If you find yourself driving through the neighborhood, chances are that you will see an abundance of particular types of plants.
However, what you often do not see are a wide variety of plants. Instead, you usually see the same kind of plants repeated from landscape to landscape.
For example, in the larger Phoenix metro area, many homes have at least one of the following plants, if not more:
Now I have nothing against these particular plants (except for the fact that Oleanders are poisonous). All are easy to grow, look beautiful when in flower and thrive in our dry desert climate.
What happens though is that there tends to be an overabundance of these plants. Because of this, landscapes can tend to look a little boring because they look like their neighbor.
Have you ever thought about trying some different plants to spice things up in your garden? Now I am not suggesting that you pull out all of your Oleanders, Lantana, Bougainvillea or Texas Sage. I actually have the last three in my garden. What I am suggesting is adding or replacing just a few plants with some lesser known plants.
Over the next few weeks I will profile a lesser known plant that I think that you should try out in your garden. (Okay, this is where I refer you to my disclaimer at the bottom of this page – my recommendations are meant for those who live in a climate similar to my desert garden’s zone 9a).
Are you ready?
Let me introduce you to Snapdragon Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri) also known as Palmer’s Penstemon . I saw the Penstemon, pictured above, while driving to an appointment in Cave Creek, AZ. It was so beautiful that it stopped me in my tracks and I rushed out to take a picture.
The first time that I had seen a Snapdragon Penstemon was while working for a golf course back in the 90’s. It had been planted around the golf course which had a desert plant palette.
Even though this Penstemon has been planted in a desert-themed garden, it will do just as well and look just as great in a more traditional front yard landscape.
When in bloom, it can reach heights of 6 ft. and sometimes higher. In my experience growing Snapdragon Penstemon, they tend to bloom a little later in spring then the better known Firecracker and Parry’s Penstemons. Flowering can extend into early summer depending on the location.
Maintenance is super easy…..cut of the flowering spikes when the flowers fade. It is drought tolerant, but does best with a little supplemental water in dry, desert climates AND it thrives in our desert soil without amendments. It is native to Arizona and New Mexico, which probably explains why it thrives in our conditions.
The flowers have a lovely, light fragrance and attract hummingbirds. Published literature states that it will grow in zones 4 – 9, but does not do well in humid locations or wet soils.
I do hope you decide to try out this lesser known plant. Just plant it in full sun, give it a little water from time to time and watch it take off. It can be a little difficult to find in your local nursery unless you visit a specialty nursery or a plant sale at your botanic garden. But you can find them at High Country Gardens where they will ship them to you.
Who knows? Maybe someone will stop in their tracks when they see this beautiful plant growing in your garden 🙂
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less then a week away.
We will be enjoying two Thanksgiving celebrations this year. The first one, I will be hosting for my husband’s family.
The second celebration will be at my sister’s house with my family.
How about you?
What will you be doing for Thanksgiving?