|Purple hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa ‘Purpurea’), shrubby germander (Teucrium fruiticans), and violas.|
This morning, I was on my way to a landscape consultation for my fellow Arizona gardener, Claudette, who blogs over at Gilbert Garden Girls.
As I always do before driving to an appointment, I entered the address into my car’s GPS and was pleased to see that it would only take 20 minutes to get to her house from mine.
However, as I drove down her street, the addresses did not match up with hers. So, I took out my phone and brought up my trusty Google Maps app and found that my car’s formerly reliable GPS had misdirected me. Luckily, I was only 1 mile away and so I was only a couple of minutes late, which truth be told, is normal for me.
Did you ever read the book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett? It was one of my favorite books as a child, and I always imagined myself exploring a hidden garden.
|Yellow Protea flower|
|Elk Horn (Cotyledon orbiculata)|
There were so many lovely vistas as well as unusual plants and combinations; I was very busy taking a lot of photos. However, my legs were quite sore the next day from bending and squatting down for the perfect photo shot – at least I don’t have to feel guilty for not being able to visit the gym on our trip 🙂
|Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)|
|A floss silk tree is surrounded with a variety of succulents.|
|Bright orange aloe blooms around the house.|
|Artichoke agave (Agave parryi ‘truncata’) and ‘Blue Glow’ agave|
Across the lawn from the house, a desert area filled with several agave species, columnar cacti, golden barrels and yucca create a lovely contrast to the darker green plants surrounding them.
The dark pink flowers of rock purslane (Calandrinia spectabilis) grab your attention along with the bright orange flowers of soap aloe (Aloe maculata).
|Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) with Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima)|
This was by far my favorite combination of plants. The contrast of textures with the grasses waving in the breeze and the upright purple flowers of the salvia was just breath-taking.
I took a video of how it looks with the wind blowing, which it was quite a lot that day.
In a nearby field, the bright orange flowers of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) were in full bloom creating a carpet of color that could be viewed from the house.
Up the hill from the house stood a Japanese garden. The raised terrace was built around a large oak tree, which I appreciated the shade it offered since I didn’t wear my hat 😉
Japanese statues and a Zen area completed this section of the garden.
In the back of the raised terrace, was a vine-covered walkway with arches that looked out into an enclosed outdoor area.
Between the two arching oak trees was a circular stage. Majestic oak trees were used to great effect throughout the entire garden.
As I walked back toward the house, I could see one of the gardeners hard at work, pulling weeds from around the succulents.
As we walked back toward the entrance, we took another route along a gravel path lined with tall tree aloes, pink flowering ice plant along with daisies of all colors blooming.
Despite the high winds, it I had a fabulous time in this very secret garden. It is without a doubt one of my top 5 gardens of all time with its use of beautiful, drought tolerant plants from around the world.
If I had to pick my favorite vista of the garden, it would be the one pictured in this photo…
This is how I envision what heaven will be like. I hope that God has a nice little garden cottage prepared for me next to a lovely garden like this one.
If you would like to learn more about this secret garden, here is a link to an article written about a few years ago with more photos.
Visits to the garden are by invitation only, and you can contact the garden through their Facebook page here.
No matter where you live, you often see five types shrubs being used over and over in landscape after landscape. While the shrubs themselves may be attractive, their overuse throughout neighborhoods can create a somewhat ‘boring landscape’.
|Hop bush flower|
The true test for many plants in my humble opinion are how they perform during extremes. If a plant looks great in the blistering heat of summer as well as when temps dip below freezing in winter, than it deserves a prime spot in the landscape.
|Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)|
Hopefully, you will find some new favorites to try in your own garden.
I love flowers. In fact, it was my love affair with flowers that inspired me to get my degree in horticulture. I figured that life is too short to not do what you love, so working as a horticulturist allows me to be around blooming plants throughout much of the year.
As the weather begins to cool, blossoms begin to lessen, but one of the many benefits of living in the Southwest is that there are always some plants showing off their flowers.
Today, I’d like to share with you just a few of the flowering plants that I saw during the past couple of weeks, which are decorating the fall landscape.
|Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) flowers in spring and fall, is extremely drought tolerant, thrives in full sun and is hardy to 10 degrees F.|
|Creeping Indigo Bush (Dalea greggii) is a groundcover, which flowers in spring and fall, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun and is hardy to 10 degrees F.|
|The Cascalote tree (Caesalpinia cacalaco) flowers in fall and on into early winter, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun and is hardy to 20 degrees F. While thorny, there is a new variety with a smooth trunk, called ‘Smoothie’.|
|Pink Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is an ornamental grass that flowers in fall, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun to filtered shade and is hardy to 0 degrees F.|
|Blue Bells (Eremophila hygrophana) flowers all year long, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun to filtered shade and is hardy to 17 degrees F.|
It may seem rather strange to think of landscapes decorated with lilies in fall, but summer and fall rain bring on the lovely blooms of rain lilies (Zephyranthes species).
The beginning of fall is only a few weeks away as the long summer winds down. Fall is a wonderful time in the garden and is the best time of year for adding new plants, allowing them a chance to grow before the heat of next summer arrives.
|Turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) in bloom|
|Pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris)|
|Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)|
Do you have a favorite fall-blooming plant?
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Picture a garden filled with colorful flowering plants with hummingbirds hovering about.
Now imagine that this garden is located in a small space against the backdrop of the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona and you have paradise.
What I liked about the first perennial bed that I first saw was its curved edge, brightly colored wall in the back and the colorful tiles, which highlighted the flower colors.
|Coral Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Coral)|
|Salvia microphylla ‘Lipstick’|
|Salvia greggii ‘Purple’|
**For more information on plants that will attract hummingbirds to your Southwest garden, I recommend Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest.