flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)

Do you like colorful flowers and hummingbirds? If so, you may want to consider adding flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)  to your garden.

This is a fairly new addition to my garden and the local hummingbirds are so happy to see it in my garden.

It blooms from late spring into fall and I love its airy, bright green foliage.

If you would like to learn more, I invite you to check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.

Flame Acanthus Attracts Butterflies and Hummingbirds All Summer Long

 

 

Summer Fun: A New Garden, Hunting for Stones, and an Island Trip

In my humble opinion, a garden should be filled with plants that benefit wildlife. Imagine a garden that not only rewards you with beauty but also has the wonderful side benefit of allowing you to observe wildlife up close when they come and visit.

Butterflies are so ethereal and you’ll find most people stop and stare whenever they are fortunate enough to have one fly nearby.

Queen butterfly visiting a desert milkweed plant at the Desert Botanical Garden

Queen butterfly visiting a desert milkweed plant at the Desert Botanical Garden

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the plight of Monarch butterflies and their declining population and how plants belonging to the Milkweed family are so important to them.

Did you know that the Southwest has their own native species of desert milkweed?  In fact, it is the only milkweed species in the United States that is evergreen.

This milkweed is a succulent that thrives in full sun, provides a unique vertical accent in the garden and needs little care.  

Want to learn more?  Check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.com and see more reasons why you’ll want to add this plant to your garden.

 

What plants do you have in your garden that butterflies love?

Some of my Favorite Things…..Butterflies

Fall in the garden is a time of celebration with plants enjoying the period after the heat of summer has bid goodbye and before the cold of winter arrives. 

This time of year is filled colorful blooming plants decorating our outdoor spaces.  In the past few weeks, the color purple has made its presence known in several gardens that I have visited recently.

If you love the color purple, here are some plants that you may want to include in your garden.

Purple Blooms for the Fall Garden

Black dalea(Dalea frutescens) saves its flowering for fall when violet flowers appear above its lacy foliage.

This Southwestern native is hardy to 15 degrees F. and does best in full sun.  Black dalea is underused in the landscape and deserves to be used more.

Purple Blooms for the Fall Garden

Desert ruellia(Ruellia peninsularis) is a shrub that I use it often for my client’s designs.  I love that it flowers throughout the year as well as its attractive foliage.

A native of Mexico, this shrub does best in full sun to partial shade and is hardy to zone 9 gardens.

blue ranger(Leucophyllum zygophyllum)

Sometimes, parking lot medians can put on a spectacular show.  This blue ranger(Leucophyllum zygophyllum) begins blooming in summer but saves its best flowering for fall.

The gray foliage adds nice color contrast in the garden.  Hardy to 10 degrees, plant in full or reflected sun for maximum flowering.

skyflower(Duranta erecta)

One of the most beautiful purple blossoms belongs to the skyflower(Duranta erecta) shrub.  Delicate purple flowers are arrayed on graceful arching stems.

Hardy to 20 degrees, skyflower blooms spring through fall.  

blue potato bush (Lycianthies rantonnetti)

Last week, while I was doing a landscape consultation, my attention was drawn to a beautiful blue potato bush (Lycianthies rantonnetti) blooming in the front yard.

vibrant purple flowers

The vibrant purple flowers contrasted beautifully with the bright green foliage. This shrub is hardy to zone 9 gardens.

purple trailing lantana(Lantana montevidensis)

Finally, let’s look at the generous blooms of purple trailing lantana(Lantana montevidensis).  This lantana groundcover blooms spring through fall and needs very little care other than pruning once or twice a year.

Hardy to 20 degrees, this lantana grows in full sun or partial shade.

I hope that you have enjoyed this tour of purple autumn blooms.

What is flowering this fall in your garden?

Blooms in February

While fall color may be somewhat lacking in the Southwest landscape in comparison to areas with brilliant fall foliage, we do have several plants that wait until fall to begin to color the landscape with their blooms.

Turpentine bush(Ericameria laricifolia)

Turpentine bush(Ericameria laricifolia) is a desert native that has lovely, dark green foliage year-round. With the arrival of fall, they are transformed by the appearance of golden yellow flowers.

It’s hard to find a plant that needs less attention than this drought-tolerant beauty – pruning every 3 years and monthly watering in summer is all it needs.

Learn more about why you should add turpentine bush to your landscape including how to use it for the greatest effect and what plants to pair it with in my latest article for Houzz.com

 

Purple Blooms for the Fall Garden

Fall is finally here and it’s time to get busy in the garden.  Did you know that fall is the best time of year to add new plants?  It doesn’t matter where you live, planting in fall gives plants three seasons to grow a healthy root system before summer arrives.

shrubby germander(Teucrium fruiticans).

Teucrium fruticans Azureum

Today, I’d like to share with you another drought tolerant and beautiful plant – shrubby germander(Teucrium fruiticans).

While it’s name may not be impressive, this shrub certainly has a lot to boast about.

Shrubby germander planted alongside Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera)

Shrubby germander planted alongside Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) 

First, it has blue flowers that add welcome color that contrasts with other colors such as orange and red.

Young shrubby germander growing alongside red autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

Young shrubby germander growing alongside red autumn sage (Salvia greggii) 

The silvery foliage also adds great color contrast to the landscape when paired near plants with darker green foliage.

Shrubby germander

Shrubby germander can grow 5 – 6 ft. tall and wide, however, there is also a more compact variety ‘Azureum’ that only reaches 3 ft.

For more reasons why you’ll want to add this attractive shrub to your landscape, check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.com.

 

Drought Tolerant and Beautiful: Bear Grass

If you like colorful blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds then you’ll want to take a close look at this drought-tolerant beauty.

Drought Tolerant and Beautiful: Mexican Bush Sage

Mexican bush sage has lovely grey-green foliage, white stems, and velvety spikes of purple.

Drought Tolerant and Beautiful: Mexican Bush Sage

It thrives in arid climates and provides glorious color spring through fall.

You may be surprised to find that the actual flowers aren’t actually purple – they are white.

Learn more about this drought-tolerant beauty and why you’ll want to add it to your garden in my latest article for Houzz.com.

 

Goodbye Arizona…Hello Michigan!

I like to use plants in my garden that add a lot of color and the drought-tolerant and beautiful, sandpaper verbena certainly doesn’t disappoint.

sandpaper verbena

Its blossoms are a vibrant, deep purple that carpets the ground in a mass of glorious color spring through fall.

The deep green leaves add a visually cooling element to the landscape as well.

Butterflies find the flowers irresistible too.  

See where this colorful ground cover gets its name and why you’ll want to include it in your drought-tolerant garden where it will add beauty to your outdoor space in my latest plant profile for Houzz.com

 

An Attractive, Drought-Tolerant Hedge for Southwestern Gardens: Hop Bush

Do you like the look of ornamental grasses? One of my favorite plants has the appearance of ornamental grass but isn’t.  

ornamental grasses

Bear grass (Nolina microcarpa) has lovely, evergreen foliage that mimics the look of grasses.  But, my favorite part is the curlicue ends of the leaves.

ornamental grass

ornamental grass

Aren’t they neat?

Like the other drought-tolerant and beautiful plants that I profile, bear grass thrives in hot, dry locations with little attention. Another bonus is that they easily handle 100+ temperatures in summer and can also survive winter temps down to -10 degrees F.

Want to learn more?  Check out my latest plant profile on Houzz.

Oleander Leaf Scorch Strikes Again…

 

Do you like plants that flower throughout most of the year?

How about a plant with foliage that is evergreen throughout the year in zone 9-11 gardens?

Would you prefer a plant that requires very little pruning?

Texas Olive (Cordia)

If you answered “yes” to these questions, than Texas olive may deserve a spot in your garden.

This beautiful southwestern native deserves a spot in our ‘Drought Tolerant & Fuss Free’ category.

Texas Olive (Cordia)

Despite its common name, this is not an olive tree.  However, it can be trained into a small tree or large shrub depending on your preference.

In my opinion, it deserves to be seen more often in the landscape with all of its outstanding qualities mentioned earlier.

My favorite characteristics are its large, dark green leaves and white flowers that decorate the landscape.

Want to learn more about Texas olive and how you can use it in your landscape?

Check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.  

Great Design Plant: Cordia Boissieri

 

 

 

If you want more ideas of great plants to add to your drought tolerant landscape, you can check out my other plant profiles here.

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As you can see, it’s back to regular blog posts after my Northwestern road trip posts.  I hope you enjoyed them and were able to share in our adventures.

However, I still have more to share with you about the some very special gardens we visited. I promise to share with you soon!  

A Tale of a Street and Two Trees…

When you visit a nursery, do you wonder which plants are drought tolerant as opposed to those who will wilt if not given enough water?

There are a few different traits that many drought-tolerant plants share.  For example, did you know that small leaves and gray foliage can be signs that a plant may be drought-tolerant?  

I recently shared several traits to look for when shopping for drought-tolerant plants for Houzz.com

I hope this article will help you to create a beautiful, drought-tolerant garden!

How to Spot a Drought-Tolerant Plant