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Red globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Did you know that some flowering, desert perennials are grown easily from seed? It’s true. Many of the plants in my garden are volunteers that grew from seed from my established plants.

I have several ‘parental’ plants in my front garden along with their babies that have come up on their own with no assistance from me.

Pink globe mallow 

My favorite perennials that grow from seed are my colorful globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).  The most common color seen in globe mallow is orange. However, they also come in other colors such as red, pink, and white. You can purchase the less common color varieties, but they can be hard to find at your local nursery.

White globe mallow

When I first designed my garden, I bought pink, red, and white globe mallows. These plants are now over 17 years old and produce a large number of seeds once flowering has ceased.  Because these colors can be hard to find, people ask me to sell them seeds that I harvest each year from my colorful perennials.

Light pink globe mallow

Harvesting seeds from spent flowers is easy to do. Once the flowers begin to fade in spring, I look for tiny, dried out seed pods, which is where the seeds are contained. I then pick them off and place them in a little bag.  It’s important to keep the colors separate so if someone wants red globe mallow, they won’t be growing pink or white ones.

Desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata), firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), and verbena (Glandularia spp.)

There are other desert perennials that come up easily from seed, such as the ones pictured above in a garden I visited a few years ago. 

So how do you grow these drought tolerant perennials from seed? Surprisingly, it’s not hard to do, and if you go to a lot of trouble and fuss over them, they probably won’t grow. So starting them in little pots and transplanting them isn’t the best way to go about it. Instead, sprinkle the seed throughout the landscape, allowing some to fall a foot away from a drip emitter or near rocks. You want to mirror the natural conditions where they sow their seed in nature. Warning: this only works in areas where pre-emergent herbicides are NOT used. 

Growing these perennials from seed is very inexpensive, but some patience is needed while you wait for them to sprout.  Not all will come up, but those that do, will add beauty to your garden and before you know it, you may be harvesting seed to share with your friends.

What type of plants have you had come up in your garden from seed?

 I love taking walks in the spring outdoors.  All too soon, summer will be here and walks will have to happen in the early morning hours before the heat of the day arrives.  I suppose that I could always take a walk inside of our local air-conditioned mall, but I think that would get expensive after a while, don’t you?


Besides, I would miss the natural beauty outdoors….

So, let us continue our walk with my husband and my two twin nephews – Danny and Dean….

My favorite trees are starting to bloom right now.  Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a deciduous tree and from spring through fall, they are covered with beautiful pink flowers.
I have 4 of them in my garden.  They are thornless and are a small to medium sized tree.
We passed by another kind of my favorite plants, Angelita Daisies (Tetraneuris acaulis).  But, these definitely need a ‘haircut’.  Just grab a bunch of flowers in your hand and clip them back using hand pruners.  Soon, they will be covered with bright yellow flowers.
Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) is a wonderful succulent for the garden.  The bottom, looks grass but the leaves are actually succulent.  In spring, gorgeous coral-colored flowers are produced.
Maintenance is super easy.  Just clip back the flowers once they have died.
Here is a closer view of their gorgeous flowers….
Aren’t they beautiful?
Okay, here is another not so pretty photo.
You can see that this Evergreen Elm tree provides great shade, but the grass does not grow underneath it.  This is a very common problem for grassy areas underneath trees that provide heavy shade such as Pine trees, Carob, etc.
The most common warm-season grass grown in the desert Southwest is bermuda grass, which does not tolerate shade very well.  It need full sun to look its best.
So what can you do?
Unfortunately, there is not a warm-season grass that will grow in heavy shade.  But, you can plant shade-tolerant groundcovers, perennials or even succulents in the area instead such as Agave desmettiana, Autumn Sage, Yellow Bulbine, Santa Barbara Daisy, Justicia spicigera or Bat-faced Cuphea.

Okay, this looks like a whole post in and of itself that I will address sometime in the future in more detail 🙂
So, we were almost at the end of our walk and walking by my front garden and I saw one of my favorite perennial plants…
This Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) partially hides our water meter, but does not obstruct the meter reader’s ability to look inside.

You want to know something else?  I didn’t plant this Desert Marigold.  It is a volunteer.  Over 11 years ago, I planted two Desert Marigolds in my garden and then let their seed spread naturally.  I have about 7 of them scattered throughout my garden right now.


So, I hope you enjoyed our ‘walk’.  
I think Dean enjoyed it more then Danny….who fell asleep 😉

First of all, I would like to apologize for not coordinating a Monthly Garden Bouquet for February.  I wish that I had a great excuse for not doing one such as maybe not having any flowers in my garden.  But, that would not be true.

The reality was that I was just awfully busy last month and I did feel a bit guilty about it.  So, even though I am still recovering from pneumonia, I drug myself outside, (in my pajamas I might add), to find flowers to cut.


It really wasn’t hard to venture outside.  A clear blue sky and temperatures in the 70’s…..it was so beautiful.

Here is what I came up with…..

 
The blue flowers are Bachelor’s Button, which I have growing as a companion plant in my vegetable garden to help attract pollinators.  This is the first year that I have grown them and I just love their vibrant blue color.
The yellow flowers are from my Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) perennials that I have dotting my front garden.  They survive on rainfall alone and are flowering off and on all year.  I do give them a ‘haircut’ three times a year to help them look their best.
Lastly, are some pink flowers from my potted Dianthus, which have done so well throughout the entire winter in my front entry.
I ventured outside in my PJ’s because I was sure that I would only take 2 minutes and no one would see me.  But no….. my wonderful neighbor saw me and I spent a delightful 1/2 hour talking with her in my front garden in my pajamas 😉
**I would like to thank you all so much for your kind comments and well wishes for my recuperation from this awful pneumonia.  I have a lot of medicine to take and am feeling much better.  I am just feeling tired and weak now, which is hard when I see the spring pruning that needs to be done in my garden.  Thankfully, my husband is more then willing to help out.
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Okay, so maybe some of you are wondering about this Monthly Garden Bouquet.  Well, here are the details below…..
If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later 🙂 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required 🙂 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.

**Please stop by and read my latest blog post about “Welcome Residents in the Vegetable Garden” on Birds & Blooms.  Your support means a lot to me and the editors 🙂


Okay, so how are you all doing in getting ready for the holidays?  Are you sipping apple cider in front of your Christmas tree and enjoying seeing all of the gifts you bought, already wrapped and ready for Christmas morning?

OR are still shopping and trying to find the perfect gift for that person who always seem to be so hard to buy for?  For me, my mother-in-law – who I love dearly by the way, is very hard to buy anything for.  But this year I do have a perfect gift – I made her a ………  (I had better not say.  She does not normally read my blog too often, but I don’t want to take any chances).

This year, I am done shopping –  as in finished and everything is wrapped.  Well…..all except for the two gifts that are in the mail and I hope get here before Christmas.  AND I have more baking to do this week.


But, I did not forget this month’s Garden Bouquet.  Okay, I almost did until I looked at the calendar this morning.  So after church, I took my clippers and went searching for flowers out in my front garden.


Even with our relatively mild winters, it is not always easy to find December flowers, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find more then a few.



I filled my Polish pottery jug with a combination of flowers from my Cascalote tree which is in full bloom right now.  In the front are the pretty daisy-like flowers from my Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata).  

In the middle are the dainty, purple flowers of my Trailing Purple Lantana (Lantana montevidensis).  Now normally my Lantana is somewhat brown and crispy due to being affected by our occasional freezing temperatures.  But this year, I covered them and I am really glad I did because they look great out in the garden with not much else in bloom.

I had a bit of trouble figuring out where to take a picture of my bouquet because there is a lot of brown in my garden (as in my dormant bermuda grass lawn).  But there is an area in the garden with is absolutely beautiful and green….my vegetable garden.



I think it made a great backdrop, don’t you?  

I can see my carrot tops, spinach as well as my companion plants – the nasturtiums and marigolds which have done a great job at repelling bad bugs away.

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Now for my delicious treat……

I love to bake and I do keep it simple but delicious.  I do get quite a few requests for my recipes and thought that I would share some with you from time to time.


Yesterday my daughter, Gracie and I made pumpkin bread.  

If you would like to see the fruits of our labors and get the recipe, please click here.


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Okay, now back to December’s Monthly Garden Bouquet.  I realize that it can be a bit challenging to do during the winter months, but that is where creativity comes in.

Maybe you have some dried seedheads, which would make a beautiful bouquet.  

Or maybe you have some beautiful poinsettias or amaryllis.

I also think that a bouquet of evergreen foliage is beautiful.

If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later 🙂 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required 🙂 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.




This past spring, I was pleasantly surprised to find some previously lost plants growing again in my front garden.  How did I lose them in the first place?  Well, when I first designed and planted our garden, over 10 years ago, I included quite a few different flowering perennials.  Like many flowering perennials, they were short-lived and I did not replace all of them.  I don’t really have a good reason for not replacing them, but at the time, I was busy managing other gardens and landscapes and did not have the energy to focus on my own….sad wasn’t it?

Well, here is how I found my plants……last winter and spring, we received much more rainfall then usual.  In late March, I was checking around the garden for weeds when I saw some tiny leaves starting to poke their way through.  I looked closely at them before ripping them out and discovered that they were the offspring from my original plants.

Paperflower (Psilostrophe cooperi)
Paperflower was the first of my lost perennials to return.  The seeds from my original plants had laid dormant for 8 years until the copious rainfall caused them to germinate.  I love this little plant with its gray-green leaves but the coolest thing is that as the flowers die, they become papery in texture.  You can see the spent flowers above towards the right lower corner.  
This plant makes a great groundcover and has bloomed for me spring through fall.
  Goodding’s Verbena (Glandularia gooddingii)
Although I have grown many different types of Verbena, this one is my favorite.  I love the delicate, tiny purple flowers and the way the plant spreads out on the ground.  Definitely not a fussy plant, it will flower like crazy throughout the spring and off and on during the rest of the year. 
 
Like many flowering perennials, it is rather short-lived but does self-seed.  It looks fantastic when placed next to boulders.

Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)
The last plant that has made it’s reappearance in my garden was my Desert Marigold.  This flowering perennial grows very well in the southwest and can be seen lining the roadways during the spring, especially when we have had sufficient rain.  It does very well in the residential landscape as well and is sometimes treated as an annual wildflower.
The sunny, yellow flowers can be seen off and on, year round.  They are very easy to grow from seed, but can be purchased in 1-gallon containers.  However, it has been my experience that my Desert Marigolds last longer when I grow them from seed, rather then transplant them from containers.  
I am so happy to have all of these plants back in my garden 🙂
Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you find something that you thought you had lost?

I just love wildflowers….their delicate blooms in all colors of the rainbow that grace our landscape in the springtime.  Well, it is not spring yet, but I can at least show you pictures of two of my favorite wildflowers.

The vibrant blooms of Scarlet Flax (Linum grandiflorum ‘Rubrum’) make this my favorite wildflower.  Each bloom only lasts for one day, but the profusion of blooms means that their colorful display lasts from spring until summer.  I took this photo at the The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  They have a spectacular wildflower display in the spring and I am planning on going back then to take more pictures of the different types of wildflowers they grow.

You can see Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) growing throughout the deserts of the Southwest.  Although, a perennial, you will find it included in many wildflower seed mixtures as it blooms over a long period of time and combines beautifully with other wildflowers.

I am joining Gail from Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.   Come springtime, I will have many more pictures of wildflowers and how to care for them.