When you describe yourself, do you think of yourself as a trendsetter?  Do you wear the most current fashions or drive the newest style of car?

Well, anyone who knows me well, would not use the word trendsetter to describe me.  Now that doesn’t mean that my clothing or car are out of style…..I am perfectly content being more ‘middle of the road’ in my tastes.  My youngest sister is what you would call a trendsetter and I am always getting inspiration from her in terms of my fashion sense, books to read and so much more.

However, before you write me off as a trendsetter, there is one area in my life where I do like to be a trendsetter…..in the garden.

If you drive down any neighborhood where you live, you probably find the same types of plants in the front yard.  In a given neighborhood, there can be a very limited variety of plants present.

This can be a result of the home builder designing and installing the landscape, using a limited amount of plants to choose from.  Or, that the homeowners do not know that there are other plants available for them to use.

In my little corner of the desert Southwest, you will see a large amount of Lantana, Dwarf Oleander, Texas Sage, Bougainvillea and Ficus trees.

Now there is nothing wrong with these plants and they look fabulous in the warmer months.  But, when so many people have these plants in their front yard, they tend to become boring.  The plants actually tend to become part of the background and do not add much interest to the landscape.

Imagine if everyone wore the same 4 pieces of clothing.  It would be pretty boring.  

But, imagine if one of those people decided to spice up her wardrobe by putting on a different style and color shirt?  You can bet that people would start to notice her.

Well, the same is true of your garden.  There are many different types of plants that are just as beautiful as the more common ones found in your neighborhood.

Over the next few posts, I will show you some of my favorites.

Today, I will introduce you to one of my favorite shrubs.  This shrub was introduced by Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.  

 Aren’t the flowers beautiful?  This is my Valentine shrub (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine).  
Over 12 years ago, I remember my nursery sales representative bringing me some free shrubs to try out on the golf course I was working at.   Well anytime anyone offered me free plants, I was more then happy to try them out.


Well, they turned out to be the best thing I had ever planted and I was soon ordering more. 
Okay, here are just some of the reason I love this shrub:

It is evergreen

Beautiful flowers are produced during the winter months, when there is not much going on in the garden.

It only needs to be pruned once a year – in May.

I never had to fertilize them.
Very low-maintenance.
Hardy to 15 degrees F.
(Even when temperatures dipped down to 21 degrees last week, my shrubs are still beautiful and flowering).
Grows approximately 5′ x 5′ in size.
and does best in full sun.

I mean, what more can you ask for in a plant?
Still not convinced?  
Here is another look……


So what are you waiting for?  Go to your local nursery and pick some up.  I have even seen them at our local big box stores.

Who knows?  You may soon be known as the trendsetter in your neighborhood when you garden becomes a standout by using some lesser known plants 🙂

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."

15 replies
  1. Millie
    Millie says:

    we are in AZ for a month so I will be looking around Mesa to see if I can spot this one as well as using your blog to identify others.At the house we are renting there seems to be alot of frost damage to the shrubs…my hubby is busy raking up dead leaves.

    Reply
  2. Gardens at Waters East
    Gardens at Waters East says:

    I do like the plant you posted today. Here of course it would be too cold but there are others I have found that work well here in the Summer. However Winter season is a "problem" for flowering plants in Wisconsin. That is an understatement! Yet there are interesting evergreen bushes and trees on the market for us in zone 4-5 that do continue garden interest in our season of snow. Though we have only shades of green from all these evergreen plants, it is far better than just the white of snow – in my book. Jack

    Reply
  3. Pam's English Garden
    Pam's English Garden says:

    Dear Noelle, I love this posting … and I'm with you about being a trendsetter. The only thing wrong with the Eremophila is that it will not grow in my zone 5 garden. Makes me start thinking about 'trendsetter' plants for my locale … P x

    Reply
  4. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    It is such a beautiful shrub Noelle.I never thought of myself as a trend setter at all. I just go for comfort in clothes and grow what I like in the garden and do my own thing when it comes to garden decor. It is strange to see my neighbor copying some of the things I put in the yard or grow though at times. LOL! It use to tick me off a little but then my daughter said I should be honored that the neighbor was copying me. LOL!

    Reply
  5. Aimee
    Aimee says:

    Gosh, I have a neighbor who has this plant! 😉 I love this and will have to consider planting one on MY corner of the cul-de-sac!

    Reply
  6. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    wished I had this plant – guess they have not yet found its roots yet in the tropical region.
    Wouldn't say much of a trend setter – trying my best not to copycat other gardeners around my place who are very much into orchids, desert rose and into vegetable gardens.

    Reply
  7. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    yes Noelle, that definitely is a very beautiful plant. Even the form of the plant is so organized that trimming is not a problem. How i wish it can reach us sooner.

    Reply
  8. Gail
    Gail says:

    It's a beautiful shrub Noelle~Not for a Middle Tennessee garden, though. I don't think I'm a trendsetter, but, I promise I haven't the same shrubs and plants that my neighbors all over Nashville have! gail

    Reply
  9. Emmitt Hollin
    Emmitt Hollin says:

    Wow, that is a stunning plant. The color really pops. I just moved to Arizona and am very eager to learn about garden plants here. I'll need to replace some things that got zapped by the big freeze we just had.

    Reply
  10. Daughter of the King
    Daughter of the King says:

    Yes! I was in my daughter's yard helping transplant a bouganvillea to make room for her new chicken coop and I noticed that most of the plants she loves go dormant durring the winter. This would be a great addition. Thank you for the post!

    Reply
  11. Jan
    Jan says:

    Beautiful plant! I have a spot for one in my front yard actually. It will go so nicely with the yellows and purples that are so prevalent in desert landscaping.

    Reply
  12. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    Our neighborhood is planted like you say…all about the same with not many flowers in the front yards.Pretty much a green landscape…with River Birches, Maples, Spruce, and Honey Locusts.I always wonder what is around back… in places where I don't know the people.
    I'm trying to be a trendsetter this year. I'm trying some new things (to me anyway)I'm trying a new variety of tulips, dipladenia, and some new plantings in containers. I would be bored planting the same things every year. Balisha

    Reply

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