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flowering perennial firecracker penstemon
flowering perennial firecracker penstemon

Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatoni)

Have you ever noticed that spring has a way of surprising you in the garden? That is indeed the thought that I had earlier this week as I walked through my front landscape.

After spending a week visiting my daughter in cold, wintery Michigan, I was anxious to return home and see what effects that a week of warm temperatures had done – I wasn’t disappointed.

I want to take you on a tour of my spring garden. Are you ready?

pink blooming Parry's penstemon

Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi)

Penstemons play a large part in late winter and spring interest in the desert landscape, and I look forward to their flowering spikes.

flowering echinopsis Ember

Echinopsis hybrid ‘Ember’

One of the most dramatic blooms that grace my front garden are those of my Echinopsis hybrid cactuses. I have a variety of different types, each with their flower color. This year, ‘Ember’ was the first one to flower and there are several more buds on it.

blue flowering shrubby gerrymander

Shrubby Germander (Teucrium fruiticans)

Moving to the backyard, the gray-blue foliage of the shrubby germander is transformed by the electric blue shade of the flowers. This smaller shrub began blooming in the middle of winter and will through spring.

Calliandra red powder puff shrub

Red Powder Puff (Calliandra haematocephala)

This unique shrub was a purchase that I made several years ago at the Desert Botanical Garden‘s spring plant sale. If you are looking for unusual plants that aren’t often found at your local nursery, this is the place to go. This is a lush green, tropical shrub that is related to the more common Baja Fairy Duster. However, it only flowers in spring and has sizeable red puff-ball flowers. It does best in east-facing exposures.

flowering annuals Callibrochoa

Million Bells (Calibrachoa)

I am trialing a new self-watering hanging container that was sent to me free of charge by H20 Labor Saver for my honest review. I must say that I am very impressed. Growing plants in hanging containers is difficult in the desert garden as they dry out very quickly. But, this is a self-watering container, which has a reservoir that you fill, allowing me to have to water it much less often.

In the container, I have Million Bells growing, which are like miniature petunias. They are cool-season annuals that grow fall, winter, and spring in the desert garden.

severely pruned yellow bells

Yellow Bells recently pruned

Not all of my plants are flowering. My yellow bells shrubs have been pruned back severely, which I do every year, and are now growing again. This type of severe pruning keeps them lush and compact, and they will grow up to 6-feet tall within a few months.

onions arizona vegetable garden

Onions growing in my vegetable garden

This past fall, my daughters took over the vegetable garden. I must admit that it was fun to watch them decide what to grow and guide them in learning how to grow vegetables. They are already enjoying the fruits of their labor and onions will soon be ready to be harvested.

blossom of meyer lemon

Meyer Lemon blossom

My Meyer lemon tree hasn’t performed very well for me and has produced very little fruit in the four years since I planted it. I realized that it wasn’t getting enough water, so I corrected that problem, and it is covered in blossoms – I am so excited!

fragrant chocolate flower

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata)

Moving to the side garden, chocolate flower adds delicious fragrance at the entry to my cut flower garden. It does well in full sun and flowers off and on throughout the warm season.

purple flowering verbena

Verbena in bloom

In the cut flower garden, my roses are growing back from their severe winter pruning. Although the roses aren’t in bloom yet, my California native verbena is. This is a plant that I bought at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden – I don’t remember the exact name, but it does great in my garden.

ripening peaches

Young peaches

I have some fruit trees growing in the side garden including peaches! I can just imagine how delicious these will taste in May once they are ripe!

flowers of apple tree

Apple tree blossoms

While the peaches are already forming, my apple trees are a few weeks behind and are still flowering. It surprises people that you can grow apple trees in the desert garden and they will ripen in June – apple pie, anyone?

I hope that you have enjoyed this tour of my spring garden. All of these plants are bringing me joy.

*What is growing in your garden this spring that brings you joy?

Isn’t this flower beautiful?

You may be surprised that a vegetable produced this flower.
This is the flower from a onion plant.

You would expect that the onion plant that produced this flower would be equally impressive, like the one in the picture above.

But sadly, the onion that created the flower in the top photo looked more like this when I pulled it out…


Kind of disappointing, isn’t it?

This was the first time that I tried growing regular onions in the garden.  I have had a lot of success with green onions, but evidently, my white onions need some help.

While there are only about two onions worth eating, I can chop the greens of my ‘reject’ onions and use them in the same way one would use green onions (scallions).  They have a mild, oniony flavor.

Every time that I try some thing new in the garden, I learn something.

I have learned since then that many of my fellow area gardeners, have had similar disappointments when growing bulb onions.  

However, there is one variety that many have told me they have had some good results growing.  It is called ‘Texas Sweet’.

So, next fall, I will be growing ‘Texas Sweet’ onions.


In the meantime, I will keep my remaining onions in the ground and enjoy their beautiful flowers.


**Check back soon for a fabulous giveaway that I will be doing where you can win a great TroyBilt tool that has many uses.  I have been having so much fun with mine.  

*********************

I haven’t mentioned how my daughter, Rachele, has been doing while in basic training for the Navy.

It has been much harder than she expected.  She has had some injuries to deal with and a cold that has been present much of her time in basic training.

She has been homesick, but as her time in basic training has progressed, we sense her toughness and determination to get through.

On the home front, the first few weeks were very hard because we missed her so much.  But, as time passed, we have adjusted to her absence although we miss her terribly.

What has been so hard is the fact that our main way of communicating with her is by letter.  She only gets to send us one letter a week.

Phone calls are sporadic and you never know when they will come.  It has been 3 weeks since we last talked to her on the phone.

I cannot wait for her to graduate from basic training and will be flying out to Chicago soon to see her become a sailor.  We will have one day with her before she flies out to her ‘school’ where she will learn her specialty.  

Please keep her in your prayers as she is going through her last tests that she must pass.

Thank you!