One of the things that I enjoy about living in the Southwest are the beautiful outdoor spaces. In particular, I am struck by the color and beauty in the winter landscape.
Now, for those of you who follow, know that I often take photos of ‘problem’ landscapes I drive by.
Well, not this time! I was so distracted by the beauty around me that I didn’t notice any landscape mistakes.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and are inspired to create your own!
In the background, you see the pink blooms of pink fairy duster (Calliandra eriophylla). Their uniquely shaped blooms look like a feather duster and hummingbirds find them irresistible.
Bursage (Ambrosia deltoidea) is a native groundcover that needs little water and provides nice color contrast.
An almost leafless mesquite tree stands sentinel over a planting of red-flowering chuparosa (Justicia californica). This shrub has lovely green foliage and tubular flowers that drive hummingbirds crazy with delight.
As you can see, the Southwestern landscape is filled with beauty and color, even in winter. Unfortunately, many homeowners only use plants that bloom spring through summer. This leaves them with a boring landscape through the winter months for several months. So, celebrate the winter season by adding a few of these cool-season beauties to your garden!
Are you having a hard time ignoring them the ugliness of the frost-damaged leaves? Or perhaps you have no problem with some brown spots in your garden.
Well, before you pick up your pruning tool of choice – I have some important advice for you.
There are three very good reasons not to prune back your frost-damaged plants during the winter.
So, I hope these reasons help to convince you to turn a blind eye to your brown and crispy plants for a little while.
I learned this lesson the hard way. Years ago, I was in charge of decorating with plants for a large event. I purchased 100 potted geraniums and arranged them expertly with my crew in late February. The night before the event, we had a late frost that damaged every single geranium and we have to rapidly replace them. I should have used a plant that was more cold hardy.
Take a drive through your neighborhood and those close by as well. Look at your neighbor’s front landscapes and see what plants are still green and did not suffer any frost-damage.
The yucca, desert spoon, and pygmy date palm all did well while the trailing lantana did not.
When looking around, you will find exceptions. Some plants that normally would suffer frost damage look healthy and green.
As you can see, there is a large blue palo verde tree with a ‘Torch Glow’ bougainvillea underneath to the right. You may note that this bougainvillea did not suffer frost damage.