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Do you grow herbs? I do. 

Herbs are easy to grow and thrive in arid climates and shrug off the heat. I’m the first to admit that I don’t like messing around with fussy plants and so herbs fit right in with my gardening style.

Toward the end of summer, my garden is overflowing with herbs – especially basil. I certainly have more than I can use right now, so I like to preserve my herbs in a variety of ways so that I can enjoy the fresh flavor of summer throughout the winter months.

One of the easiest ways to store herbs is by freezing them using olive oil or water. You can see my post on how to freeze herbs here

Herb salts are a newer way to keep the fresh flavor of herbs alive. The ingredients are simple, and they are a unique way to add a delicious taste to your favorite recipes. See how easy they are to make in this blog post

Finally, the most popular method for preserving herbs is to dry them. Some types of herbs are easier to dry than others, and there are different methods for drying herbs. I invite you to read my latest article for Houzz.com where it’s all you need to know about drying herbs. I hope you enjoy it!


Do you dry or freeze your herbs? Which herbs work best for you?

 

One of the best things about having a garden in the desert southwest is our ability to grow citrus of all kinds. Lemon trees are a popular fruit tree and I am often asked what type of lemon do I recommend. 

 

There are different types of lemons but the one that is my favorite isn’t a ‘true’ lemon tree at all. It’s a Meyer lemon, which is a cross between an orange tree and a lemon tree. 

The result is a fruit that tastes sweeter than your typical lemon and has a lovely thin, smooth skin. Meyer lemons are suitable for use in the same ways that other lemons are, but you can use them in additional ways as well due to their sweeter nature.

I recently shared the reasons why you should plant a Meyer lemon tree in one of my latest articles for Houzz.

Have you ever grown a Meyer lemon tree?

 

 

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)

Summer temperatures are fading and it’s time to get back outdoors and enjoy the beauty surrounding our homes.  When many plants begin to slow down blooming, there are some that are just getting started including these fall-blooming shrubs.

This time of year is very busy for me as many of my clients are ready to focus on their garden.  However, as busy as I get, I try to find some time to sit outside and enjoy the colorful plants in my own garden.

Mt. Lemmon Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)

Mt. Lemmon Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)

Fall is the best time for adding new plants to the landscape, so this is a great time to take a look at your garden and see where you would like to see some welcome autumn color.

If you are ready to add more color to your outdoor space this autumn, I invite you to read my latest article for Houzz where I list my favorite flowering shrubs in the fall garden.

Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Do you love purple flowers? Check out my blog post where I feature autumn bloomers with purple flowers.

What is your favorite flowering plant for fall?

Do you like colorful flowers and hummingbirds?   If so, you may want to consider adding flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)  to your garden.

This is a fairly new addition to my garden and the local hummingbirds are so happy to see it in my garden.

It blooms from late spring into fall and I love its airy, bright green foliage.

If you would like to learn more, I invite you to check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.




I have a confession to make.  I don’t have any containers filled with flowering annuals.  There are a few reasons for this, but I tend to prefer low-maintenance plantings that look great all year.  I don’t have much patience for high-maintenance containers, filled with plants that need frequent irrigation, deadheading of spent flowers only having to change them out seasonally – although, I do think they are lovely to look at.

Perhaps my inclination to avoid planting flowering annuals in my own garden has to do with the fact that I used to be in charge of 45+ pots, each filled with colorful flowers when I worked as a horticulturist on a golf course.  

I even broke my foot when I tripped off a curb, while loading flats of flowers. 

So, it may not come as a surprise that I prefer using perennials and flowering shrubs along with succulents in my pots.


Victoria Agave ‘Compacta’

Agaves are some of my favorite succulent plants and the smaller species do very well in containers.



I recently came up with a list of my ten favorite small agaves for Houzz that are suitable for growing in pots.

I hope you enjoy it and find one that is perfect for you!

I hope your summer is going well.  I’ve been hibernating indoors in the comfort of air-conditioning.  

Please check back in a few days as I will have a new post about what I’ve been cooking in the kitchen 🙂

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.

When the flowering plants are ‘sleeping’ through winter, succulents take center stage with their unique shapes and growing patterns.

Whale’s Tongue Agave (Agave ovatifolia)

While the cold temperatures may freeze back your favorite bougainvillea or lantana flowers, cold hardy succulents like these whale’s tongue agave steal the show with their beautifully shaped leaves.

Toothless Sotol (Dasylirion quadrangulatum)
During the warmer seasons, these succulents add texture and welcome structure to the garden, often serving as a backdrop to flowering shrubs and groundcovers.  But, when winter arrives, they get their turn to shine.

Want to learn more about cold hardy succulents, which will add beauty to your outdoor space, not just in winter, but year round?  I recently compiled a list of 10 cold hardy succulents, for Houzz.com that would be a welcome addition in most landscapes.


Hopefully, you’ll find some of your old favorites and maybe a few new ones.

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).



Rain or ‘zephyr’ lilies add beauty to the gardens throughout the Southern half of the U.S., including the Southwest.  While their apperance may make you think that they are delicate and needs lots of coddling, nothing could be further from the truth.


Like other types of lilies, they are grown from bulbs planted in fall and are surprisingly, moderately drought tolerant.


The white species (Zephyranthes candida) is my favorite and has evergreen foliage.  There are other species and hybrids in colors such as pink and peach.

Rain lilies deserve a greater presence in the landscape, given their delicate beauty that adds welcome interest to the fall garden.  They are also easy to grow.

For more information on this delightful plant, including the different species and how to plant and grow your own this fall, check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.

While fall color may be somewhat lacking in the Southwest landscape in comparison to areas with brilliant fall foliage, we do have several plants that wait until fall to begin to color the landscape with their blooms.



Turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) is a desert native that has lovely, dark green foliage year round.  With the arrival of fall, they are transformed by the appearance of golden yellow flowers.

It’s hard to find a plant that needs less attention than this drought tolerant beauty – pruning every 3 years and monthly watering in summer is all it needs.

Learn more about why you should add turpentine bush to your landscape including how to use it for greatest effect and what plants to pair it with in my latest article for Houzz.com


Does it look like fall where you live?


If you live in the West or Southwestern regions of the U.S. you answer may be “no”.


Fall foliage we enjoyed on a trip to Williamsburg, VA several years ago.

Many of us find ourselves traveling elsewhere to find colorful fall foliage.

But, what if you could have fall color in your own landscape?

There are several plants that can offer some fall color for those of us who yearn for signs of autumn.

I recently shared 6 of my favorite plants for adding shades of fall to the Southwestern landscape in my latest article for Houzz.

Do you have a favorite plant that gives you fall color?

Fall is finally here and it’s time to get busy in the garden.  Did you know that fall is the best time of year to add new plants?  It doesn’t matter where you live, planting in fall gives plants three seasons to grow a healthy root system before summer arrives.



Today, I’d like to share with you another drought tolerant and beautiful plant – shrubby germander (Teucrium fruiticans).

While it’s name may not be impressive, this shrub certainly has a lot to boast about.

Shrubby germander planted alongside Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera)

First, it has blue flowers that add welcome color that contrasts with other colors such as orange and red.

Young shrubby germander growing alongside red autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

The silvery foliage also adds great color contrast to the landscape when paired near plants with darker green foliage.


Shrubby germander can grow 5 – 6 ft. tall and wide, however, there is also a more compact variety ‘Azureum’ that only reaches 3 ft.

For more reasons why you’ll want to add this attractive shrub to your landscape, check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.com.