Although it is still technically winter here in the desert, the signs of spring are everywhere….

The plum tree at Double S Farms begins to flower.
Earlier this week, I noticed the plum tree that sits in front of the house at Double S Farms, is just beginning to unfurl it’s flowers.  I cannot wait to have some of my mother’s plum preserves in a few months :^)
Yesterday, I traveled up to an area north of Fountain Hills, AZ, which is approximately a one hour’s drive from my home.  It is also the place where I worked for over 5 years.  I was asked to do a landscape consultation for a client and so I brought my camera along to see what signs of spring I could capture in the surrounding area.
 
I went for a drive on one of the golf courses that I used to work on and immediately headed for one of my favorite places.  This area of the golf course borders the desert, with only a barbed wire fence separating the natural desert from the golf course.
 

The desert was lush and green as a result of the winter rains we have received.  Snow can be seen melting from the top of Four Peaks Mountain in the distance.
 
Flower buds are beginning to form at the tips of the Buckhorn Cholla.
 
 
Tiny blue flowers grace this Rosemary shrub.
 
Next, I went on a drive around the beautifully landscaped homes and took pictures of the plants that were in flower. 

Threadleaf Cassia (Senna nemophila)
Cassia shrubs, a favorite Australian native of mine, are beginning to flower showing off their bright yellow blossoms.
 
Trailing Indigo Bush (Dalea greggii)
Tiny purple petals are just beginning to peek out from the Trailing Indigo Bush.  Their vibrant purple color contrast so beautifully with the gray-green leaves of this groundcover.
 
Sweet Acacia Tree (Acacia farnesiana)
This native desert tree is encased in fragrant, golden puffball flowers. 
Octopus Agave (Agave vilmoriniana)
This Octopus Agave, which I planted years ago, is working towards achieving it’s crowning glory – rapidly growing it flowering stalk, which will produce hundreds of new ‘baby’ agave plants.  Once it has finished flowering, it will die.
 
Gopher Plant (Euphorbia glandulosa)
An ugly common name, graces this beautiful succulent plant.  In spring, they are covered with vibrant, chartreuse colored flowers.
  
Valentine Shrub (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)
I would like to finish this post by showing you a photo that I took yesterday of my favorite shrub, Valentine.  They were in full-bloom yesterday and it was obvious that they are my favorite as they were present in most landscape areas that I had designed years ago.
Thank you for allowing me to show you some of the beautiful plants that I have been so blessed by seeing this week.  This is such a wonderful time of the year in the desert and it isn’t even spring yet!  
As winter ends and spring begins, there will be more to see….wildflowers, flowering Palo Verde trees, cactus flowers and much more!   
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

25 replies
  1. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    The desert is a beautify to behold in the spring! It must be wonderful to live and work in such environment (except in the hottest days of summer, maybe?)

  2. Kiki
    Kiki says:

    Wonderful blooms…such beauty! It is exciting to know Spring is in the air..and just around the bend! Fab Blooms on the valentine..awesome!
    Kiki~

  3. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, This is such a surprise to see so much in flower at this time of year. In fact your photographs show the landscape to be quite verdant. The Agave is amazing – grown nearly always in pots in the UK and never that size.

  4. jeansgarden
    jeansgarden says:

    Noelle, Thanks for sharing all these beautiful signs of spring. I'm especially taken with those violet flowers contrasting with the gray-green foliage. Wonderful! -Jean

  5. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    Noelle, your photos are rapidly changing my perceptions of what a desert is. So many blooms, and in winter no less! My husband just made a trip out there last month and fell in love with the Arizona desert!

  6. Brad
    Brad says:

    Flowers in the desert I think go doubly appreciated. I really like the cassia and the indigo bush. I like the purple with the light grey-green leaves.

  7. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    Noelle How lovely to see your green desert and lovely blooming flowers so colourful. I have a different picture now of a desert in my mind I shall think of yours instead of just sand.

  8. Kathleen Scott
    Kathleen Scott says:

    I found you from a comment at Clay and Limestone. It's a treat to see your desert plantings. I was surprised to recognize a number of them. We're in the Texas Hill Country which isn't theoretically a desert, except that it was the last two years.

    Thank you for showing Dalea greggii in bloom. I just planted some in December and am looking forward to seeing it take off in summer.

    Lovely photographs, and sentiment. I'll be back for more.

  9. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    The most feeling that surfaced in me was envy because i dont have the chance to see all those beauties, i cannot choose anyone because everything was lovely, from the individual flower to the wideangle landscape! How i wish i can have a trip there! The rosemary which doesnt flower here even grows that big in that area! All i can put in my sentences are exclamation points! thanks for all those.

  10. gloria
    gloria says:

    Hi Noelle, great pictures. I remember as a little girl, I walked up to a cholla and began to reach my hand out to touch it, and the cholla did what a cholla does. It zoomed into my skin. My mother laughed, can you imagine? She was raised in the desert. She grabbed two little sticks and pulled it out. I learned the lesson of the cholla. 🙂

  11. Troy
    Troy says:

    Arid areas are always so interesting and I'm super envious of your Eremophila. I have to baby mine through the cold wet winters. Thanks for the tour.

  12. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    Oh, Noelle, that shot of the greened-up desert with the mountain in the distance is just breathtaking. There is such an austere beauty to that part of the world, and I'm glad you're here to share it with those of us far away!

    You've made me long to see my own rosemary bushes soon in flower. Love the trailing indigo bush. And I can see why the Valentine shrub ended up in nearly all your designs!

  13. Msrobin
    Msrobin says:

    The desert is indeed a lovely place to be in late winter. So many flowers! I am quite envious. You have me in love with Valentine bushes now, wish they would grow here!

  14. Carol
    Carol says:

    What inspiring majestic views Noelle… I can imagine how lovely it must be to work on gardens and then take a break to enjoy your stunning landscapes. Great photos!!

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