My name is Amber and I am glad you’re visiting us in our little corner of the massive world wide web. This post is about my gardening journey and how PHX Gardening came to be.
PHX is abbreviated for Phoenix. I have a fondness for the mythical bird that can rise from the ashes and a love for growing stuff. The mythical Phoenix is a symbol of renewal. Similarly, gardening is a constant cycle of death and rebirth. So, it seemed fitting to choose this name for a gardening site.
First Time Visitor?
My Gardening Journey
When I was young we had very little yard so my earliest gardening memories are of planting herbs and tomatoes in a two foot square area next to our back porch. In about first grade the city made urban gardening plots available and this was my first experience gardening on a larger scale.
Urban Community Garden Experience
Being young I have no idea the ins and out on how this community garden worked, however I do remember how exciting it was to take the bus every weekend to check on our little garden plot. I like to think families still garden there today.
I remember looking across the land when we first arrived at the community garden. At the time it was just a large empty field with perfectly measured rectangle plots of black dirt divided by strings. Each plot had a number next to it matching the assigned number your family was given. The community garden had tools everyone could share and multiple hoses you dragged across the grassy paths you could use to water your plants. It was long enough to reach the top of your plot, so we dug down in the dirt between the rows to help the water flow down and minimize the manual task of carrying a heavy watering can.
For a city girl, this 20 feet long and 10 feet wide plot of dark brown earth seemed like an enormous amount of space to grow stuff. We weren’t limited to just herbs, now we had space to plant lettuce and carrots and peas. I loved it and I looked forward to checking in on the plants every week.
Learn about the oldest community garden in the United States.
Gardening in Different States
From first grade on through high school and into adulthood I have always had a garden. It was difficult because we moved a lot. Due to the small space and frequent moves I started incorporating vegetables and herbs into my flower garden. That way I could have a little bit of everything in a condensed space. If you have a small garden area, companion planting can be a really helpful gardening technique.
I’ve grown vegetables, herbs and flowers in three very different environments. In Wisconsin and Colorado I had a vegetable, herbs and flower garden. It was here I experimented in growing a lot of bulbs. I love tulips and planted over 100 tulips and hyacinths while we lived there. I hope the next homeowners loves tulips.
We have lived in Arizona for more than 20 years. During this time we’ve grown vegetables, herbs, fruit, trees, and flowers here.
Gardening in Arizona
Growing food and flowers in Arizona is different than so many places. It is here I learned how the heat index affects plants. It isn’t just about location, sun and watering in Phoenix you also have to keep in mind how hot the temperatures are and how long those temperatures are sustained.
For example, 2023 was a challenging growing season due to the number of days the temps remained above 110 degrees. Even heat tolerant desert plants struggled with the extremes. I was pretty upset to lose some of my drought tolerant plants this year despite watering and shading. Don’t give up in gardening if you lose some plants. It is inevitable that even despite utilizing best practices there will be casualties.
Gardening in Small Spaces
The majority of my gardening experience has been in small spaces. I’ve learned how to interplant and make the most of the space available.
When I first created this website in 2009 it was for me to keep an online journal of what I planted and how well it did in the spot I planted it. If you garden you are constantly learning and adapting. I love to garden and recently completed the Master Gardening courses in Maricopa County.
Whether you’re just starting your first garden or you’ve been gardening for years, my hope is that sharing my experiences helps in some small way to your garden success.