Tag Archive for: Desert Garden

Do you love roses?

I do.

Lady Banks rose

While most people will tell you that they love roses, they probably do not like the extra maintenance that they require with repeated fertilizing, deadheading, and fighting damaging insects, and fungal diseases.

Well, let me introduce you to a rose that is beautiful and low-maintenance.

Lady Banks rose may be well-known to a few of you and it is worth a second look for those of you who love roses but not the fuss.

They are resistant to damaging bugs and most fungal diseases leave them alone. However, unlike many modern roses, they flower once a year in spring, producing a glorious show.

Lady Banks rose

If you’ve ever heard of the World’s Largest Rose Bush in Tombstone, Arizona – it may interest you to find out that it is a Lady Banks rose.
You can read more about my visit to this historic rose bush, here.

There is so much to enjoy with this beautiful, fuss-free rose.

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

I am excited to show you two pictures of one of my favorite perennials.

Favorite Perennials Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

Favorite Perennials Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) 

Isn’t this a cool picture of a bee, ready to pollinate the flowers of this penstemon?

I must confess that I did not take this photo (or the other one below).  My husband took both of these beautiful pictures.

Favorite Perennials Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

This firecracker penstemon is happily growing in my garden and is now over 14 years old, which is rare.

Every winter, it sends up spikes covered in red, tubular flowers, much to the delight of the resident hummingbirds.

The blooms last through spring in my desert garden.  In cooler climates, it will bloom in spring through early summer.

To learn more about this red beauty and how easy it is to grow in your garden, click here.

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I hope you have enjoyed my favorite flower photos.  Starting tomorrow, I will begin posting a series of my favorite DIY blog posts, so please come back for a visit!  

Yellow is a great color to include in the garden.  

Why?

Yellow-flowering plants will help the other colors in your garden to ‘pop’ visually because it provides great color contrast.

Damainita (Chrysactinia mexicana)

Damainita (Chrysactinia mexicana) 

One of my favorite yellow-flowering plants is damianita, which blooms in spring and again in fall.

yellow flowering plants

It thrives in hot, sunny, desert gardens, is drought-tolerant and is almost maintenance-free.

I love how it looks like ‘yellow clouds’ sitting on the ground when in bloom.

For more information on damianita as well as a few other desert perennials that I like to use in desert landscapes, click here.

I love the color purple in the garden because the color, helps to visually ‘cool’ the garden.

'Rio Bravo' Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae 'Rio Bravo')

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

Have you ever wondered how some plants handle our hot temperatures and intense sunlight?

Look carefully at the flowers, above.  Note the small hairs covering the petals?  They help to reflect the sun’s rays.

sage shrubs

I like using large shrubs to screen the back wall of my garden, so I have quite a few ‘Rio Bravo’ sage shrubs.

They put on a spectacular show off and on throughout the summer when they bloom.  (Leucophyllum langmaniae) is just one species of Leucophyllum (Texas Sage).

Of course, if you insist on pruning your sage shrubs into round ‘blobs’ – you will never see the flower show.

For guidelines on how to prune your desert, flowering shrubs correctly, click here.

Do you like orange flowers?

I do.

Orange Jubilee (Tecoma x 'Orange Jubilee')

Orange Jubilee (Tecoma x ‘Orange Jubilee’) 

Which is why I have the orange flowering beauty in my garden.

Clusters of orange, tubular flowers hang from this large shrub from spring through fall, making the hummingbirds in my garden very happy.

Learn more about this beautiful shrub and how to grow it in your garden, here.

I am sharing with you a few of my favorite close-up flower photographs this week.

Here is one that brightens up my garden summer and into early fall…

Sunflower&nbsp

Sunflower 

It is hard to find a flower that grows so large and that is easy to grow.

flower photographs

I plant mine from seed each spring and then plant a second crop in mid-summer.

Did you know that you can make a bird feeder and shade tomatoes using sunflowers?

Do you enjoy going out into the garden in summer?

I don’t!

I admit to sometimes neglecting my garden when the temperatures go above the century mark.  My aversion to gardening in a furnace is one of the reasons that I like to use desert-adapted plants that don’t need much attention.

fuss-free plant chuparosa

One of my favorite fuss-free plants is chuparosa (Justicia californica).

It has beautiful red, tubular flowers that decorate the garden in late winter into spring and sporadically throughout the year.  Hummingbirds can’t resist it AND it is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance.

Want to learn more?  Here is my latest plant profile for Houzz:

 

Every year, I hope to avoid a certain malady that always pops its head up in mid-August.

I was pretty sure I had skipped it this year, but early this week – it hit me.

What is this malady?

“I don’t want to venture out into my garden.”

seasonal malady

seasonal malady

Shocking, isn’t it?  Now, there is nothing wrong with my garden.  In fact, it looks its best this time of year.

My summer-flowering shrubs are absolutely covered in blooms, my trees are growing beautifully and my lawn is thick and green (thanks largely to increased humidity and monsoon rains).

seasonal malady

Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’

Arizona Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans stans)

Arizona Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans stans)

Orange Jubilee

Orange Jubilee

The fact that I haven’t spent much time out in the garden is rather obvious from the photos of my slightly overgrown plants below…

Rio Bravo Sage

Rio Bravo Sage

Gold Lantana

Gold Lantana

So, why on earth don’t I want to go out in the garden?

Well, I must admit that I get a little ‘burned out’ on gardening.  It has to do with the fact that I get a bit tired of the summer heat and living in the Desert Southwest, means that there is always something to do in the garden 12 months of the year.

Sometimes, I just need a little break.  I don’t think this makes me a bad gardener or horticulturist – do  you?

So, maybe some of my plants are a bit overgrown and need a little pruning.  Well, they can grow for a couple more weeks and I’ll get to it in early September.

Besides, I would rather have a overgrown plant covered in flowers then one that is over-pruned and ugly, wouldn’t you?

Seasonal malady

I will shake off this seasonal ‘malady’ and be out in the garden, eager to plant seeds for my winter vegetable garden the beginning of September.

**How about you?  Do you suffer from the same malady from time to time?  Please tell me about it – it will make me feel better 🙂  

Showing Love Through…..Pruning?

Summer is officially here.  To be honest, I think it is funny that summer ‘starts’ on June 20th when we have already had temperatures above 100 degrees for weeks.

It may be hot, but my vegetable garden is thriving. 

Here is a snapshot of the past week in my garden:

 newest vegetable garden

 My newest vegetable garden is doing very well.  Actually, it is doing better then I had even hoped.  The reason for this is that it receives filtered shade in both the morning and afternoon.  

 newest vegetable garden

The result is that my marigolds and nasturtiums are still thriving even though they normally die off by the end of May.

I am a thrifty person by nature and like to save money when I can in the garden, so I collect the seeds from dried flowers in order to plant them again the following season:

Hollyhock seeds

Hollyhock seeds

Marigold seeds

Marigold seeds

I save the seeds in regular envelopes.

Snapshot of a Summer Week in the Garden

About 3 weeks ago, I cut back my spent hollyhocks and have been pleasantly surprised to see them come back.

Snapshot of a Summer Week in the Garden

My vegetable gardens continue to produce corn, tomatoes, string beans, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers and herbs.

Before you see the following picture, I need to remind you that I am far from a perfect gardener…

corn

 This is what happens when you are out of town and don’t get to harvest your corn.

You can see that the kernels are sunken and even dried out.

Now if you grew an heirloom variety of corn, you can save the dried kernels for planting next year.

(Heirloom varieties of vegetables aren’t hybrids and will grow the exactly the same as the parent plant).

OR, you can allow the corn cobs to dry out completely and set them out for the birds, which is what I plant to do since I planted a hybrid type of corn.

(The seeds from hybrids won’t produce the same plant).

 Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Purple Basil.

Clockwise from top: Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Purple Basil.

I normally dry my herbs in bunches, hanging upside down.  But my sister has done it by drying them on cookie sheets.  Because we live in a desert, this is a viable option. I must admit that I haven’t tried this before, so I’m anxious to see how it works.  I set the cookie sheets out in my garage, covered with a dish cloth.

We’ll see how it works.

newest vegetable garden

Lastly, I have planted some vegetable seeds outside of my garden.  More about that later….

As for the rest of the week – I will be spending much of my time indoors in air-conditioned comfort, viewing my garden from indoors 😉

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How about you?

What are you doing in the garden this week?

My Newest Favorite Thing…..Vegetable Gardening!