and acidic nonalcoholic syrup made from concentrated fruits, sugar, vinegar, and aromatics. With an earthy and bold flavor, cocktails such as homecoming caipirinha, sage lady, or added to a gin martini pair well with sage. As with its counterpart, rosemary, sage grows well with other herbs and prefers to be seated near a sunny window.

Tarragon An unsuspecting herb with a subtle licorice flavor that is both warm and spicy, tarragon can be used for infusions, syrups, and in homemade bitters and shrubs. As the name denotes, bitters are high-proof spirits infused with botanicals characterized by bitter or bittersweet flavor.

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FRESH OLIVIER SALAD (AKA RUSSIAN SALAD) OLIVIER SALAD Ingredients 1 kg potatoes 20 gr carrots 20 gr green peas 20 gr green beans 4 eggs Salt and olive oil to taste



ussian salad, also known as “Olivier”, is the best known of the salads made up of cooked or mixed cooked and raw vegetables; it is served as an appetizer or as a side dish. It consists of boiled vegetables and diced potatoes, all seasoned with mayonnaise sauce; there are numerous variations, depending on local and family traditions, in which the addition of additional ingredients is expected. Despite the name, it is of very controversial origin and is widespread in many countries of the world. It began to spread in Italy at the end of the nineteenth century as proof of the recipe included in the well-known cookbook Re Dei Cuochi, in the 1868 edition. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Pellegrino Artusi included it in his famous culinary work and Ada Boni reported it in the Talisman of happiness in 1929. In the 1930s it was now a popular dish throughout Italy. There are various hypotheses on the origin of the Russian salad, reported variously by the various sources. The difficulty of tracing the origin of this dish also lies in the different recipes, even very different from each other, with which it is prepared in the various countries. The main views are set out below. Belgian-Russian origin (19th century) According to many sources, it was created around the second half of the nineteenth century by Lucien Olivier, a Russian chef of Belgian origin, in the kitchens of the elegant and prestigious Hermitage restaurant (in Russian: Эрмитаж ?, transliterated: Ėrmitaž) in Moscow, which remained open for more than fifty years, from 1864 to 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, offering traditional French dishes adapted to Russian taste; it was almost an institution of the Russian capital and the scene of official banquets, such as that of Tchaikovsky’s wedding or that in honor of Dostoevsky. The Russian salad, called Olivier salad (in Russian: Оливье?, Transliterated: Oliv’e), was the symbolic dish of the restaurant, and was prepared with a very different recipe from the one that later spread; according to some sources the original ingredients were in fact: cold meat, cold tongue, sausage, ham, truffle, aspic, and a garnish of capers and salted anchovy fillets. According to other sources, the ingredients 34

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1-liter water 2 cans of tuna 1 can green pickles 1 can pitted olives homemade mayonnaise

Steps Peel the vegetables - Cut the potatoes and carrots into cubes of little more than one cm on each side. Cook in boiling salted water, first incorporating the carrot and after 5 minutes the potatoes. - Remove and let it cool. Season with a splash of olive oil. When the vegetables are cold add the peas. - Add the mayonnaise, mix and serve.

were: partridges, boiled potatoes, hardboiled eggs, pickled cucumbers, black truffles, crayfish, jelly cubes, pickles (gherkins, capers, and green olives). The dish as a whole was therefore very different from the Russian salad currently prepared across the globe. The restaurant, given the success of the dish, wanted to keep it exclusive and tried to keep the recipe a secret. Later, according to some sources, at the beginning of the twentieth century, an employee of the Hermitage, going to work at another restaurant, communicated the secret recipe to the new master, who thus began to serve the dish with the name of “salad of the capital” (in Russian: столичный салат ?, transliterated: stoličnyj salat, which means “salad of the capital”: remember that the capital of the Russian Empire was St. Petersburg), which, however, could not compete with the original one, prepared with the highest quality ingredients (especially French: French wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil from Provence). Subsequently, the recipe was published by some publishing houses, thus spreading more and more. Once the recipe spread, the dish underwent an evolution that gradually led it to resemble what is prepared in the twenty-first century. In Russian, the salad is called “Olivier salad” (salat oliv’e) or simply “Olivier” (oliv’e). Franco-Russian origin (Napoleonic period). According to one hypothesis, this salad is

called Russian because, during the French invasion of Russia, a French politician, Lucien Olivier (and therefore namesake of the cook of the previous hypothesis), had introduced it in the country, where he still continues to call Insalata Olivier. Italian origin (sixteenth century) According to some scholars, however, before arriving in Russia, this salad had spread to France in the period of Caterina de ‘Medici, who moved to the transalpine country in 1533 with her cooks following her; they introduced some recipes from their homeland; the dish (but not its name) would have in this case an Italian origin. Italian origin (Piedmontese) In Piedmont, there was a rusa (i.e., red) salad in the 19th century which involved the use of beets. According to some sources, the dish was proposed by a cook of the Savoy court, on the occasion of the Tsar’s visit to Italy, at the end of the nineteenth century. The dish would have been prepared with products commonly grown in Russia such as carrots and especially potatoes; the recipe did not include the use of mayonnaise but of cream, which wanted to represent the snow, typical of the Russian climate. The Tsar would then take the recipe with him and the dish would quickly become well known. In fact, in France, it is called “Piedmontese salad” a variant of the Russian salad which provides, perhaps instead of beets, the use of fresh tomatoes. Later, according to this version, it would also spread in Europe but modified with the use of mayonnaise instead of cream.

Italian origin The Russian salad as it is prepared in Italy often has little to do with that prepared in Russia and this depends, according to another hypothesis on the origin of the name, on the fact that the term “Russian” does not refer to its origin from Russia, but it would derive from “Russian service”, that is a type of meal in which the courses were served all together on the table. Italian-Polish origin According to other sources, the dish was a creation of Bona Sforza, who introduced it in Poland, where the dish was later modified.

Russian salad and its name in various countries of the world

Russian salad In the Russia of the Tsars, Olivier salad was a dish for the rich, which became a popular and much cheaper dish during the Soviet period, adopting a variant that includes many vegetables and cold cuts instead of fish. During this period it became a staple appetizer in Russian festive lunches, especially between Christmas and New Year, accompanied by local champagne and Moroccan mandarins, which is still one of the most popular dishes in Russia. The Russian salad is a very popular dish also in the republics of the former Soviet Union, where the use of a good quantity of chicken is characteristic. The dish is prepared in various countries, where it is generally indicated with names sometimes referring to a foreign country, to suggest exoticism and celebration; so in Denmark, Norway and Finland it is “Italian salad”, in Germany it is sometimes called “Olivier salad”, other times “Italian salad”, in Russia “Olivier salad” (the term “salad of the capital”), in Iran “Olivier’s salad”, in Holland “salad of the Hussars”, in Lithuania “white salad”, in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire (Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Turkey) “Russian salad”, in Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary “French salad”, in Romania Salată boeuf. Variants Russian salad has numerous variations, depending on regional and even family traditions; in the other ingredients are added to the basic recipe, even to a substantial extent: diced boiled egg, chicken touches, cooked ham cubes, tuna in oil, capers, and anchovies, pickles. These ingredients, in the different variations, are added to the basic recipe individually or even together.



id you know that the name Macedonia (fruit salad) has to do with a region that is north of Greece? Yes, Macedonia, the land of Alexander the Great. Everyone knows that Alexander was a great warrior who, thanks to his phalanxes and military talent, took over much of the known world. But Macedonia did not only go down in history for its powerful monarch. It happens that this region has a fertile plain called Imathias, which, as Andrea Uerle said, “is similar to a large fruit bowl”. It is that there, says the researcher, fresh and high-quality fruit is produced, to the point that the name of the region has been associated with this mixture of fruits. “The offer is so wide that it is almost impossible to resist such an abundance of sun-ripened fruits, especially on the hottest days of the year. “The freshly harvested fruit detaches from the tree and ripens without haste, it has been able to develop the fullness of its aromas and gives off an intense fragrance without the need to resort to any chemical product or to complete the ripening with artificial methods,” says the author. Another theory maintains that the name Macedonia comes from the fact that different peoples, languages ​​and cultures alternated in that empire, another cocktail even more interesting than fruit, which is the set of heterogeneous peoples and cultures, although this statement does not have much support. That said, what are the tips to keep in mind to make a good Macedonia or fruit salad?

FRESH FRUIT SALAD Ingredients 3 bananas 3 apples 3 oranges 3 pears 1 can of peaches in syrup

250 grams plum or strawberries 3  tablespoons sugar 1.5 liters of soda or orange juice

Steps Wash the fruits and peel those with peels Chop all the fruit into small squares and put them in a container that has a lid and is made of plastic or glass, never metal, add the soda or juice, sugar, mix and let it rest for several hours Add a few drops of lemon to prevent the fruit from darkening due to oxidation, store covered and, in the refrigerator, as mentioned before. It can be served alone or with ice cream. #1. The fruits. Fleshy and stone fruits are ideal, but for that you have to wait for the summer season. Strawberries, plums, cherries, peaches, and melons are spectacular and pair very well with each other. In addition, you can add sweet and tropical fruits, such as pineapple or mango. Banana is excellent, but you have to add it at the last minute because it oxidizes quickly. #2. How to cut them? If the strawberries are small, it is advisable to leave them whole; in addition, generally the smallest strawberry is usually tastier. If they are large, they can be cut into sheets. In all cases, it is advisable to wash them well because they usually have a lot of pesticides. The plums and peaches are cut into wedges, the banana into slices and the pineapple into triangles. Once chopped, add a splash of lemon juice to maintain the original color of the fruits. #3. Sweeten? If the fruits are ripe, no added sugar is necessary. It is enough with a good syrup, if not, you can add one or two tablespoons of sugar, to suit the cook. You can also add orange juice, or if you want to make it a little alcoholic, a few drops of Marsala, Port or Kirsch. JUNE 2021


Lean Pork Fillet Toast with guacamole and chimichurri sauce


hat is the origin of the name of the chimichurri sauce? In meat, fish or salads, the chimichurri sauce is perfect for its flavor, which can be more or less intense. However, the origin of its name is not so clear and there are up to three versions that have its logic. The origin of the name of the chimichurri sauce, that preparation that is perfect to accompany roast meats, but that can also dress any recipe with fish or even salads, is not at all clear. In fact, there are up to three versions that have their weight as far as the etymology of this sauce is concerned. Two theories indicate that the origin of the name of the chimichurri sauce comes from Castilianized English expressions. What does seem proven is that the chimichurri was invented in South America, between Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, more specifically. Parsley, garlic, vinegar, salt, and chili (a variety of chili, which can be red, green, or yellow) are the essential ingredients in a recipe that originally used brine instead of vinegar. Regarding the origin of its name, one of the most accepted theories indicates that it has roots in the 19th century in Río de La Plata. There, after the English invasions of the Spanish colonies, many British were taken prisoner. Years later, when they were released, they asked for the sauce that we know today as chimichurri saying “give me curry”, an expression that would have become Spanish over time. There are also those who point out that they actually said: “Che, my curry.” However, there is also another theory that speaks of an Irish immigrant, named James McCurry. In Argentina it was impossible to find Worcestershire sauce at that time, so McCurry devised a recipe with the available ingredients very similar to that of today’s chimichurri. James was amicably called Jimmy, so his first and last names were Spanishized as “Yimi Churri.” A third theory indicates that probably the origin of the term chimichurri is not in a concrete event, but perhaps derives from old indigenous and Spanish terms 36

JUNE 2021

LEAN PORK FILLET TOAST Ingredients 2 servings 200 gr pork fillet Chimichurri sauce

Guacamole sauce Burger sauce Toasted bread

Steps We toast the bread in the toaster In a bowl, mix the 60% guacamole and 30% chimichurri sauce. Mix well until they are combined with each other. Spread the toasts with the sauce. Put in the pan to cook the pork (thinly sliced) When the meat is done, put on top of the toasts and put a drop of burger sauce. that have been lost over the years. The fact that in the Dominican Republic there is a recipe called chimichurris and that it resembles a hamburger reinforces this trend. It depends on the chili Chimichurri can be more or less intense in flavor depending on the kind of chili that is added to the recipe. In addition, its flavor will also depend on the spices that you want to use in a preparation that you always have to marinate for a few days. Although it is typical to apply this sauce to meat roasts, you can also accompany it with fish and poultry.


Guacamole, a recipe promoted by the Aztec civilization, is a nutritious dish that allows us to benefit from the properties of avocado. Guacamole, originally known as guacamol in Central America and Cuba, is a delicious avocado sauce from the Aztec civilization. The recipe, extended long after the hand of the conquerors among the European countries, has evolved according to the geographical location both in uses and ingredients. A delicious delicacy that today we can easily cook and that deserves to be known.

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE Original chimichurri ingredients: 3 tablespoons of oregano. 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley. 1 tablespoon of garlic, finely minced. 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh chili (ground cayenne or chili). ½ tablespoon of salt. 200 ml. of oil. 4 tablespoons of white vinegar. Hot water. Preparation of the original chimichurri: Its preparation is very simple. You just have to mix the ingredients well in a container and put it in the fridge for 2448 hours so that the flavors mix well. The name of guacamole comes from the Nahuatl “Ahuacamolli”, a union of the words: “ahuacatl” (avocado) and “molli” (mole or sauce). According to mythology, the Toltec god Quetzalcoatl offered this recipe to his people and it was later spread throughout the Mesoamerican area, located in the east and center of Mexico and Guatemala. For

the Aztecs, the avocado had certain erotic connotations, a belief that prevented women from being part of its collection as it was considered a symbol that represented the testicles. In its origins, guacamole was made from crushed avocado, water, lemon juice, tomato and chili, although later different ingredients such as onion, coriander or garlic have been added. Consumption customs vary according to the geographical point in which we are. Thus, in Mexico it is used to accompany different types of meats, tacos or cakes, while in other countries such as Venezuela, it is also used to combine with various types of roasts. Different is the case of countries such as the United States, Australia or some regions of Asia. In these areas, given the high export cost of avocado, the recipe is implemented with other foods such as mayonnaise to increase the volume of the sauce.

Guacamole arrived late in Europe, driven mainly by the conquerors. In the case of Spain, thanks to the high production of avocados in areas such as the Axarquía of Malaga, Granada or Gran Canaria, we can enjoy this tasty recipe and benefit from all the properties of this tropical fruit, which helps reduce cholesterol levels and triglycerides, increasing good cholesterol due to the presence of monounsaturated fats. It is also a natural antioxidant for the skin. Avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, a nutritious and delicious recipe originally from the Aztecs But how do you prepare guacamole? You need three avocados, 1/4 of an onion, a clove of garlic and salt. We will also add two small tomatoes and a little lemon to help prevent oxidation. Once the mixture is made, it will be ready to serve accompanied, for example, by nachos or crackers. m

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Organic gardening BY DANA COLE


hile best known for her gardening expertise, there’s much more to Pearl O’Neill than a green thumb. At 105, this Sierra Vista centenarian attributes her longevity to a life of growing and canning her own food, coupled with the desire to share her planting successes with others. O’Neill co-founded the Sierra Vista Area Gardeners’ Club in 1991 when she was 75. She also spent nearly 25 years as a classroom volunteer where she taught school children needlepoint, sewing and gardening skills, and she has been published in Mother Earth Magazine. During the Sierra Vista Gardeners’ Club 25th anniversary celebration in 2016, O’Neill was one of the organization’s two members honored with a proclamation by Mayor Rick Mueller. “I started the club with George Nesdahl and Yvonne Jingle in May 1991,” recalls O’Neill. “George was our first president,


JUNE 2021

but he had to step down for health reasons. I became the club’s second president, elected in July 1992. I’m very proud of the club because of how it’s grown through the years and for the information it gives local gardeners.” Born Feb. 16, 1916 on a family farm in New Jersey, O’Neill was the second of six children. “We were quite poor, but because of the farm, we always had everything we needed, even during the Great Depression,” she said in an earlier interview where she talked about life at a very different time. “We learned how to grow, can and put up our food, take care of farm animals, and cook and sew at a very young age. When I look back at my childhood, I’m thankful I have these skills, because I’ve used them throughout my life.” Always a teacher, O’Neill passed those skills onto her own children. “I raised five children, and all of them have gardened — no food stamps for my children,” she said with a smile. Despite suffering from a broken hip at 97, O’Neill

by Pearl O’Neill

gardened until she was 103. “I was told I would not walk again,” she said. “But I can be very stubborn. To me, that was a challenge and I did not let it stop me from gardening. I just did it at a slower pace.” With the help of a cane, O’Neill continued to garden for another six years. She raised an assortment of fruits, vegetables and herbs, as well as colorful flowers and landscape plants. Today, she continues to share decades of “tried and true” gardening tips through notes she compiles and distributes to people who request them. Two of those include: “Eating From Jars” and “Thoughts by Pearl O’Neill.” Throughout her decades of gardening, O’Neill prides herself in using natural products and techniques. “I do not use pesticides in my garden,” she said. “I’m an organic gardener and I control pests with natural ingredients. This is the way I’ve been gardening all my life, and it works. I credit eating food that is not compromised by chemicals for my longevity.” m

Here are some of Pearl O’Neill’s gardening tips for controlling pests. NO MORE RABBITS To keep rabbits out of the garden, fill a couple of fivegallon buckets with water and set them in different areas of the garden. Add one cup of fish emulsion to each bucket and stir well. “Rabbits will not come near your garden,” O’Neill promises. BUG CONTROL Beans — To keep bugs away from beans, plant zinnia seeds, or put a geranium plant in the bed. Also, pull weeds and lay them around the plants. Cabbages — Sprinkling salt on cabbage plants keeps white butterflies away. It’s also beneficial to plant a few onions around the cabbage. Cucumbers — To help control squash bugs, plant radish seeds with cucumbers and other vine plants. Tomatoes — By planting marigolds, fennel and borage plants with tomatoes, O’Neill has had success in keeping a variety of bugs away, including the horned tomato worm. Apples — To prevent wormy apples, O’Neill uses a home-made trap capable of capturing flying insects. She takes a gallon milk jug and cuts a two-inch opening on one side. She then combines one part molasses, six parts vinegar and and six parts water to create a mixture that she pours into the jug. Hang or set the trap near apple trees. Insects are drawn to the sticky mixture, but can’t escape once inside the trap. O’Neill says she tosses the doomed bugs into her compost pile. Aphid spray — Mix one tablespoon of dish detergent with ½ cup Murphy’s Oil Soap and one gallon of warm water. Pour into a sprayer to use against aphids. Fruit fly trap — Take one banana peel, one cup sugar and on cup vinegar and put in a gallon milk jug. Fill with water, shake well and hang in a tree.

The Full Monty I

in e






Re d

was filled with delight as I prepared for my first live, in-person burlesque performance since 2019. Sliding into my itty bitty lady loincloth, I gazed in the mirror and realized that I had gained the whole COVID-19. While quarantined and working remotely for many months, my makeshift desk was conveniently located in the kitchen; this made it much easier for me to munch throughout the day and required fewer steps Mi v to get to the crackers. At s s D ox y D i that moment, staring at my little muffin top poking through the straps of my bedazzled knickers, I felt a deep disgust and resentment for myself. Over the next few weeks, I obsessively micromanaged my food intake and calorie spend. When I missed my unrealistic goals, I felt deeply guilty and shameful. I had entered into a toxic relationship with my body. Nearly everyone has that magic number embedded in the back of their minds and the accompanying false narrative that they would be happy if they could only reach it. I recall watching in horror as the breathtaking Renée Zellweger was considered fat at a balmy 135 pounds in the 2001 flick “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” That was my topsecret weight goal! However, being Rubenesque and nearly six feet tall, it is unlikely that I could ever maintain 135 pounds healthily. That was the first reality I would have to confront in creating a positive relationship with my body. Our bodies have a natural weight setpoint that is unrelated to the Body Mass Index (BMI). This setpoint fluctuates within a range between five to twenty pounds. Essentially, when we eat nutritiously and work out moderately, our weight will tend to stay the same. However, as our lives fluctuate with overloaded schedules, changes in stress levels, or other disruptions in regular routines, our bodies will adjust accordingly. When you are trying to lose weight actively, your setpoint is why you might experience a proverbial plateau at a particular pound. So, put the scale away! Focus on a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for you. Fitness and nutrition can be for everyone; it is a matter of finding your groove. I detest the gym experience and prefer workouts that require my body and mind to work together in the

solitude of my home, such as yoga or dancing. Practicing awareness of my body through physical movements also helps me be mindful when it comes to food. I am the queen of happy eating, stress eating, eating from boredom, and eating just because food tastes good. In fact, as I am writing these words, I am snacking on a spoonful of peanut butter. Before I saunter to the kitchen, I check in with my stomach to see if I am actually hungry or if I am eating for the sake of food. If I could give just one commandment to anyone trying to improve their relationship with their body, it would be this: thou shalt not judge other people’s bodies or compare them to thyself. It seems simple, but it is a daunting task that will require loads of practice. Be particularly careful with social media. I follow many burlesque dancers on these platforms and see attractive individuals in their very best posed, sexily dressed, and filtered selves. When I see a body that is different from mine, I must be mindful not to assume it is “better” and to avoid feeling guilt over the differences. Likewise, I try to take note of those with a similar body to mine, admiring a pose or an outfit that would serve my body as well. I have often found myself in the space of body neutrality rather than body positivity throughout my life. Many find this surprising, as I am frequently in nothing but teensyweensy nether garments and pasties on stage in the gaze of a few hundred strangers. The space of body neutrality is okay, particularly if the pursuit of body positivity is new to you. Becoming neutral rather than negative toward your body is the first step toward a positive body image. Okay, I would also give a second commandment: spoil thyself. You deserve it! Be proactive in your journey. Instead of waiting until negative feelings surface, do things that associate positive feelings with your body. Try a solo stroll to nowhere, a new tattoo, silky underpants - spoil your body. Changing the dynamic of your toxic relationship will require a little extra leg work (see what I did there?). Now is the time to forgive yourself for being so harsh to you and begin repairing the relationship. m


A Candid Conversation About Body Image with a Burlesque Dancer

JUNE 2021


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