I love flowers.  In fact, it was my love affair with flowers that inspired me to get my degree in horticulture.  I figured that life is too short to not do what you love, so working as a horticulturist allows me to be around blooming plants throughout much of the year.

As the weather begins to cool, blossoms begin to lessen, but one of the many benefits of living in the Southwest is that there are always some plants showing off their flowers.

Today, I’d like to share with you just a few of the flowering plants that I saw during the past couple of weeks, which are decorating the fall landscape.

Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) flowers in spring and fall, is extremely drought tolerant, thrives in full sun and is hardy to 10 degrees F.

Creeping Indigo Bush (Dalea greggii) is a groundcover, which flowers in spring and fall, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun and is hardy to 10 degrees F.
The Cascalote tree (Caesalpinia cacalaco) flowers in fall and on into early winter, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun and is hardy to 20 degrees F.  While thorny, there is a new variety with a smooth trunk, called ‘Smoothie’.
Pink Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is an ornamental grass that flowers in fall, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun to filtered shade and is hardy to 0 degrees F.

Blue Bells (Eremophila hygrophana) flowers all year long, is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun to filtered shade and is hardy to 17 degrees F.  

These are but a few plants that are still in bloom in November in my zone 9 climate.

How about you?  What is blooming in your garden or neighborhood?
**An Advisory – Please do not enlarge photos until finished reading the entire post.**
Last weekend, my husband and I did the unthinkable….we left our kids with their grandparents and went to Las Vegas.  We had originally planned a trip to Sedona, which is located in Northern Arizona, but the roads were closed due to three consecutive storms that had dumped 3 – 4 ft. of snow.  So, we decided to go somewhere where there would not be any snow.

On the way, we journeyed through the Joshua Tree Scenic Drive which I posted about here.  It was windy and rainy and the mountains along the way were dusted with snow.  I was excited to take a lot of photos of the desert along the way as well as the gardens around the hotels in Las Vegas.
As we arrived in Las Vegas, it was to a spectacular sight…the mountains surrounding the city were covered with a thick layer of snow.
The place I was most excited about visiting was the 90,000 sq. ft. Conservatory at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which has beautiful displays that are changed continually.  The theme for this time of year was the Chinese New Year. 

The Conservatory was covered in countless species and varieties of orchids along with bromeliads, bamboo, moss and so much more.  There were easily over 200 different orchids there.
I was in absolute heaven and took about 100 pictures.  I couldn’t wait to download them so that I could share them with you all.

After I returned home, I eagerly downloaded my pictures.  I couldn’t wait to post my fabulous orchid photos.  As I clicked on each photo, I wanted to cry….over 95% of my pictures were blurry and out of focus.  
*I bet some of you thought I was disappointed that I did not win a lot of money –  but it is hard to win a lot of money when you only spent $25 on slot machines ;^) 

You see, just before our trip, I had just picked up my camera from the camera repairman, where I had just had the memory card slot repaired.  Now, it was just too much of a coincidence that our camera was not working as it should so we went back to him.  It turns out that the repairman had inadvertently messed up how the image in the viewfinder looks as opposed to how the image appears to the lens.  He fixed it quickly and was extremely apologetic.

Only a few photos turned out okay and you are seeing all of them, except for a couple that I am saving for a Chinese New Year’s post.

I hope you can see from this extremely small sampling how beautiful the Conservatory was.  
**Okay, you can now enlarge the photos to view them if you like, now that you have been warned that despite my best Photoshop efforts that some are still a bit out of focus.