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If I had to pick the busiest month of the year, it would be November.

Life is filled with the kid’s school activities, plant sales, speaking engagements, and a lot of WORK helping people update their outdoor spaces. But, is also a time where my garden is reveling in the cooler temperatures of fall and I start to make some tweaks to it. I love the quote, “That a garden is never finished” and that is certainly true of mine, hence the little green flags indicating new plants that need irrigation run to them.

Earlier this month, I was a special guest expert at a local plant sale that raises money for community services. I enjoyed coming up with creative combinations for those who were shopping and answering their questions about the best exposure for the different plants offered for sale.

A few days later, it was all about creative container gardening as I spoke to a group of interested gardeners at a local branch of the Phoenix Public Library. While I like to talk about gardening to groups, there is always a little fear before it begins when you stare at a sea of empty seats and pray that they will be at least half filled by the time it starts. I must say that I was thrilled when they had to bring in extra chairs for my talk. Yeah!

Fall is my favorite time of year in the garden when the summer bloomers are still producing colorful flowers and my cool-season plants are beginning to show off as well. 

You know what else I like about November? It means that Christmas is just around corner! I wonder how early I can get away with putting up Christmas decorations?

Do you like puppies, iPhones and plants?


If so, then this should be a fun post. If you have an android phone, you will like at least two of the ‘P’s’.


Okay, the first ‘P’ stands for ‘puppy’….



Meet the newest addition to our furry family.

This is Polly.  She is an English Labrador Retriever. 

We have been waiting 7 long weeks to be able to bring her home.  She is fearless, friendly and very playful.

We bought her from the same breeder as our black English Labrador Retriever dog, Penny, who joined our family last year.


So, they are already sisters.  Both dogs share the same father.

Penny has been such a joy in our lives and we decided to add another.


Polly was excited to meet her big sister, Penny.  But, Penny was scared of her little sister and ran off with her tail between her legs 😉

She is gradually beginning to warm up to her new little sister though.  For her part, Polly isn’t the least bit scared of her big sister.


Like most puppies, most of her day is spent sleeping and cuddling with us.


Polly joins Penny and our two rescue dogs, Tobey and Max.

I’ll be sure to share more photos of Polly as she grows up.  I really want to take a picture of her and Penny side-by-side, but I’ll probably have to wait a while until Penny gets over being a big scaredy cat.

Crested Saguaro Ribs

The second ‘P’ stands for iPhone.  I took an iPhone photography class last weekend at the Desert Botanical Garden.  As a garden writer and blogger, I take a lot of pictures and while I have a nice DSLR camera – I don’t always have it with me, so I often use my iPhone for a lot my pictures.

Desert Garden Path
The class was very informative and taught me some great tips.  The best part of the class was being able to walk through the garden with our intructor and take pictures of all the beautiful plants and scenery.

Ramada made from natural desert materials.

It is really amazing what good photos you can take with your phone.

Monarch butterfly on lantana.

I was even able to get some close up pictures of monarch butterflies with my phone.

*If you have never taken a class from the Desert Botanical Garden (or your local botanical garden) – I strongly urge you too.  They have a large variety of classes and there is so much to learn about all kinds of things..

Okay, back to our list.  The last ‘P’ is about plants.

Do you know what is happening next weekend?  The Desert Botanical Garden’s fall plant sale!


I can hardly wait!  

I always encourage people, no matter where they live, to visit their local botanical garden’s plant sales because you can be assured that their plants are well adapted for your climate.  In addition, they often have hard to find plants and new color introductions of some old favorites.


Last time, they even had heirloom vegetable transplants for sale.

I wrote about my last visit this past spring, where I picked up three lovely plants, which you can view here.  

I am still in the market for a few more plants to fill in some bare spots in my landscape.  The plant sale runs next Saturday to Sunday.

I’ll be sure to share with you my findings!

Last weekend, my husband and I loaded up our two youngest kids into our truck and headed out to the Desert Botanical Garden’s spring plant sale.

My husband and kids wait patiently at the end of the agave aisle for me.
Now, it is always a dangerous situation whenever I find myself at a plant sale.  I am much like a small kid in a candy store as I am sorely tempted to buy more then my garden can fit.

The sale at the Desert Botanical Garden is huge.  There is so much to look at and see.  There are informative signs next to each grouping of plants with a photo and important details such as how much water they need, recommended exposure and how large they will become.

The main reason that I wanted to come to the sale was in order to keep up with the newest plant introductions and varieties so I could share them with you.

First, here are some familiar plants with unfamiliar colors that stood out to me:

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis ‘Aurea’)

Cape Honeysuckle is a popular landscape plant that has beautiful orange, tubular flowers.  The variety ‘Aurea’ has yellow flowers.
*Which color would you prefer in your garden – yellow or orange?

‘Brake Light’ Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Brake Light’)

Red Yucca is a very popular succulent with its succulent, grass-like foliage and coral-colored flowers that appear in spring and summer.  The variety ‘Brake Light’ has a deeper red flower, which I really like.

Polka Dot Prickly Pear (Opuntia microdasys ‘Albispina’)

The most common variety of this prickly pear has yellow ‘dots’ (glochids) and is often referred to as ‘Bunny Ears’.  The variety ‘Albispina’ had white ‘dots’.

Variegated Pink Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides ‘Variegata’)

I have a Pink Bower Vines growing on either side of my front entry.  I love their dark green leaves and pale pink flowers.  This variety that I saw at the plant sale and variegated foliage.  

Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’

I must admit that I was sorely tempted to purchase this agave.  The original was called ‘Whale’s Tongue’ and has a nice blue/gray color.  But, I really like the color of ‘Creme Brûlée’ better – it seems to ‘glow’.

 Purple Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Purple’)

Autumn Sage are some of my favorite plants to use in areas with filtered sunlight.  I never get tired of seeing hummingbirds visit their tubular flowers.  Most commonly found with red and pink flower colors, there are other varieties that produce white, salmon and of course, purple.

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So, what do you think about these different-colored varieties?  Are you a ‘traditionalist’ or are you a ‘trend-setter’?

I did end up purchasing one of the plants that I’ve shown you.  Next time, I will let you know what one I picked. 

I have much more to show you from the plant sale including some plants that you have never heard of, but that would be beautiful in your landscape – including my new favorite flowering shrub. 

So, come back for a visit, but be warned – you may end up being tempted into running out and buying one of the new plants I will be showing you.