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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?

Do you ever find yourself wishing that you had flowers to give to a friend or to decorate your table?


Instead of heading out to the store for a generic bouquet, how about creating a lovely bouquet straight from your garden?


Now before you say that you don’t have any flowers suitable for a bouquet, think again.  


Here are several bouquets from my garden and a few from the family farm….


Isn’t this a lovely arrangement?

Believe it or not, the flowers in these vases all came from plants that many of you probably have in your own garden.

My mother created this arrangement using gold lantana (Lantana ‘New Gold Mound’), orange jubilee (Tecoma x Orange Jubilee) and Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) flowers.  As you can see, it is beautiful, didn’t cost her anything and took minutes to create.


This is a bouquet that I created using flowers from my late winter garden.  Pink and white globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) coupled with Goodding’s verbena (Glandularia gooddingii) are a vision of pinks and purples.


I used a small pitcher to put cuttings of purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis), angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) and flowers from my cascalote tree (Caesalpinia cacalaco).


This antique milk of magnesia glass jar makes the perfect vase for sweet white alyssum (Lobularia maritima) , purple violas and pink bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides) flowers.


Flowers aren’t the only thing from the garden that you can use to create a bouquet with.  

A mason jar filled with cut branches from a kumquat tree looks lovely on this table in winter.


Maybe your winter garden has no flowers.  Well, don’t let that stop you.  A small vase filled with seedpods and dried leaves from a Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) looks great on my mother’s diningroom table.


Perhaps you’ve never thought that petunias could look be used in a vase.  But, if you use a small, shallow bowl, they can add a beautiful spot of color on your table.


Of course, roses always make a lovely bouquet.

Bouquets created from items in your garden are a great way to add a personal touch of beauty to your space.

So, are you inspired to create your own unique garden bouquet?  Step outside in your garden and take a new look at your plants – you’ll probably be surprised at how many would look nice in a vase.

**How about you?  What plants would you use to create a bouquet with?

I have been enjoying the weather very much this June.  Now for those of you who do not live in the desert, this is not a ‘normal’ statement.  June is a month that is spent indoors, hibernating with the air-conditioning and looking outside at the garden.

But, we have had a cooler then normal June so far.  Saturday’s temperature was 17 degrees below normal.  I was looking forward to this day because I had planned to spend time pruning and weeding.  As I worked outside, the breeze felt cool…..again, NOT normal for this time of year.

Today, the temperatures are about normal for this time of year and I did venture outside to get some work done in my vegetable garden, but once the clock hits 10:00, I tend to go back inside.

Even though it is hot outside in June, there is a riot of color in the garden.  This is normal for this time of year.  So, many desert residents spend their time indoors, viewing the beauty of their gardens through the windows 🙂

 This is my first time growing sunflowers.
They look so pretty in my vegetable garden.

My Bougainvillea is absolutely glorious this time of year.

Pink Bower Vine lines the front entry to my house.
They thrive in the afternoon sun.
Gold Lantana also lines the walk up to my front entry.
I love their bright blooms.
Warm summer temperatures are perfect for my Texas Sage shrubs.
Their purple blooms will come and go through the fall months.
Orange Jubilee takes center stage in my side yard.  
I love the lush green foliage, but the flowers are my favorite part.
A relative of Orange Jubilee, is my Yellow Bells shrub. 
 It is covered in yellow blossoms, which brighten an otherwise boring expanse of a brick wall.
My last submission, Radiation Lantana.
Blooms appear March through November…..I am so blessed!
Please visit May Dream Gardens for more GBBD posts.  I love seeing what is blooming around the world.
On another note, life since my son’s surgery has been busier then usual.  Whereas I used to blog 6 times a week, I now feel accomplished if I write 3.  But, I don’t feel too badly about it.  I am enjoying my time with my son, who is wheelchair bound for at least 3 more weeks.
We play cards, watch movies, read books together.  He also has fun playing with his army men, Wii, his Legos and reading books on his own.  We suffered a little bit of a setback yesterday.  Kai was signed up for our church’s Vacation Bible School this week and my husband went with him to help out.  Unfortunately, there was too much physical activity that Kai could not participate in and he was often left on the sidelines.  He hip was also bothering him with the extra activities that he could participate in, so we spoke to him and agreed to not continue with VBS this year.   
The great news is that Kai will start physical therapy in 3 weeks, which means that he can start putting weight on his leg 🙂  Right now though, we are busy keeping him happy when all he can do is sit and lie down.
I am so thankful for the comments that I continue to receive.  I apologize that I have not had the time to respond as much as I would like too.  But, I am trying my best to carve out a little time each day to visit all of you and leave a little note 🙂

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!