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What if you could have a landscape filled with beautiful, flowering plants that needed pruning only once a year?




Better yet, what if these beautiful plants needed little to no fertilizer and thrived in our desert climate?  

Would you want to include some of these plants in your garden?

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by the producers of Sonoran Living, a locally produced lifestyle show, to show some ‘fuss free’ plants suitable for fall planting.  

I shared a few of my favorites in my previous post, “Fuss Free Plants for Fall Planting”.

Today, I would like to show you the plants that I profiled on the show



Coral Fountain

Coral Fountain (Russelia equisetiformis) has a lovely cascading form and produces vibrant red flowers spring through fall.

Maintenance: Prune back in March, removing frost-damaged growth.

Hardy to 15 degrees.

Plant in full sun or in light shade.

Desert Ruellia

Desert Ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis) is a medium-sized shrub with light green foliage and purple flowers that appear spring through fall.  This shrub is a great alternative for Texas Sage because it does not grow as large.

Maintenance: Prune back to 1 1/2 ft. in early March.  Avoid repeated pruning during the year.  Allow it to grow into its natural shape.

Hardy to 25 degrees.

Plant in full sun and allow room for it to grow to its mature size of 4 feet wide.

‘Phoenix’ Bird-of-Paradise

Phoenix Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima ‘Phoenix Bird’) is the yellow form of Red or Mexican Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima).  Gorgeous yellow flowers appear all summer long on these tropical shrubs.

Maintenance: Prune back to 1 ft. in winter.

Hardy to 15 degrees.

Plant in full sun, along a bare wall.

Blue Bells

Blue Bells (Eremophila hygrophana ‘Blue Bells’) is a relatively new plant introduction.  Gray foliage is covered with blue/purple flowers off and on throughout the year.


Maintenance: Little to no pruning required.


Hardy to 17 degrees.


Plant in full sun and pair with shrubs with dark green foliage such as Valentine (shown below).



Valentine (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) is a superstar in the landscape.  The reason for this is its red flowers that appear all winter long and into spring.  Better yet, the foliage is evergreen.


Maintenance: Prune back to 1 1/2 ft. high and wide in late spring, after flowering finishes.  Don’t prune more then this or flowering will be reduced later in the year.


Hardy to 15 degrees.


Plant in full sun in groups of 3 to 5 for best effect.  Pair with yellow flowering plants such as Angelita Daisy or Brittlebush.



Gopher Plant (Euphorbia rigid) is a uniquely shaped succulent that produces chartreuse flowers in spring.



Maintenance: Prune back flowers after they dry in late spring.


Hardy to -20 degrees.


Plant in groups of 3 around boulders.


I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite ‘fuss free’ plants.  


What are some of your favorite low-maintenance plants?

Some daughter-in-law’s don’t have much in common with their father-in-law. 

In my case, when I married my husband 25 years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would have any shared interests with my father-in-law…..he was a dentist (I was deathly afraid of dentists), he ran 3 miles a day (I got a ‘stitch’ in my side if I tried running to the corner), he was very orderly and meticulous (I am neither of those things) and he was soft spoken (while I can be a bit loud).

I knew he loved me and I him, but sometimes conversation would lag because besides the kids and family, there wasn’t much else to talk about.

That is until I started to become interested in plants and landscaping.  You see, my father-in-law always had well-designed landscapes filled with beautiful plants.  As I decided to pursue a degree in Urban Horticulture, he was very supportive.

Goodding’s Verbena (Glandularia gooddingi)      
Even better, we now had lots to talk about.  Our visits would often include visits into each others garden.
I would show him my newest plant acquisition and he would in turn, ask me questions about a few of his plant problems.
Red Yucca  (Hesperaloe parviflora)
 
A few years later, he and my mother-in-law made the trip up to my newest job location, took me out to lunch and asked me to show them around the landscape areas I was in charge of.

Blackfoot Daisy  (Melampodium leucanthum)

 When he retired, he asked me to design the landscape for their new home.  He had some ideas of what he wanted and then let me go at it.
Damianita  (Chrysactinia mexicana)
 I enjoyed working closely with him, in coming up with a design and the plants that he liked.

Purple Prickly Pear  (Opuntia violaceae)

While I enjoyed visiting and seeing his landscape mature, I didn’t always agree with the way he like to prune his shrubs…


 His style gardening was orderly and meticulous, like he was.
We would sometimes tease each other because our styles were vastly different.

‘Torch Glow’ Bougainvillea

But no matter our landscaping styles, we still enjoyed going out into the garden together. 

Last October, my father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).  

Phoenix Bird-of-Paradise  (Caesalpinia pulcherrima ‘Phoenix’)

In a very short time, he was robbed of the ability to speak, swallow, eat and the use of his hands.
Now, unable to work in his garden himself, he had to rely on others.
I considered it a privilege to help him where I could.

‘Rio Bravo’ Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’)

He endured this horrible disease with dignity, a sense of humor and through his faith.

Mexican Fence Post (Pachycereus marginatus)

This past Saturday, after 2 weeks in hospice care, he passed away.

We were all blessed to be by his side as he took his last, labored breath.

One of the last things he wrote was,

“My race is almost over.”


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 I think it will be awhile before I can step into his garden without shedding tears.  
I will miss sharing our love for plants together…..

Summertime temperatures bring a riot of color to my desert garden and my plants are growing larger and larger.  The combination of warm (okay, hot) temperatures and summer rains means that my garden is going crazy with growth and blooms.

As I walked around the garden taking pictures, I came away with photos of a large number of yellow flowering plants, some recent transplants, and a couple of plants who normally do not flower this time of year (I must have neglected to tell them when they are normally supposed to flower 😉 

 Arizona Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans)
This shrub has now reached a height of 9 ft.  
I will prune it back by about 1/3 in early September.
 A few flowers are still blooming on my Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) even though it is not their typical bloom season.
 I just love the sunny faces of my Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata), which are a perennial that is sometimes treated as an annual.
 I haven’t shown this plant before, but I do love my Eremophila x Summertime Blue.  
They flower off an on throughout the year and I like their bell-shaped flowers.
I transplanted this shrub back in March in order to make room for my vegetable garden.  Thankfully, they survived and now beginning to thrive again.

This pretty little perennial is underused in the landscape in my opinion.  
I love how the spent blooms of my Paperflower (Psilostrophe cooperi) have a ‘papery’ texture, hence the origin of the common name.

 I must admit that this picture of a cluster of Orange Jubilee flowers (Tecoma x Orange Jubilee) is not from my garden, but from the garden of my mother and sister.
However, in my defense….I did design their garden and I do have the same type of plant in my garden, but my flowers do not look as nice as theirs do 😉
I love the tiny clusters of flowers of my Goodding’s Verbena (Glandularia gooddingii).
This one sits in the shade provided by my Green Desert Spoon.
An all yellow variety of Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima ‘Phoenix Bird’) proudly shows off it’s flowers in my front garden.



These flowers are not normally found in August, but someone neglected to tell my Desert Museum Palo Verde tree that it can stop flowering now.

All over the Arizona desert, different types of Sages are blooming in response to the summer heat and humidity from our monsoon season.  My Rio Bravo Sage are no exception 🙂

 The flowers of my Rio Bravo Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’) have a light fragrance which just makes this flowering shrub even better.

What is blooming in your garden this month?

To see more blooming gardens, please visit May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day each month.

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I wanted to thank you all again for your wonderful comments in regards to Gracie’s story.  I promise I will post the third and last installment in a few days 🙂