A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That….

Firecracker Penstemon

I imagine that many of you are busy this week with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  My kids love that they only have to go to school for three days this week.  As I mentioned before, I am hosting Thanksgiving this year at our house for my in-laws and my brother and sister-in-law and their two new baby boys.

Do you know someone who loves to entertain?  Or maybe you are that someone?  As for me, I like the ‘idea’ of entertaining but not necessarily the work.  I tend to get a bit distracted as I plan out the details.  So, this post may appear a bit disjointed, which is how my brain works most of the time….so please bear with me 😉

Out in my garden, there are definite signs that winter will be here in just one month.

first blooms

I always celebrate the first blooms of my Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), which will soon be a favorite destination for the hummingbirds.

first blooms

If you don’t already have one of these in your garden….rush to your local nursery and GET one.  My Valentine shrub (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) is one of most favorite plants.  Soon it will be covered in red, trumpet shaped flowers that will last through spring.

first blooms

The yellow blossoms of my Cascalote tree look so beautiful against the blue sky, don’t you think?

Although I do try to include plants in my garden that will bloom through the fall and winter seasons, there is an area that is not particularly colorful…..

first blooms

Not too impressive….is it?

This is what my Bermuda grass lawn looks like once night time temperatures dip into the 50’s.  Although it looks more brown then green, it is not dead – just dormant.  Once the spring temperatures arrive it will green up very quickly.

Now if you love green grass and your husband loves to have to mow the lawn 12 months out of the year (mine doesn’t), you can overseed your grass with perennial rye grass seed in early fall.  I have done this from time to time, but not for the past couple of years.

The other day as I was up our driveway, I saw that one of my plants had a surprise for me….

Agave desmettiana

My Agave desmettiana is beginning to grow it’s flowering stalk.

It grows at an extremely fast rate and you can actually measure the growth daily.

first blooms

You know, I have seen hundreds of flowering agave, but it never gets old.  It is particularly special when it occurs in your own garden.

A common myth is that agave flower after being in the ground 100 years, hence the name ‘Century Plant’.  However, and the length of time that it takes an agave to flower is largely dependent on the species.  Some take longer to flower and others do not.

For example, my Agave desmettiana, above is actually the offspring of my previous agave that flowered and then died.  My agave above is only 5 years old.

**You may notice agave that have had their flowering stalk cut off in hopes that this will keep the agave from dying.  This will not work and robs the landscape of months of beauty that the flowering stalk adds.

Before I go, there is an upcoming event in our area that I would love to tell you about.  It is called Tour de Coops and one of the stops on the tour will be Double S Farms!

Double S Farms

For those of you who may be newer readers, Double S Farms is the residence of my mother (Pastor Farmer), my sister (Chicken Farmer) and her family.  

Double S Farms

 My son Kai loves hanging out with the chickens.

You might have guessed that the tour involves chicken coops.  Actually it is “a self-guided tour of the coolest chicken set-ups” in the Phoenix metro area.

This year’s event occurs on December 4th and you can find more information and ticket information at Tour de Coops.

Tour de Coops

I plan on being at Double S Farms on that day to help and hopefully be able to meet some of you 🙂

Well, that is about it for now.  I need to work on my grocery list for Thursday.  I have a 21 lb turkey thawing out in my refrigerator, but need just a couple more items including heavy cream for my baked corn dish 🙂

I hope you are having a great week so far!

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, 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."
9 replies
  1. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    hi Noelle, just like Ginny i wish i am also close enough to be with the tour and visit your garden too. I also had chicken in my last post, my first post of chicken in this blog. About the agave, i always see an expanse of them already starting to flower every morning going to work, because a big landscape area for business buildings along the hiway had lots of agaves in the landscape. It was a long stretch and my neck always bend to the right, hehe.

  2. catmint
    catmint says:

    Hi Noelle,
    Happy thanksgiving. I love entertaining too, but not if I don't have the time to relaxedly get things ready. That is wonderfully surreal of Kai with the big chicken! In the agave photo the growing stem looks just like asparagus. I appreciate the photo of the grass because I think it's important to remind people gardens like us can't look great all the time! cheers, catmint

  3. Marguerite
    Marguerite says:

    wow, what an amazing plant that agave is. I went back and read your old post showing the different varieties too. The height and different flowers are so impressive.

  4. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    Well, I'd love to run right out to the nursery and get a Valentine, but I've never seen one there. You do have a few unusual specimens in this post that I've never heard of. Love that yellow-flowering tree!

    Speaking of disordered minds, we are having Thanksgiving here at my house, and I am really putting off the chores I need to do. Ugh.

  5. Carol
    Carol says:

    Your Agave is so incredible. I love the yellow Cascalote blooms before the blue. I should love to visit your family Double S Farms. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Noelle!

  6. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    Hi Noelle. We are going to have to feast on your blooms this winter to get us by. I cannot wait to see the Agave in bloom. The stalk in itself is amazing.
    Have a wonderful and Blessed Thanksgiving with the family.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I confess that I am one who loves the holidays – the planning, preparation, cooking, decorating, even the cleaning up! I've enjoyed "century plants" over the years but their little pointy ends are indeed sharp. Mine have all died after blooming over the last 30 years here and I've not replaced them due to inquisitive children and dogs. I like to look at other people's however! I enjoy your blog very much!
    – Daisy in Ahwatukee

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