I have been enjoying sharing with you some of my favorite lesser-known plants.  These are plants that are not used enough in the landscape and can brighten up an otherwise boring landscape filled with over-used landscape plants such as Lantana, Dwarf Oleander, etc.  My last post featured the beautiful Valentine shrub.

I am very excited to talk about this lesser known plant.  Let me introduce you to chaparral sage (Salvia clevelandii).

Isn’t it beautiful?

Years ago, I planted the chaparral Sage above along with many others around a golf course.  Their blue-purple flowers were a definite focal point in the spring time landscape.
The striking flowers begin to form in the spring and continue on into early summer.  

This shrub is native to San Diego county and performs well in well-drained soil. 

Like most of my favorite plants, this flowering shrub is low-maintenance.  There are also many other reasons that I think you should definitely try this out in your garden:

Hardy to 10 degrees F.   
And so mine is still green despite temps dipping into the low 20’s this winter.

Has a beautiful, naturally round shape.  Only requires pruning by at least 1/2 its size in February and removal of spent flowers in the summer.
Hummingbirds will be congregating around the beautiful flowers.

Reaches a mature size of approximately 4′ x 4′. 

The foliage is highly fragrant and is attractive even when not covered with flowers.

In the low deserts, it is wise to place the shrubs where they will receive filtered shade in the afternoons.  In high desert locations, they can be set out in full sun.

The foliage is quite fragrant and while most people enjoy its fragrance, some do not.  So, be sure to find a Chaparral Sage plant ahead of time to make sure that you enjoy the fragrance as much as I do before you buy some for your garden.

The fragrance is best enjoyed from a short distance, so I recommend not planting right next to walkways or windows.

Chaparral Sage looks great when planted near yellow, red or pink flowering plants.
I hope you will decide to try this shrub out in your garden.  I absolutely love mine.

For those of you who are determined to be trendsetters in your garden, try these beautiful, fuss-free plants in your garden.

As I was walking along a desert nature trail, I came upon this unusual feature.  To be honest, I was surprised by its presence.  But then I got to thinking, don’t live things, or those things that were formerly alive belong in a garden?

What do you think it is?  Need some clues?  Here are the first ones:

I was once part of a beautiful semi-tropical forest near the equator…

My current location is quite a ways north of the equator, although I never left the land I origin from…

I was buried in layers of mud until I was unearthed…
I am much heavier now then when I died…
I used to be alive, but that was a long, long time ago…

Volcanoes, wind, and water helped to create what I am today…

When I was young, I was soft enough to be able to be cut with a knife but am now harder than steel…

Much of my color comes from iron…

You can find me in many different areas of the world, (Denmark, Mexico, China, New Zealand, and Indonesia), my home has always been in the land that makes up Arizona…

Parts of me are stolen every year by tourists…


Have you figured it out?

Here is the answer…

Did you guess correctly?  These pieces of petrified wood are made up of the remains of trees that are approximately 200 – 250 million years old.  They are no longer made up of any living material.  They are now made completely of stone.  The semi-tropical forest where they once stood in, has since disappeared.

Over 200 million years ago, Arizona was close to the equator, and the climate was much more humid, hence the presence of a sub-tropical forest that the trees originated from, before being transformed into petrified wood.

I came upon these beautiful specimens while I was walking along the Nature Walk, which is located next to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.  These specimens were brought here from the Petrified Forest National Park, which is in north-eastern Arizona in the Painted Desert.

More information about petrified wood and their origins can be found here at Petrified Forest National Park.