Brown and Crispy OR Nice and Green….Part 2

Pink Globe Mallow

Well, after the rather ugly photos of brown and crispy plants that I showed you in my previous post, I am excited to show you the plants that did very well during our severe cold spell when temperatures dipped into the 20’s for 4 nights in a row.

Some are getting ready for the springtime show of flowers like my Pink Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua ‘Pink’).

Pink Globe Mallow

My Valentine shrubs (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) are getting ready for their big show of flowers in February….

Valentine shrub

One of my favorite, underused perennials is my Paperflower (Psilotrophe cooperi).


You can see why it got it’s common name of Paperflower, because the spent flowers have a papery texture and appearance.

My Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) only has a single blooming stalk, but will soon be covered in flowers.

Firecracker Penstemon

All of these plants did well and I am looking forward to more flowers soon.

There are many other plants that also fared quite well throughout the cold.

our severe cold spell

I love the purple and green foliage of my newly planted Purple Hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa ‘Purpurea’).  I can’t wait for it to grow tall so that it covers a rather bare expanse of wall.

I drove through my neighborhood to see what other plants did well in our cold snap.

our severe cold spell

This ‘Green Cloud’ Texas Sage has not at all been affected by the cold.  During the winter months, most Leucophyllum species lose some of their leaves, leading to a somewhat sparse appearance, but this is normal.

Okay, now don’t laugh at the next photo….

our severe cold spell

Believe it or not, styrofoam cups offer some frost protection to the tips of columnar cacti.  This is important, because this is the growing point of many cacti species.

I call the house above, the ‘cactus house’ because they have so many different types of cacti in their front garden.  Most cacti did very well during the cold snap.

Other ‘nice and green’ plants not pictured:

‘Summertime Blue’ and ‘Pink Beauty’ Eremophilas

Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisoides) & other Senna species


Queen, Pygmy, California and Mexican Fan Palms

Purple Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violaceae)

Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri)




……just to name a few that I observed.

It is important to note that there will be some exceptions, even in neighborhoods close to mine.  Although I am less then an hour away from downtown Phoenix, my temperatures are lower and my garden receives more rainfall.  Gardeners in Phoenix saw less frost damage then those in outlying areas.

So what should you do if your garden is full of ‘brown and crispy’ plants?

I will ‘talk’ about that in my next post 🙂

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."
7 replies
  1. Carol
    Carol says:

    Noelle, I am so glad to see so many plants can survive a cold spell in your world. Plants are amazing and do have a strong will to live. I hope the cold that you are not use to having there will not make another appearance this winter. I count on seeing many prolific blooms in your gardens to help me get through our long cold winter. The styrofoam cup insolation are a clever way to recycle . . . funny how they match the lighting around the verandah. It certainly makes sense as does our wearing hats and gloves in the cold. Keep those extensions covered. ;>)

  2. One
    One says:

    Hi Noelle, Wishing you a Belated Happy New Year! It's good to see your garden doing so well during Winter. I asked you for advice wrt lemons quite sometime back. Happy to let you know I am finally seen blooms and little lemons coming up. Thanks.

  3. Desert Dweller
    Desert Dweller says:

    Nice scenes; our globemallows and firecracker penstemon a way to go this year, but with this warm-up, you never know? The cactus house is NICE!

    I missed going to the Fiesta Bowl last weekend, so perhaps I will get in my Phoenix trip soon.

  4. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    Got your link from Balisha's blog. What fun to compare Ramblings from a desert garden with Ramblings from an English Garden.
    Nice to meet you.

  5. Jan
    Jan says:

    Love the cactus house. Our neighborhood seemed to fare rather nicely, except for one guy who put a plastic tarp over his ficus. Now it's brown and no other ficus trees were affected.

  6. debsgarden
    debsgarden says:

    The cactus house with all the styrofoam cups is a hoot! The Texas sage is quite impressive, even in wintertime. It seems many of your desert plants are lovely year round. As for us, we aren't out of winter yet; we are experiencing snow and ice as I write this. Hardy plants are still sleeping and annuals are long gone. Everything is gray or tan, except for the evergreens. I'm looking forward to spring!

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