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As summer begins to slowly fade and the heat begins to dissipate, the Southwestern garden comes alive.



Plants perk up in the absence of 100+ degree temperatures and people begin to venture outdoors  (without their hats!) to enjoy their beautiful surroundings.

When people talk about their favorite season, many will tell you that spring is the time that they enjoy the most as their gardens come alive, spring forth with new green growth and colorful blooms.

Sky Flower (Duranta erecta)

While spring is a glorious time in the desert landscape with winter blooms overlapping with spring flowering plants along with cactus flowers – it isn’t the only ‘spring’ that the desert experiences.


Fall is often referred to as the “second spring” in the desert Southwest as plants take on a refreshed appearance due to the cooler temperatures with many still producing flowers.  Many birds, butterflies and other wildlife reappear during the daytime hours in autumn.

Desert residents often find themselves making excuses to spend more time outdoors whether it’s taking a longer walk or bringing their laptop outdoors where they can enjoy the comfortable temperatures and surrounding beauty of the landscape.


Fall is also a time where we take a look around our own garden setting and decide to make some changes whether it is taking out thirsty, old plants replacing them with attractive, drought tolerant plants or creating an outdoor room by expanding a patio or perhaps adding a pergola.

Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus v. wrightii) 

No matter where you live – the East Coast, Midwest, Northwest, etc., fall is the best time of year to add new plants to the landscape as it provides plants with 3 seasons in which to grow a good root system before the heat of the next summer arrives.

What do you enjoy most about fall?  

**Thinking of making some changes to your landscape?  Click here for a list my favorite drought tolerant plants that provide fall blooms.  
At first glance, violet silverleaf (Leucophyllum candid) may look like a nice gray shrub with a smattering of purple flowers.

BUT, when you crank up the humidity and add some summer rain into the mix and it really explodes with color…


These shrubs literally stop people in their tracks with their purple beauty.

Violet silverleaf is easy to grow in arid climates and when not in flower, its gray foliage provides great color contrast in the landscape.

Find out more about this Texas native and why you’ll want to include it in your garden in my lates plant profile for Houzz.com:


Have you ever seen this shrub growing?  Do you have one in your landscape?

Earlier this week, we were at my mother’s house for our traditional Tuesday night dinner.  I love having one night off a week from making dinner and it is nice to hang out with my siblings and their families, who also come.


However, as I entered the house, I saw my mother’s beautiful fall display on her dining room table…


It is pretty, isn’t it?

Many of the gourds she grew herself and I like how she placed bare branches in mason jars.  

Now, while I was admiring her display, I realized that I haven’t done anything to get ready for fall in my house, not to mention my garden.

So, this weekend, I will add a few bags of manure and compost to my vegetable gardens along with a sprinkling of bone and blood meal.  Hopefully, I will be planting seeds and transplants soon – I promise to let you know what I plant.

In the meantime, I will gather my younger kids together and pull out our Fall / Halloween decorations (if I can just remember where I stored them 😉

When will you plant your fall garden and do you decorate your home for fall?

Fall is definitely in the air.  I can stand outside and feel a slight coolness to the breeze, which I love.


This is my favorite time of year.  One of the many reasons is that it is time to get ready to plant my fall vegetable garden.


One of my favorite vegetables to grow is lettuce.  It is so nice to be able to step out into the garden and snip off fresh, delicious lettuce leaves for our dinner salad.

To get a head start on my lettuce, I planted the seeds indoors.  The reason is, is that lettuce seeds need temperatures below 80 degrees in order to germinate.

After a few weeks growing indoors, I will be able to transplant them out into my garden.

Growing lettuce is very easy and you don’t need many supplies to start them indoors.  I used plastic food containers that I had been saving.

Why don’t you join me and grow your own lettuce too?  You don’t have to have a vegetable plot.  Lettuce grows just fine in containers or even in a recyclable grocery bag.


For how to start lettuce seeds indoors, check out my latest Birds & Blooms blog post – “Grow Your Own Lettuce in Recycled Containers”.

I hope you will grow some lettuce with me!

Yesterday, I visited the site where I am currently working on a landscape design.


Panoramic photo taken by my iPhone5

The area is along a golf course and is mostly bare except for a few Foothill Palo Verde trees, a Wolfberry tree and some Creosote.

I had completed the rough draft of the design a couple of weeks ago and brought it with me to make sure that what I had on paper would look good in the actual space.

I was happy that there was only a small change for me to make and I will now work on finishing up the design.

It is scheduled to be installed this fall and I will be able to help oversee the project.

The plants I chose are some of my favorites and are present in many of the other landscape areas (that I designed) of this golf course.

I’ll share with you the plant palette on Monday with photos and the reasons why I chose these particular plants.  

Who knows? Maybe you will will want to plant a few of these plants in your own landscape.  Remember, fall is the best time of year to add new plants to your garden.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

My favorite season is fall.  What do I love about fall, you may ask?

It’s not the colorful leaves….

Autumn color in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

Now before you think I am crazy, let me explain…
Fall foliage begins to make it’s appearance in Williamsburg, VA.

 I have never lived anywhere that had lots of trees turn color.

I grew up in Southern California and I now live in Arizona.

I do love visiting areas with lovely fall foliage, but I don’t connect fall with leaves turning color.

Fall signifies for me, the beginning of holidays AND cooler weather after a hot summer.

This year, we are hosting the entire family’s Halloween celebration at our house because we have the best neighborhood for trick-or-treating.

I have been hand-making some new Halloween decorations – some of which have turned out pretty good.

Monday, my mother is coming out and we are going to try making paper-mache pumpkins.

I’m not sure how they will turn out….but it will be fun to try.  I promise I’ll share our results 🙂