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If you like colorful blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, than you’ll want to take a close look at this drought tolerant beauty.



Mexican bush sage has lovely gray-green foliage, white stems and velvety spikes of purple.


It thrives in arid climates and provides glorious color spring through fall.

You may be surprised to find that the actual flowers aren’t actually purple – they are white.

Learn more about this drought tolerant beauty and why you’ll want to add it to your garden in my latest article for Houzz.com.

I like to use plants in my garden that add a lot of color and the drought tolerant and beautiful, sandpaper verbena certainly doesn’t disappoint.



Its blossoms are a vibrant, deep purple that carpets the ground in a mass of glorious color spring through fall.


The deep green leaves add a visually cooling element to the landscape as well.


Butterflies find the flowers irresistible too.  


See where this colorful ground cover gets its name and why you’ll want to include it in your drought tolerant garden where it will add beauty to your outdoor space in my latest plant profile for Houzz.com



Have you ever thought of fruits, herbs or even vegetables as ornamental plants?  

Often the characteristics that make edible plants appeal to our appetite, can also add beauty to the garden making edible plants a great choice for the garden as they can do double duty as ornamentals.

I am always struck by how edible plants are increasingly used to create beautiful garden spaces.

I’ve recently shared several of my favorite examples from my own garden as well as in during garden travels for Houzz.

I hope you are inspired to look at edible plants in a new light.

Do you love roses?


I do.



While most people will tell you that they love roses, they probably do not like the extra maintenance that they require with repeated fertilizing, deadheading, fighting damaging insects and fungal diseases.

Well, let me introduce you to a rose that is beautiful and low-maintenance.
Lady Banks rose may be well-known to a few of you and it is worth a second look for those of you who love roses but not the fuss.  

They are resistant to damaging bugs and most fungal diseases leave them alone.  However, unlike many modern roses, they flower once a year in spring, producing a glorious show.

Tombstone rose Lady Banks

If you’ve ever heard of the World’s Largest Rose Bush in Tombstone, Arizona – it may interest you to find out that it is a Lady Banks rose.
You can read more about my visit to this historic rose bush, here.

There is so much to enjoy with this beautiful, fuss-free rose.

I invite you to learn more in my latest article for Houzz.com

I love to use plants that thrive in the desert Southwest.  

But, I won’t use just any plant – it has to be drought tolerant, low-maintenance and add beauty to the landscape.

One of my favorites for adding spiky texture and great color contrast is desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri), also known as ‘sotol’.

It handles freezing temperatures, is evergreen and unlike agave, won’t die after it flowers.

I recently wrote about all the reasons that I like desert spoon along with ideas of how to use it in the landscape, which you can find in my latest article for Houzz.com


**By the way, there is just 5 days left to enter the giveaway I am hosting for Troy-Bilt’s most powerful, handheld blower.  Click here to enter!

There are some plants in the landscape that are underused through not fault of their own.


This can be for a number of reasons, one of which, is that it isn’t stocked at local nurseries.  Customers often walk into their local nursery without any specific plant in mind and choose from what is in stock.

 
Another reason is that many southwestern natives aren’t all that impressive looking in their nursery container, where their root growth is restricted.  
However once they are planted and roots begin growing, they really take off and transform into a beautiful plant.
 
 
One underused plant in the southwest garden is little leaf cordia (Cordia parvifolia).
 
There are so many reasons to love this underused, native shrub…
 
– it is evergreen in zones 8 and above
– thrives in areas with full, reflected sun
– is drought tolerant
– needs no fertilizer
– rarely needs to be pruned
– and perhaps most importantly, it has beautiful, white flowers!
 
 
I recently wrote about little leaf cordia for Houzz.com and how to grow and use it in the landscape.
 
My hope that this underused shrub will soon become a much-used shrub in the southwestern landscape.
 
**Is there a plant that you think deserves a more prominent place in the southwestern landscape?  Please share it in the comments below!

Do you like daisies?

I do.

Especially one that can handle the tough conditions often present in the desert garden. 

Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) thrives in full sun – even areas that receive hot, afternoon sun.  All while being drought-tolerant.

To find out more about this desert perennial and ideas on how to add it to your garden, check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.com.

Remodeling, decorating, and more ∨

From kitchens to the living room, window treatments add a finishing touch to any room in the house.
For small bathroom ideas, browse photos of space-saving bathroom cabinetry and clever hidden mirrored medicine cabinets.



Last month, I asked you on my Facebook page, which plant I should profile in my upcoming article for Houzz.com  (Every month, I write a plant profile on plants that grow well in the Southwest.)  


My blogger friend, Becky, who lives in Tucson, mentioned that Feathery Cassia (Senna artemisoides) would be a good choice.


Surprisingly, I hadn’t thought to feature this great shrub considering that I have used it in landscape designs in the past.



In 2012, I was asked to design the plantings along a street in Rio Verde, AZ.

In addition to succulents, trees, perennials and other shrubs – Feathery Cassia was one shrub that I wanted to be sure to include due to its low-maintenance, drought-tolerance and gorgeous winter color.


In just over a year, Feathery Cassia has a good start, but will grow much larger.

I love pairing this shrub with Valentine (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) with its red flowers.


I like this shrub so much, that I have planted 5 of them along in my own garden, along a long block wall.  I can’t wait until they start growing.

If you want to learn more about Feathery Cassia, like why do people call it ‘feathery’ or learn about the surprise the flowers harbor – check out my latest article from Houzz…

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Before you throw your next party, browse a wide selection of bar ware, bar glassware and serving platters.
For small bathroom ideas, browse photos of space-saving bathroom cabinetry and clever hidden mirrored medicine cabinets.


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I hope you are all enjoying your week.  I am getting ready to head to Florida next week in order to participate in a fun gardening project.  I’ll let you know more soon…

If anyone asks me what is on my list of succulent favorites, Santa-rita prickly pear would be near the top.


Santa-rita prickly pear with new pads.

This beautiful prickly pear is also often referred to as ‘purple prickly pear’.  

I love how the its gray/blue pads become gradually tinged with purple as the temperatures get cold.

To learn more about this particular prickly pear and why you’ll want to plant one in your garden, check out my latest article for Houzz.com

Architects, interior designers, and more ∨

Use the help of top home decorators to select matching bedside tables and a new lamp shade for your own bedroom design.
Find a wall shelf, customizable closet organization and stylish furnishings to whip your closet into shape.


I hope you enjoy my latest plant article for Houzz.  I’ve been working on profiling plants that thrive in the desert southwest.


Stay tuned later this month for another great plant!


In my last post “A Long Forgotten Area Ready for Transformation”, I told you that I would share what plants I was going to have put in this neglected area.


The plants I chose are based on the following:


– I have grown them myself in either my home garden and/or in landscapes I have managed.


– They are relatively low-maintenance.


– Drought-tolerant.


– The plant palette will also ensure year round color, with at least one or more plants being in bloom at a given time.


So are you ready to see what I chose?


Let’s start with the trees…


The area has two large Foothills Palo Verde trees along with a Wolfberry tree, so I chose one other type of tree to add.

 

 

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is one of my favorite desert trees.  It is not a true willow, but is named for the fact that its leaves are willow-shaped.
 
Colorful flowers appear throughout the summer that add a vibrant punch of color to the landscape.
 
Hardy to zone 6, Desert Willow requires well-drained soil and full sun or filtered shade.
 
For more information on Desert Willow along with the different varieties available, check out my Houzz article about this lovely tree.
 
Now for the shrubs…
 
 
Valentine Bush (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’) is my favorite shrub of all time.
I will never forget the day when I was first introduced to this red-flowering shrub, by Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.  It was 1999 and I was a horticulturist fresh out of college.
 
I was given 2 Valentine shrubs from Mountain States to plant in the landscape area I managed.  Ever since then, I have been hooked.
 
 
Red flowers appear on this shrub, beginning in January and lasting until April.  If you haven’t noticed it before, there isn’t much blooming in winter, which is one of the reasons I love Valentine.
 
The foliage is evergreen and Valentine are hardy to zone 8.  Better yet, they only need to be pruned once a year – in spring after flowering.
 
Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.
For more information about Valentine, check out my post about this great plant.
 
 
My second choice for shrubs is Baja Ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis).  
 
Now, this isn’t its rather invasive cousin Ruellia (Ruellia brittoniana), pictured below…
 
Baja Ruellia is what I like to think of as a smaller version of Texas Sage species (Leucophyllum sp).  It doesn’t get as large and has a longer flowering season then Leucophyllum.

 

 
The flowers of Baja Ruellia are tubular and appear spring through fall, with the heaviest bloom occurring in spring.  
 
The foliage is light green and rarely suffers frost damage in our zone 9b climate.  Hardy to zone 9, Baja Ruellia should be planted in full sun and well-drained soil.
 
 
The third shrub for this area will be Silvery Cassia (Senna phyllodenia).  This Australian native does very well in arid landscapes.
 
The silvery foliage will provide contrast to the darker greens present in the landscape.  Evergreen to 20 degrees, this shrub flourishes in zone 9 landscapes.
 
Yellow flowers appear in late winter and into spring.  Pruning is needed after flowering, to remove seed pods in managed landscapes.
 
Like the other shrubs, Silvery Cassia enjoys full sun and well-drained soil.



The smallest shrub for this area will be Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii).  This plant is hard to zone 7, so remains evergreen during winter here.


Flowers appear fall through spring in the low desert.  The most common colors are red or pink, although there are other colors such as white, lavender and peach. 


I like to use Autumn Sage around trees like Palo Verde, where the filtered shade shelters it from the intense summer sun.  I first saw them planted around a tree at the Desert Botanical Garden and I really liked the way it looked, so I have repeated this design in many of my landscapes.
The Autumn Sage above, was planted by me around a Foothills Palo Verde about 12 years ago and they are still going strong.


I still have perennials and accent plants to show you that I have included in the design and I’ll share them with you next time.


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Life around our household has been busy lately….


School is back in session (for which I am extremely grateful for 😉


My son Kai, has ditched his wheelchair for a walker and will soon be able to walk without it.


AND


My daughter, will soon come home after leaving 5 months ago for the Navy.  She is graduating from her Equipment Operator School next week and will be an official ‘SeaBee’.  She will be on leave for 2 weeks before she reports for combat training in Mississippi, where she will be stationed for a month.


The BEST news is that her permanent base will be in Port Hueneme, which is where she wanted to be.  What is even better for us, is that it is in Southern California, just 7 hours from home!!!


We are getting ready to celebrate her homecoming, which I will share with all of you 🙂