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Tangerine Crossvine
Vines are a wonderful way to decorate vertical surfaces with lovely shades of green as well as colorful flowers.

Queen’s Wreath

This is especially valuable in southwestern gardens where vines can help moderate the heat that re-radiates from a wall or used to create filtered shade when they are grown up on a pergola or patio roof.

Pink Bower Vine

I have grown several types of vines during my years living and gardening in the desert southwest and have shared my 10 favorite vines in my latest article for Houzz.


Do you have a favorite vine?

After a record-setting February, I think that it’s safe to say that spring has officially arrived.  Plants are waking up a bit early with flower buds bursting forth with glorious blooms.


‘Sierra Star’ Fairy Duster (Calliandra ‘Sierra Star’)

Of course, an early spring means that people are anxious to get out in the garden.  I always say that spring for horticulturists is like tax season for accountants as we get very busy helping others with their gardens.

This has certainly been true for me the past couple of weeks.  Staying up until 1 a.m. in the morning and then up early the next morning for the next appointment and afternoons spent designing landscapes and writing articles – I can hardly see straight at the end of the day.

I thought that I would give you a snapshot of the past 10 days.


It all started with an early morning meeting with a landscape committee regarding adding come color to the entry areas of a community.  An hour later, I was standing in the middle of a busy street, dodging traffic while taking multiple photographs of sixteen different corner landscapes.

Cereus peruvianus with golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Later that morning, I met with some clients who had a lovely home and a landscape with ‘good bones’, but that needed some more color according to the clients.

Ironwood tree (Olneya tesota)

The property was situated along a golf course and had lovely specimen trees that offered welcome filtered shade.

Fragrant flowers of Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

As I walked around the landscape taking photographs for my report, I took some time to stop and smell the fragrant blossoms of their Texas mountain laurel, which smelled like grape candy.

Pink bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides)

The next day, I visited a family who needed help redesigning their backyard.  However, as I approached the front door, my attention was caught by the beautiful pink bower vine that was blooming in the courtyard.

I spent that Wednesday working on designs and reports.

The next day, I visited a lovely ranch style home.  The backyard was wall-to-wall grass and the homeowner wanted to create a border around the entire yard filled with flowering shrubs and perennials.

‘Heavenly Cloud’ sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Heavenly Cloud’), yellow bells (Tecoma stans stans) and bougainvillea in my backyard.

As a flower type of girl myself, this was a fun design to get to work on.  I created a plant palette that included white and pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri)purple lilac vine (Hardenbergia violaceae)tufted evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa), firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana), and angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) among others to ensure year round blooms.


Friday found me at a beautiful home in the foothills where the client had recently moved in.  She wanted help adding more color as well as symmetry to the landscape.  This was a large project that was split up into four separate designs/reports.


Saturday morning was spent attending the SRP Water Expo, where I bought my discounted Smart Irrigation Controller.  


There were numerous displays, each with a focus on saving water in the landscape.  

I saw many people I knew and walked away with my new irrigation controller, which will save water in my landscape.  You can learn more about this controller and the Expo here.


After such a busy week, I indulged myself with getting a pedicure 🙂

This week was spent working on creating designs and reports for all of my consults the week before.   I did have a few appointments, one of which, involved issues with problems with the turf areas in HOA common areas during which, I spotted more suspected cases of oleander leaf scorch.


This area of Phoenix is seeing a lot of cases of this bacterial disease for which there is no known cure.  Affected oleanders typically die within 3 – 4 years from when they first show symptoms.

Gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida) and Parry’s penstemon (Penstemon parryi) in my front garden.


At home, my own landscape is having some work done.  Our 15-year-old drip irrigation system is being replaced.  The typical life span of a drip irrigation system is typically 10 – 15 years, so when ours started developing leaks and the valves also began to leak, we knew it was time.  So, my garden currently has trenches running through it with PVC pipe everywhere.  It will be nice to have it finished and working soon.

On another note, my little grandson, Eric, is now 13 months old.  He is a bright ray of sunshine in my life and helps me to keep life in perspective when the busyness of life threatens to overwhelm me.  


I am so blessed to have a front row seat as he is learning and discovering the world around him.  

I think he would like his own pair of cowboy boots, don’t you?

Welcome to my first Fertilizer Friday.  On this day, I am so excited to get to show you what is flowering out in my garden.
 
We have had unusually cool weather these past few days and some rain.  In the desert, we almost always welcome the rain, which will soon be gone for a few months until the summer rains begin.

 Pink Beauty (Eremophila laanii)


 Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans)

Even though the flowers are not red or purple, the hummingbirds love to visit the yellow flowers of my Yellow Bells.
 
 Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)

I have had to prune back most of my Firecracker Penstemon a week ago, but should get a second flush of bloom soon.  This flower is one of the few that I have peeking out.
 
Pink Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides)
I have two Pink Bower Vines that line either side of the entry to my house.  They bloom most of the year, but slow down somewhat during the heat of the summer.
  
Goodding’s Verbena (Glandularia gooddinggii)
My Verbena has been blooming nonstop for two months.  She has been kind enough to have self seeded in order to give me two new plants as well.
  
 Bougainvillea
My Bougainvillea are beginning to produce their colorful brachts again.  The actual flower of the Bougainvillea is not the colorful outer leaves (brachts), but actually the tiny cream colored flower in the center.
My last contribution to my first Fertilizer Friday is the first few flowers of my Orange Jubilee shrub.  I love how tall this shrub grows, it’s lush green foliage and of course the pretty orange flowers.
 
 Orange Jubilee (Tecoma x ‘Orange Jubilee’)

I have enjoyed participating in my first Fertilizer Friday, which is the creation of Tootsie Time.  Please visit her to see what is blooming in other gardens today.
**By the way….my youngest daughter has a surprise that she would like to share with you all tomorrow.  It is kind of gross right now, but will end up just beautiful in the end. 

I am so happy it is Friday!

The weather has warmed into the low 70’s this week and the flowers are beginning to burst out of their buds….

 Pink Beauty (Eremophily laanii)
 The first few blooms are beginning to appear on this Australian native.
Grows up to 6 ft. high and blooms spring through fall.
Desert Senna (Senna artemisiodes sturtii)
Another of my Australian favorites and are drought tolerant and extremely easy to grow.
Grows up to 6 ft. high and flowers in the spring. 

 
Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii)
This Southwest Desert native has reached full bloom, causing hummingbirds to eagerly drink of it’s nectar.
Grows up to 2 ft. high, when flowering.  Blooms winter through spring (removing spent flowers, will cause more blooms to form and prolong the flowering period).
 
‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde (Parkinsonia hybrid ‘Desert Museum’)
It’s early, but the first few blooms on my Palo Verde tree are starting to appear.  
This beautiful tree grows approximately 30 ft. high and wide.  In late spring, the tree will be a mass of beautiful yellow flowers.
 
 Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides)
This blossom is ready to open and join it’s neighbors and reveal its magenta heart.
Grows on a trellis for support and blooms fall through spring in the desert. 

Purple Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violaceae)
My second favorite Australian native, is in full bloom and is buzzing with bees.
Grows on a trellis or as a groundcover.  Blooms in February. 

 
Violas and Alyssum
My annuals have bloomed non-stop all winter and show no signs of quitting any time soon.
 
Valentine (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)
My favorite Australian native who is aptly named for the time of year when it reaches full bloom.
Grows approximately 3 ft. high and wide.  Blooms December through April.
This is my monthly contribution to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, which occurs on the 15th of each month.  Please visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming in other gardens around the world.