The Potted Desert View

The Potted Desert View
This blog is for you, the native or transplanted desert dweller. Our harsh and varied desert climates continually present a challenge for gardeners. Those of you who have moved from a colder climate such as the mid-west or New England, you have most likely tried to find container gardening information that tells you how to grow the kind of garden like you had 'back home.'

Search here to find answers to your potted garden questions.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Please visit our new location at

Please visit my new site at the Potted Desert and sign up for my monthly eblasts about container gardening in the desert. 

After working for 25 years in the nonprofit world, I knew I wanted to pursue a very different career. I had always dreamed of opening my own business and explored many options but could not find one that fit my goals and talents. Finally, my experience with my own potted gardens in our home inspired me to look at this as a possibility. Founding The Contained Gardener in 1998 was the niche business that tapped my creative energies as well as my long desire to open a business. I envisioned one so successful that the name The Contained Gardener would become the standard of exceptional potted landscape design, unparalleled creativity and quality in Tucson’s desert community. The success of The Contained Gardener led to its eventual sale in 2012 to Sonoran Gardens Landscape Design, a local Tucson company.
Since then, I have been compelled to share all that I learned from container gardening over 15 years of blistering summers and record breaking winters. With this, the Potted Desert was born. 
  • Receive notices about my potted garden classes at Tucson Botanical Gardens and my Upcoming Book - Getting Potted in the Desert. Visit Potted Desert

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Free Potted Gardening Classes just around the corner

Our 2012 Winter classes are coming up fast.
Classes held at our Get Potted Design Studio are FREE!
Register today by just replying to this email.
Space is limited so we do ask you to register.
Upcoming Winter Classes 

~ Saturday, January 21   9-10:15am ~
A Flourishing Potted Garden 
Special Tips for maintaining your Tucson winter flowers.

Now that the holidays are over, your plants need some help and maybe 
you do too! This class includes topics on frost protection, rose pruning 
and a mid-season cutback of your winter annuals. 
Join Marylee, aka The Contained Gardener for this demonstration class 
and return home with the confidence you need to help your flowers 
thrive through April.

~ Hold the Date: (or better yet - register today by emailing me!)
Saturday, February 25, 2012   9-10:15 am ~
Designing Container Groupings

Clusters of pots offer immediate impact and ultimate flexibility. Learn how to successfully group pots and combine plantings for a beautiful focal point and one that is easy care. Join me for this demonstration class and return home with a plan for your own patio.

~ A special class presented at the Tucson Botanical Gardens 
Saturday, February 11; 9:30 -2 
When planting in containers, there is a definite method for plant survival, 
particularly in Tucson's challenging climate. Learn The Contained 
Gardener's tried and true techniques to planting successful potted 
gardens. In this class you will learn how to plant in pots and how 
to take care of your potted gardens. After lunch, you will create 
a potted floral garden to take home and enjoy on your shaded 
patio table. This class is perfect for the new to Tucson or new 
to potted gardens in the desert!
Presented by Marylee Pangman, Master Gardener and Owner 
of The Contained Gardener. You may brown bag a lunch to 
enjoy in the gardens or eat at the Garden's Cafe. 
Cost: Members $65 ; Non-members: $75
You must register with the Gardens. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Potted Garden Tips

December Garden Tips
The Last of the Summer Plantings!

Around your own home, you will have extremes in temperatures in "mini" microclimates.  Elevations, nearby washes, hardscape, and orientation of your home all contribute to this phenomenon. If you pay close attention to the differences around your home and in your neighborhood, you will develop a sense of what plants do well for you and what you need to protect in the event of a freeze or frost alert.

Tips for preventing frost damage:
  • Water the plants well the morning before possible frost/freeze.
  • Cover with frost cloth. Do not use plastic covers.
  • Tie or fasten the bottom so that the air does not get under it. Use clothespins!
  • Bring potted plants that are very tender close to protected walls, under carports, in garages or inside if possible.
  • Use Styrofoam cups on columnar cactus tips.
  • Wait to cut back frost damaged branches until March!!

Freeze Alert!

Snow flakes
There is a freeze warning for the Tucson area for  
tonight through Thursday morning.  
Be sure you cover your plants!
  • Cover tender annuals and perennials 
    • Do not use towels or plastic. 
    • Plastic conducts the cold
    • towels hold in the moisture which will then freeze
  • Use Clothespins or rocks to tie down the frost cloths. 
  • Keep plants covered at least until Thursday mid-morning. 
  • Double check the forecast for Thursday night to see if it is ok to uncover.
  • Cover newly planted tender plants.
  • Citrus, tender annuals such as geraniums, euphorbias
  • Agaves and tropical plants.
ml newIf you have any questions, 
email Catherine or me 
and we will try to help.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vegetable Garden Information - A Free Resource from the Master Gardener Program

Use our Master Gardner program through the UA Cooperative Education program for your plant information. 

Vegetable information can be found at

And to save you time - for your winter garden:
Cool-season vegetables include beet, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, radish, spinach and turnip. Because they are hardy or frost tolerant and germinate in cold soil they can be planted in winter or early spring depending on location. For best quality these crops need to mature during cooler periods rather than in the heat of the summer.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Potted Garden Tips

If you are not on my Potted E-News list, maybe you want to be!! Click here to sign up!
In the meantime, here are Novembers tips:

Our Yard of Winter Flowers - ready to go out to our clients!
It is definitely time to plant your winter annuals. Have fun with different textures and colors! Remember not to combine too many colors in one pot.

Keep watering your pots. When you plant new flowers, be sure you do not let those tender new roots dry out.

Roses in November (adapted from the Rose Society of Tucson)

We hope you are enjoying your fall blooms!

Water - if you do not have any annuals in your pots with your roses, you should water every other day.


  • Continue your water soluble fertilizer, until the fall shows are over.
  • Toward the end of November, you no longer want to encourage new growth.
  • Let your roses have a brief rest period for the winter.

  • Keep a watchful eye for powdery mildew. As the nighttime temperatures cool off, the conditions are right for this fungus.
  • At the first signs of mildew on your roses, spray with a fungicide such as Funginex.
  • Unless you have a mildew problem, you should not need to spray.

 If you need any help or have any questions, email me!

Cold Snap Here - Great local Tucson information

The average early frost for Tucson is November 15. Today is only the 7th but here we are with a forecast of 35 degrees tonight. So those living in the colder regions of Tucson and Southern Arizona - beware!

I suggest you bring in your tender tropicals and cover any plants in question. No - this is not a deep freeze but with the warm temperatures we have been having, we have new growth on our plants. Those that are rated as frost tender need to be protected.

For great information on proactive garden planning, check out this article from yesterday's AZ Daily Star.

In the meantime, this weekend will be a great time to plant your winter annuals!