Does the idea of having to venture outside, when temperatures are above 100 degrees, to care for your garden have you thinking twice? I must admit that there have been times when I have let the plants in my landscape fend for themselves in summer after setting the irrigation controller. But, there is often a price to pay afterward when you have to play catch up with extra pruning and other maintenance.
There are however many different plants that thrive in summer with little fuss allowing you to enjoy the comforts of your air-conditioned home while viewing your beautiful garden through the windows. Here are some of my favorite fuss-free plants for the summer garden.
Mexican honeysuckle has lush green foliage and produces tubular orange flowers throughout the entire year. They do best in filtered shade and attract hummingbirds. I like to plant them underneath trees such as mesquite or palo verde.
Learn more about Mexican honeysuckle.
Artichoke agave is highly prized for its rosette shape, and it’s easy to see where it got its name. The blue-gray color and maroon edges add great color contrast to the garden when it is placed alongside plants with dark and light-green foliage.
Of course, these are but one species of agave that would make a delightful, fuss-free addition to the summer garden. I also recommend cow’s horn agave (Agave bovicornuta), smooth-edge agave (Agave desmettiana), and Victoria agave (Agave victoria–reginae) to name a few.
‘Summertime Blue’ is a delightful shrub that needs next to no maintenance throughout the year and decorates the garden with its bright green foliage and violet-blue flowers that appear spring through fall. It grows slowly but will reach approximately 6 feet tall and wide. If given enough room, it can go a year (or two) before needing pruning. While you may have to look around for a nursery that carries it, it’s well worth the effort. It is also usually found at the Desert Botanical Garden’s spring and fall plant sales.
Lady’s Slipper is a uniquely shaped succulent with thornless stems that have a ‘Medusa-like’ growth habit that is more pronounced in light shade. The upright stems add a welcome vertical element to the landscape, and small orange flowers are produced off and on through spring and fall. They can be grown in containers or planted in the ground and do well in full sun or light shade.
Bush lantana is a familiar sight to many who live in arid climates like ours. This species of lantana is slightly different than the trailing gold and purple lantana. It has larger leaves, grows taller, and has multi-colored flowers that vary according to the variety. Bush lantana is a great choice for a colorful summer garden as they are seemingly heat-proof.
Totem Pole ‘Monstrosus’ (Lophocereus schottii ‘Monstrosus’)
Totem pole ‘Monstrosus’ has become quite a popular addition to the desert garden and it’s easy to see why with its knobby shape. Another bonus is that they are almost always thornless, which makes them suitable for areas near entries or patios where a prickly cactus aren’t welcome. Plant in full sun in a row for a contemporary look or place next to a boulder for a more natural appearance.
Learn more about totem pole cactus.
‘Heavenly Cloud’ Texas sage is well worth adding to your landscape for its lovely purple blossoms that appear off and on throughout the warm season, often in response to increased humidity. All species of Texas sage do well in summer and can be nearly maintenance-free if allowed enough room to reach their 8 foot tall and wide size as well as left to grow into their natural shape. This particular species blooms more than the more common ‘Green Cloud’ Texas sage.
Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
Golden barrel cactus are wildly popular, and it is easy to see why with the globular shapes and yellow coloring. This cactus is quite versatile, able to grow in both sun and light shade. I like to use it in groups of three next to boulders or in a row. They also do well in containers planted singly or along with other succulents.
Learn more about golden barrel cactus.
|Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri)|
|Trailing Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)|
|Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)|
|Newly-planted red yucca|
With the arrival of winter, some people resign themselves to a boring garden, devoid of interest until spring arrives with its warmer temperatures.
Thankfully, we don’t have to settle for ‘blah’ winter gardens if cold-hardy succulents have a spot to grow in the landscape, many of which can survive temps down to 0 and even -20 degrees F.
|Yucca growing among boulders.|
|Whale’s Tongue Agave (Agave ovatifolia)|
|Toothless Sotol (Dasylirion quadrangulatum)|
Hopefully, you’ll find some of your old favorites and maybe a few new ones.
Do you like red yucca (Hesperaloe parvifolia)?
This past week, I have been sharing with you my latest landscape project that is located next to a golf course.
I shared with you the tree and shrubs that I had chosen and not it’s time to show you what perennials and succulents that will be going in.
*All the following perennials are drought tolerant and require full sun with well-drained soil.
|Newly planted landscape with Purple Trailing Lantana, Parry’s Penstemon, Desert Spoon, Palo Blanco trees and Damianita.|
When you pair beauty and low-maintenance in a single type of plant – that is one that I highly recommend.
Earlier this week, I was doing a landscape consult with a client who had multiple Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) plants throughout his garden and I was reminded again, how much I enjoy this succulent plant.
I’d love to share with you just a few of the many reasons to add red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) to your landscape…
Don’t prune the foliage like the homeowner did in the photo above – why create more maintenance then is needed? Especially when it results in turning an attractive plant ‘ugly’?
So, have you seen any pruning disasters lately? I seem to be seeing quite a few….
I love taking walks in the spring outdoors. All too soon, summer will be here and walks will have to happen in the early morning hours before the heat of the day arrives. I suppose that I could always take a walk inside of our local air-conditioned mall, but I think that would get expensive after a while, don’t you?
Besides, I would miss the natural beauty outdoors….
So, let us continue our walk with my husband and my two twin nephews – Danny and Dean….
I absolutely love this time of year. The weather is gorgeous and everything is in bloom. Although the afternoons can get a little hot, the mornings are still cool and a perfect time for a walk through the neighborhood.
Now before we leave on our walk, I almost always bring my camera with me, because you never know what you might see. Today, along with my husband, I brought 2 special guests with me….
|Bush Morning Glory|
|Australian Bottle Tree|
I guess it the horticulturist in me, but along with the beautiful, I tend to look at the ugly as well. Thankfully, with gardening ‘ugliness’ is usually short-lived. I can’t wait until everything is in full bloom!
Come join us for ‘Part Two’ of our spring time walk later this week….
It is so nice to be back home from my Midwest road trip. My mother and I had a wonderful time, but it is so good to be home. I think the best part was walking off the plane and seeing my husband waiting with a bouquet of flowers 🙂
Now, the title of this post does NOT apply to me. My ancestors hail from Northern Europe and so whenever a sunny day beckons me outdoors, you will find me with my hat and my sunscreen.
What this title does refer to are plants that not only thrive in our full desert sun, but those that can even thrive in areas with hot, reflected heat. Just picture a brick wall, facing west, getting the full force of the sun in the afternoon. Believe it or not, there are quite a few plants that do quite well in the summer sun and seem to be saying “Bring it On”.