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What does your garden look like in early spring? Does it somewhat boring? How about adding some color and interest to your garden by adding some water-wise flowering plants?


This week, I had a fun project to work on – in partnership with Monrovia, I was asked to select two types water-wise plants for the landscape. So, I headed out to my local nursery with a mission to select from the different water-wise Monrovia plants available.

Once I arrived at the nursery, I was faced with a number of different Monrovia plant choices from succulents, cacti, shrubs and perennials. After a some time going back and forth, I narrowed my choices down to these two water-wise, flowering beauties.

Parry's penstemon (Penstemon parryi)

Parry’s penstemon (Penstemon parryi) has long been a favorite perennial of mine. I love the ‘cottage-garden’ look it provides with its pink spikes that appear in late winter and on into spring.

 different water-wise Monrovia plants

It is quite versatile in the landscape where it can be used in wildflower gardens, planted in a perennial bed or simply placed next to a boulder.

My next plant choice was a flowering succulent. 

Blue Elf aloe (Aloe 'Blue Elf')

Blue Elf aloe (Aloe ‘Blue Elf’) is a newer aloe species that is perfect for small spaces. It thrives in hot, reflected heat and flowers in late winter on into spring.  

different water-wise Monrovia plants

I have been using this small aloe a lot in recent landscape designs (like the one above) including in narrow planting beds, in entries and also in pots.


Both of these flowering plants are water-wise choices and perfect for the drought tolerant garden.  

different water-wise Monrovia plants

I loaded my new Monrovia plants up and started home.

different water-wise Monrovia plants

On the drive home, I could see the flowers from my new plants in my rearview mirror and I couldn’t wait to find new homes for them in my garden.

different water-wise Monrovia plants

I played with a number of potential locations in the garden for my new parry’s penstemon, but decided on planting it next to a boulder. Plants like this penstemon look great next to boulders where their different textures provide great contrast.

Blue Elf aloe

I didn’t have to try different spots for my new Blue Elf aloe – I knew that I wanted it for one of my containers in the front entry. This area gets blasted with hot, afternoon sun, which this pretty little aloe can handle with no problem.

Monrovia plants can be found at Lowe’s garden centers as well as at many local nurseries, which is where I found mine.  You can also order Monrovia plants online.  The quality of their plants is excellent and the only problem you’ll have is choosing from the large variety available.  

*This post is sponsored by Monrovia, but my plant choices and opinions are my own.  Visit their website for more water-wise plant choices for your drought tolerant garden.

May has arrived, and you may notice that your container plants aren’t looking to hot right now.  Petunias, pansies and snapdragons usually start to dry out and droop as the weather approaches the century mark. 

It is time to switch out your winter flowering annuals for those that can handle our summer sun and heat.

This is always somewhat bittersweet for me.  I do not like tearing out beautiful flowers.  They have performed so beautifully for me since last October.

container plants
container plants

Container plants

But the truth is, is that if I don’t pull them out, the heat will finish them off sooner or later.  Also, it is helpful to plant summer flowers before the heat arrives so that they can have time to establish before dealing with the stress of summer temperatures.  

And so for those reasons, I gritted my teeth and began pulling.

container plants

Container plants

Now, I am ready to start with a clean slate or should I say, clean soil.  

Now, not all of the following photos are particularly beautiful, but are helpful in illustrating how I planted my new summer flowers, which will look great soon.

Now, I couldn’t find my small hand spade this morning, which is probably a result of having four children still living at home.  I am sure one of them knows where it is, but they were at school and so I improvised.

container plants

Okay, I realize that those of you who have had the opportunity to come over and eat at my house may never do so again after seeing me use my large serving spoon.  But, it really worked out ideally and I put it in the dishwasher afterwards 😉

First, I dug up the top 6 inches of soil, taking care to remove large clumps of roots.

 large clumps of roots

**I warned you that some of the pictures were not going to be particularly pretty….

The next step was to add 6 inches of compost and mix it in with the existing soil.  Unfortunately, I do not have my own compost pile, so I used bagged compost available at my local nursery.  The brand is not important, just use what your nursery has in stock.

compost

I made a single hole for my new plant, which is 1-gallon in size, instead of the smaller sizes – I’ll explain more about that later.  I made sure that I did not add too much soil, because I do not want to deal with soil overflowing whenever I water.

hole

The area my pots are located in faces west and receives afternoon sun in the afternoon.  As a result, I need to use a plant that can withstand the intense sun and heat of summer.  From my experience around golf courses and commercial landscapes, Lantana and Vinca do best.  

Last year, I planted Vinca and so this year, I will use Lantana.  Since it is not always easy to find Lantana in a small size, I just purchased a single 1-gallon Lantana for each container.

Lantana

Now, I must admit that the picture on the plant tag, does not exactly match the flowers.  But, they have not opened up completely, so we will see what they look like.

Okay, I admit that it does not look too impressive right now.  You may be asking why I am not adding any more to the pot?  Well, first of all, my tastes are somewhat simple.  But, the major reason is that the Lantana will grow rapidly and cover the bare areas very quickly.  

Soon, it will hopefully look like this one….

Lantana

The last and maybe best reason that I love to use Lantana in containers is that when I dig them up in the fall, (in order to plant winter/spring flowers), is that I can plant the Lantana in my garden and enjoy them year-round.

What summer flowers are you planting in your containers?

Flowers for Summer? Not So Fast…..