Usually when I am called to a help out a homeowner with their landscape, it is because they are having a problem with their plants, or sometimes they are new to the desert and want to learn how to garden in our dry climate.  

Last week, I visited a homeowner who had some questions about whether or not he was taking good care of his garden.

His house is located just northeast of the metro Phoenix area, in the desert.  He and his wife had lived there for over 15 years and they designed their garden by themselves.

As I approached the front entry, I was greeted by this beautiful Ocotillo that was back lit by the morning sun…

When approaching a new client’s house, I always look around their front garden, because it gives me an idea of their preferences and maybe problems that they are having.  This gives me a ‘heads-up’ before I actually meet the client.
His front garden was just beautiful and I was looking forward to seeing what his back garden looked like…
There was a fireplace with a lovely seating area and you could see the pool surrounded by beautiful desert plants in the distance.
The wall of his back garden backed right onto the desert.  He had some beautiful artistic pieces, including this metal Ocotillo.
There was a very large Indian Fig cactus.  This type of prickly pear is very popular because it is thornless.  But it needs a lot of room to grow.
This particular Indian Fig was hiding something….
 A beautiful water feature flowed from underneath the Indian Fig.

Rosemary grew along the side as well as potted annuals.
Isn’t this a beautiful area?
There was also an empty vegetable garden, but the homeowner did have herbs growing in containers….


 Many people keep their hummingbird feeders up year round because we have hummingbirds 12 months out of the year.
This hummingbird faces a mirror.  The mirror serves two purposes, according to the homeowner:
One, it keeps the woodpeckers from making holes and second, it gives them an additional view of visiting hummingbirds.
You can see a little Verdin flying in for a drink of the hummingbird nectar.
Lastly, we viewed a shady area of his garden.
The plants in this area do very well in light shade.
There was Heavenly Bamboo to the left, Cape Honeysuckle to the right, Star Jasmine vine next to the door and Texas Mountain Laurel ‘Silver Peso’, which is a gray-leafed form.
I had a wonderful time visiting and I did have a few suggestions regarding proper watering and when to prune.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this beautiful desert garden with me.
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Life is quite busy this week for me as I am sure it is for most of you with the upcoming holiday.
I will post again before Thanksgiving 🙂
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."

5 replies
  1. Desert Dweller
    Desert Dweller says:

    Nice scenes. I always laugh when people in the desert use metal cactus and ocotillo sculptures, but they are playful, too.

    Nice spaces and views. But the morning sun on the ocotillo is it!

  2. Indie
    Indie says:

    That is definitely a dessert garden done right! I love the water feature with the Indian fig.

    I just saw a leafless ocotillo at the desert exhibit at the NC zoo. Those are some thorns they have! The leaves definitely soften the look up!

  3. Hanna at Orchid Care
    Hanna at Orchid Care says:

    As your masterful photography proves it, your client’s garden is indeed wonderfully beautiful. I especially like the picture of the hummingbird in midflight on its way to the bird feeders and, of course, the water feature which is so refreshing in a desert scene.

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