firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

Do you have a front garden or a front yard?

I really don’t like to refer to front area of a home as a ‘yard’.  

The definition of the word ‘yard’ is “a piece of ground adjoining a building or house.”

Now, while I do have a piece of ground adjoining my house – it is so much more then that.  

The piece of ground is filled with trees, shrubs, perennials and succulents, which in my opinion makes it not a ‘yard’ BUT a ‘garden’.

So, I thought that I would show you a little of what is growing in my front ‘garden’….

 firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

This time of year, my firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) is in full bloom, much to the delight of bees and hummingbirds.

This tough perennial blooms January through April in my zone 9a garden. In cooler climates, it will flower in the summer.

white gaura (Gaura lindheimeri)

Underneath the front window, lies a row of white gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), which flowers in spring and fall.  This perennial is hardy to zone 5.

perennials and succulents

Agave are my favorite type of succulent and I have several different types in my garden.

This one is near the front entry and is called artichoke agave (Agave parryi ‘truncata’).

It is a medium-sized agave and can grow in zones 7 and up.

As you can see, it has produced some offsets (babies, pups, volunteers).  They are attached to the mother plant by a underground stem.

I have taken several of the offsets and replanted them around my garden…

perennials and succulents

This one was planted 2 years ago from the mother plant.

It is easy to take offsets and plant them in other areas in the garden.  I wrote about it a few years ago and you can read it here.

perennials and succulents

In late winter, I am always impatient to see my globe mallow begin to show the first glimpse of color peeking through.

I have several globe mallow plants and each one produces a different-colored flower.  

pink globe mallow

Here is my pink globe mallow.

white flowers

And it’s neighbor, which has white flowers.

perennials and succulents

This globe mallow has vibrant, red flowers and is located on the other side of my front garden.

While I love all of my globe mallow flowers, I think that the pink are my favorite…

perennials and succulents

The most common color of globe mallow is orange.  But, as you can see, there are other colors available.

You can read more about this plant and its flowers in an article I wrote for

perennials and succulents

I mentioned that I had a few different species of agave in my garden.

This is my largest one, which is called octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana).  

perennials and succulents

I raised this agave from a tiny pup (bulbil) from the flowering stem of its mother, who I had grown in a large pot.

This agave has a tropical look with its curvy leaves and does best in areas with filtered or afternoon shade.

Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae)

Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae) was named for Queen Victoria.

This smaller agave has a very distinctive look and is highly-desired, which makes it rather expensive.

I was given the largest one in the photo, above, by a client and it has since gone on to produce many babies for me.

perennials and succulents

Some people may think that lantana is overused in the landscape, but I like to put a twist on the traditional lantana.

There is a lantana called ‘Lavender Lace’ that produces both purple and white flowers on the same plant.  BUT, it can be hard to find and is expensive.

So, I create the same look by planting both a purple and a white trailing lantana in the same hole.

perennials and succulents

My favorite types of plants are flowering shrubs and groundcovers.  However, I like the different textures that succulents add to my front garden.

So, I have green desert spoon (Dasylirion acrotriche) on both sides in the front.  This species of desert spoon has a darker-green color then the gray/blue leaves of regular desert spoon.

perennials and succulents

Finally, I’d like to finish with my favorite flowering shrub, Valentine whose red blooms began to appear at Christmas and will last through April.


I hope you enjoyed this partial tour of my front garden.  I do have trees and other plants growing, but because they are dormant in winter, I will show you them in the future, once they are looking  their best.

**Tonight, I am leaving on the red-eye for Miami, Florida where I will be taking part in the Saturday6 once again.

So what is the Saturday6 you might be asking?

We are a group of 6 garden bloggers from around the country brought together by Troy-bilt to test their products, write garden articles and give our honest opinions and advice.

While in Miami, we will be touring the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.  Later, we will be creating a community garden in Miami, filled with edible plants.

I will be sure to share with you our adventures.  I can hardly wait to leave!  

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."

6 replies
  1. Aaron Dalton
    Aaron Dalton says:

    Hooray – we share at least one plant in our garden – the Gaura lindheimeri. Would you be surprised to learn that mine doesn't look anything like yours at the moment? In fact, it sort of looks like a miniature haystack! 😉 But I like its frizzled winter look too. If all goes well, it will be full of flowers from spring to autumn. Definitely one of my favorite plants, even if it does attract loads of aphids here. (Hey, the aphids attract ladybugs and green lacewings, and the wheel of life goes round and round…)

    Enjoy Miami and Vizcaya. I visited once and recall being quite impressed.

  2. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I love all those brilliant coloured flowers. I have 2 Agave vilmorinianaone in a large pot and one in the ground. Of course lots of other agaves all over!

  3. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I love all those brilliant coloured flowers. I have 2 Agave vilmorinianaone in a large pot and one in the ground. Of course lots of other agaves all over!

  4. Sharon Gomez
    Sharon Gomez says:

    Where can I find the pink globemallow to purchase? Trying to add a few more colors to my garden. Thanks!

  5. says:

    Hello Sharon,

    They can be a bit hard to find. Native (local) plant nurseries sometimes have them. Another good place to look are botanical garden plant sales. I’ve seen them offered at the Desert Botanical Garden sale in Phoenix. You can also try the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Tucson Botanical Garden, in AZ. If you live in Las Vegas or Palm Springs areas, check out the plant sales at the botanical gardens there.

    I love my pink globe mallow and it’s worth the search to find one 🙂

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