Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lilies in the Fall Garden?

It may seem rather strange to think of landscapes decorated with lilies in fall, but summer and fall rain bring on the lovely blooms of rain lilies (Zephyranthes species).

Rain or 'zephyr' lilies add beauty to the gardens throughout the Southern half of the U.S., including the Southwest.  While their apperance may make you think that they are delicate and needs lots of coddling, nothing could be further from the truth.

Like other types of lilies, they are grown from bulbs planted in fall and are surprisingly, moderately drought tolerant.

The white species (Zephyranthes candida) is my favorite and has evergreen foliage.  There are other species and hybrids in colors such as pink and peach.

Rain lilies deserve a greater presence in the landscape, given their delicate beauty that adds welcome interest to the fall garden.  They are also easy to grow.

For more information on this delightful plant, including the different species and how to plant and grow your own this fall, check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Water Saving Landscapes: 3 Options

For those who live in the western half of the United States, water has always been seen as a precious resource – especially during recent years as long-term drought has made its impact felt with dwindling water supplies.  As a result, many of us find ourselves looking for ways to save water and as the largest user of residential water - the landscape is the first place to make significant changes. 

Let’s look at three different low water landscape options and how they can help you save water.  

Option #1: Drought Tolerant – This landscape is characterized by lush green, flowering plants such as bougainvillea, lantana, oleanders and yellow bells – all of which do well in hot, arid climates in zones 9 and above.  While most of these plants aren’t native to the Southwest, they are considered moderately drought tolerant and are suitable for those who want more a lush-appearing desert garden.  For best results, deep water once a week in summer and every 2 weeks in winter.

Option #2: Moderately Drought Tolerant – Native, flowering plants make up this type of landscape and include plants like chuparosa, damianita, penstemon, Texas sage and turpentine bush.  Because these plants are native to the Southwestern region, they need infrequent watering to look their best – a good guideline is to water deeply twice a month in summer and monthly in winter.

Option #3: Extremely Drought Tolerant – For a landscape that can exist on very little water, a collection of cacti and succulents are the way to go.  Columnar cacti such as Mexican fence post, organ pipe, saguaro and totem pole add height to the garden alongside lower growing succulents like agave, candelilla and desert milkweed, which can be used to create a landscape filled with texture and contrasts.  Golden barrel, hedgehog cacti and mammillaria fill in smaller spaces and look great next to boulders.  Once established, they can survive on natural rainfall, but will look best with deep monthly watering in summer when possible.

It’s important to note that plants should be watered deeply to a depth of 2 ft., which promotes deep root growth and the soil stays moister longer.  

Whichever option you select, creating an attractive water saving landscape is within your reach that will thrive in our drought-stricken region.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Purple Blooms for the Fall Garden

Fall in the garden is a time of celebration with plants enjoying the period of time after the heat of summer has bid goodbye and before the cold of winter arrives. 

This time of year is filled colorful blooming plants decorating our outdoor spaces.  In the past few weeks, the color purple has made its presence known in several gardens that I have visited recently.

If you love the color purple, here are some plants that you may want to include in your garden.

Black dalea (Dalea frutescens) saves its flowering for fall when violet flowers appear above its lacy foliage.

This Southwestern native is hardy to 15 degrees F. and does best in full sun.  Black dalea is underused in the landscape and deserves to be used more.

Desert ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis) is a shrub that I use often in my client's designs.  I love that it flowers throughout the year as well as its attractive foliage.

A native of Mexico, this shrub does best in full sun to partial shade and is hardy to zone 9 gardens.

Sometimes, parking lot medians can put on a spectacular show.  This blue ranger (Leucophyllum zygophyllum) begins blooming in summer but saves its best flowering for fall.

The gray foliage also adds great color contrast in the garden.  Hardy to 10 degrees, plant in full or reflected sun for maximum flowering.

One of the most beautiful purple blossoms belongs to the skyflower (Duranta erecta) shrub.  Delicate purple flowers are arrayed on graceful arching stems.

Hardy to 20 degrees, skyflower blooms spring through fall.  

Last week, while I was doing a landscape consultation, my attention was drawn to a beautiful blue potato bush (Lycianthies rantonnetti) blooming in the front yard.

The vibrant purple flowers contrasted beautifully with the bright green foliage.  This shrub is hardy to zone 9 gardens.

Finally, let's look at the generous blooms of purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis).  This lantana groundcover blooms spring through fall and needs very little care other than pruning once or twice a year.

Hardy to 20 degrees, this lantana grows in full sun or partial shade.  

I hope that you have enjoyed this tour of purple autumn blooms.  

What is flowering this fall in your garden?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Drought Tolerant and Beautiful: Turpentine Bush

While fall color may be somewhat lacking in the Southwest landscape in comparison to areas with brilliant fall foliage, we do have several plants that wait until fall to begin to color the landscape with their blooms.

Turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) is a desert native that has lovely, dark green foliage year round.  With the arrival of fall, they are transformed by the appearance of golden yellow flowers.

It's hard to find a plant that needs less attention than this drought tolerant beauty - pruning every 3 years and monthly watering in summer is all it needs.

Learn more about why you should add turpentine bush to your landscape including how to use it for greatest effect and what plants to pair it with in my latest article for Houzz.com


Related Posts with Thumbnails