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California bluebells and red flax
One of spring’s many joys are the fields of wildflowers that we often see growing along the side of the road.  It is one of the many miracles of nature how such lovely flowers can grow in the wild without any help from people.
 
I find it kind of ironic that if we want to grow these flowers of the wild in our own garden we  have to give them a little assistance to get them going.  But, the preparation is fairly simple and the rewards are definitely well worth the effort.
 
Arroyo lupine with white gaura
 
As with many things in the garden, planting begins in advance, and in the case of wildflowers, fall is the best time to sow the seeds for spring bloom.
 
 
I’ve planted wildflower gardens throughout my career, but I’ll never forget my first one.  It was on a golf course and I sowed quite a bit of wildflower seed in that small area – and I mean a LOT of seed.  The wildflowers were growing so thickly together and probably would have looked nicer if I had used less seed and/or thinned them out a little once they started to grow.  But, I loved that little wildflower garden.
 
If you like wildflowers, how about setting aside some space in your garden to plant your own?
 
I have shared my tips on creating a wildflower garden in my latest article for Houzz.  I hope you enjoy it.
 
**Do you have a favorite wildflower?
 
 

 

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)
Thankfully, there are quite a few drought tolerant, flowering plants that do well with both the heat and cold for those of us who want a beautiful, fuss-free landscape filled with colorful plants.

I shared 10 of my favorite cold and heat tolerant, flowering plants in my latest article for Houzz.  


Hopefully, you will find some new favorites to try in your own garden.



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

When deciding what plants to add to your garden, many people concentrate on incorporating plants that bloom in spring and summer, but there are a number of attractive plants that bloom in fall.

Pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Using plants with overlapping bloom periods ensure year-round beauty for your landscape.

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)

Many plants that flower in fall also flower at other times of year as well such as damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana), Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) and autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

Early October is a great time to start adding new plants, so now is a great time to decide what type of fall-blooming plants to add.

I recently shared 10 of my favorite, drought tolerant fall bloomers in my latest article for Houzz.  I hope you’ll include some of these in your landscape where they will help to decorate your fall landscape.

Do you have a favorite fall-blooming plant?

Do you enjoy visits from butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden?
 
How about creating their own mini-wildlife habitat in a container where you can view them close up without using a lot of garden space?
 
It’s not hard to do and the rewards are seeing your favorite flying visitors coming to visit your garden.
 
Learn how to create your own butterfly and/or hummingbird wildlife habitat in a container in my latest article for Houzz.
 

 

What plant in your garden is most visited by butterflies and hummingbirds?

 

Do you like the look of ornamental grasses?


One of my favorite plants has the appearance of an ornamental grass, but isn’t.  



Bear grass (Nolina microcarpa) has lovely, evergreen foliage that mimics the look of grasses.  But, my favorite part are the curlicue ends of the leaves.


Aren’t they neat?

Like the other drought tolerant and beautiful plants that I profile, bear grass thrives in hot, dry locations with little attention.  Another bonus is that they easily handle 100+ temperatures in summer and can also survive winter temps down to -10 degrees F.

Want to learn more?  Check out my latest plant profile on Houzz.

Do you like flowering perennials?

I do.  I enjoy their soft texture, flowers and the pollinators that come to enjoy their flowers.

Today, I’d like to share with one of my favorite perennials that I have growing in my garden.


Gaura lindheimeri is a drought tolerant perennial that produces small, delicate flowers that resemble butterflies floating on the air.

Available in white and pink colors, they are grown as a perennial or used as an annual in colder climates.  This is one of the few plants that you can find growing in a desert garden and in more temperate climates such as the Midwest and Northeast.

This lovely perennial deserves to be seen more in the garden and I’d love to share more about gaura with you and why you’ll want to add it to your landscape in my latest Houzz article.




Do you like plants that flower throughout most of the year?


How about a plant with foliage that is evergreen throughout the year in zone 9-11 gardens?


Would you prefer a plant that requires very little pruning?


If you answered “yes” to these questions, than Texas olive may deserve a spot in your garden.


This beautiful southwestern native deserves a spot in our ‘Drought Tolerant & Fuss Free’ category.


Despite its common name, this is not an olive tree.  However, it can be trained into a small tree or large shrub depending on your preference.

In my opinion, it deserves to be seen more often in the landscape with all of its outstanding qualities mentioned earlier.

My favorite characteristics are its large, dark green leaves and white flowers that decorate the landscape.

Want to learn more about Texas olive and how you can use it in your landscape?

Check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.

If you want more ideas of great plants to add to your drought tolerant landscape, you can check out my other plant profiles here.



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As you can see, it’s back to regular blog posts after my Northwestern road trip posts.  I hope you enjoyed them and were able to share in our adventures.

However, I still have more to share with you about the some very special gardens we visited. I promise to share with you soon!

Did you know that you can often tell what is wrong with a plant by looking at its leaves?
 
It’s true.
 
Manganese deficiency
 
‘Reading the leaves’ to diagnose common plant ailments isn’t hard to do if you know what symptoms to look for.


Problems such as iron or nitrogen deficiency are fairly easy to identify as is salt and sunburn damage.


Read on to learn how to diagnose these problems in your plants in my latest Houzz article:
 
 

Spring is here and it is a busy time in the garden.

Did you know that spring is a great time to prune your summer-flowering shrubs?  


But, do you know the ‘right’ way to prune so you don’t go from this…



To this…

Believe it or not, these are the same type of flowering shrub (Leucophyllum langmaniae).

So, how do you get from an overgrown shrub and avoid pruning it into a ‘gumdrop’?

The good news is, is that it isn’t hard to prune shrubs correctly – you just need the right information.

I recently wrote an article on how to and how NOT to prune flowering shrubs for Houzz.

Simply click the photo below and you’ll be on your way to gorgeous, flowering shrubs. 


Queen butterfly and a Victoria agave

Do you like succulents?

I do.  I must admit that I am not a huge fan of cacti in my own garden – I have only two.  But, I do have a number of agave, which are without a doubt, my favorite succulent.

What’s not to love about agave?

They are drought tolerant, fuss-free and with over  200 species to choose from, the possibilities in the landscape are almost endless.

From species 18 inches in size to large size species over 6 feet tall and a variety of colors and leaf shapes to choose from, it’s a wonder that I don’t have more agave in my landscape.

Would you like to include agave in your landscape?

Learn more about this versatile succulent and how to use it in your landscape in my latest article for Houzz.


Do you have agave growing in your garden?  What species is your favorite?