Through The Garden Gate of Melva Tibbetts – Prescott, Arizona
“The gardening and birding seem to go hand-in-hand here. The trees provide shelter for the birds and the deck flowers attract and provide natural nectar for the hummingbirds. It is so rewarding to watch our beautiful feathered friends enjoy the food we are happy to provide them. It is fun and relaxing and has brought us a lot of joy over the years.” Melva Tibbetts
Featured Gardener: Melva Tibbetts
Location: Prescott, Arizona
Years Gardening: 45
Zone: Northern Arizona – 7b
How much time do you spend gardening? For instance, would you consider yourself a daily daisy, weekend wildflower, spring and summer succulent, or occasional orchid?
Daily Daisy + Summer Succulent. I tend my plants daily during the summer, dead-heading, watering, checking for flower-gnawing creatures.
Describe your garden(s) or gardening activities:
I do Container Gardening. Our location is called “high desert” and our community does not allow fenced yards, plus we have frequent visits from Javelina (collared peccary), deer, rabbits, chipmunk and squirrels. All these visitors make gardening a challenge – hence deck container gardening! So, beginning in early May I start filling the pots with a variety of plants including: Petunias, Marigold, Vinca, Geranium, hibiscus, spikes (to name a few), all of which do well in sunny locations. In the covered area in front of our house there are Impatients, Coleus, Begonia, and this year I planted a Hydrangea.
What about your garden(s) or gardening activities has given you the most pride?
The Hibiscus are so beautiful and showy. I also love the coleus which especially flourish when the Monsoons begin.
What about your garden(s) or gardening activities has been the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
Finding the right plants that will do well on a sunny deck is always a challenge. Also, trying to keep the worms off my petunias! I spend lots of time hunting the nasty things and squishing them!
What advice would you give to a novice gardener who is just starting out?
Visit a well-known Garden Center and get their advice on the best plants for your area. Start out slow to see what does well.
What are your two favorite “can’t live without” gardening tools or products?
The tool I use most often is the trowel. I also get a lot of use out of my galvanized watering can.
What’s your next project?
When summer growing season is through, I will fill a few pots with lovely Pansies and Violas which do well in our snowy winter days. It is amazing how their beautiful little faces pop right up out of a covering of snow. That gives the deck some color till May comes around again.
Beginning in about April I put out a hummingbird feeder and will have one or two visitors for a while. As our beautiful warm days arrive I am up to three feeders hanging above the deck railing to nourish many hummers! Hummingbirds are also attracted by red flowers so I try to have some red blooms nearby the feeders. By mid-July there could be six-eight hungry little hummers on each feeder with many more flitting around impatiently waiting their turn. Hummingbirds are quite “territorial” so they do their best to chase others away. So much fun to watch!
How does your garden and/or gardening enrich your life?
In addition to the hummingbird feeders, we have five bird feeders on poles in our back yard which is a year-round commitment. Along with the migratory birds we have resident quail and dove. It is especially exciting when the parents bring their baby quail out and teach them to feed. The gardening and birding seem to go hand-in-hand here. The trees provide shelter for the birds and the deck flowers attract and provide natural nectar for the humming birds. It is so rewarding to watch our beautiful feathered friends enjoy the food we are happy to provide them. It is fun and relaxing and has brought us a lot of joy over the years.
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