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.
I love the color purple in the garden because the color, helps to visually ‘cool’ the garden.
|‘Rio Bravo’ Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’)|
Every year, I hope to avoid a certain malady that always pops its head up in mid-August.
I was pretty sure I had skipped it this year, but early this week – it hit me.
What is this malady?
“I don’t want to venture out into my garden.”
|Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’|
|Arizona Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans stans)|
|Rio Bravo Sage|
Do you like cupcakes?
Do you prefer a plain cupcake with no frosting?
After I walked out into my back garden this weekend and seeing my Sage shrubs in full bloom, I just couldn’t resist another post about the unfortunate practice of formerly pruning flowering shrubs into ‘cupcake’ shapes.
Of course you can read more if you like:
Flowering Shrubs Aren’t Meant To Be Cupcakes
Friday was my father-in-law’s memorial service and it was very nice. I had fun with my two sisters this weekend, including a trip with my sister, Chicken Farmer, to our local knitting store. I can’t believe I didn’t spend any $ there this time, but I just started a new project, which will take me awhile 😉
I hope your week is off to a great start. My vegetable seedlings are growing and I am going to plant some shallots for the first time this week. I am anxious to see how they will do.
With the somewhat cooler temperatures, I am now seeing many gardeners venturing outside and taking stock of the condition of their landscape. Fall is a busy time in the desert garden because it is the ideal time to install many types of plants, which will be discussed in a separate post in early October.
In the past when mid-September came, I would load up the truck with 100+ flats of annuals to plant around the community where I worked as the horticulturist. I would then spent the next four weeks making repeated trips to the nursery to replace dead plants that just could not handle the heat of early fall. From then on I would wait until October to change out summer annuals and replace with winter annuals. As a result, we suffered very little plant loss.
CITRUS: Make sure to fertilize your citrus trees if you have not already done so (see earlier post for details).
The blooming of my desert willow tree (Chilopsis linearis), is beginning to slow down. The leaves will fall in December. However, there were a few lovely pink flowers left.
I also love the multi-colored blooms of my lantana ‘Patriot Desert Sunset.’ They will soon stop blooming for the winter.
The vibrant colors of my red bird-of-paradise, (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) add vibrant color to my garden and nectar for hummingbirds.
In another month, many of these flowers will no longer be flowering, but until then, I’ll enjoy the view.