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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?

Fall in the garden is a time of celebration with plants enjoying the period after the heat of summer has bid goodbye and before the cold of winter arrives. 


This time of year is filled colorful blooming plants decorating our outdoor spaces.  In the past few weeks, the color purple has made its presence known in several gardens that I have visited recently.


If you love the color purple, here are some plants that you may want to include in your garden.

 
Black dalea (Dalea frutescens) saves its flowering for fall when violet flowers appear above its lacy foliage.
 
This Southwestern native is hardy to 15 degrees F. and does best in full sun.  Black dalea is underused in the landscape and deserves to be used more.
 
 
Desert ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis) is a shrub that I use it often for my client’s designs.  I love that it flowers throughout the year as well as its attractive foliage.
 
A native of Mexico, this shrub does best in full sun to partial shade and is hardy to zone 9 gardens.
 
 
Sometimes, parking lot medians can put on a spectacular show.  This blue ranger (Leucophyllum zygophyllum) begins blooming in summer but saves its best flowering for fall.
 
The gray foliage adds nice color contrast in the garden.  Hardy to 10 degrees, plant in full or reflected sun for maximum flowering.
 
 
One of the most beautiful purple blossoms belongs to the skyflower (Duranta erecta) shrub.  Delicate purple flowers are arrayed on graceful arching stems.
 
Hardy to 20 degrees, skyflower blooms spring through fall.  
 
 
Last week, while I was doing a landscape consultation, my attention was drawn to a beautiful blue potato bush (Lycianthies rantonnetti) blooming in the front yard.
 
 
The vibrant purple flowers contrasted beautifully with the bright green foliage.  This shrub is hardy to zone 9 gardens.
 
 
Finally, let’s look at the generous blooms of purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis).  This lantana groundcover blooms spring through fall and needs very little care other than pruning once or twice a year.
 
Hardy to 20 degrees, this lantana grows in full sun or partial shade.  
 
I hope that you have enjoyed this tour of purple autumn blooms.  
 
What is flowering this fall in your garden?

Okay, so how are you all doing in getting ready for the holidays?  Are you sipping apple cider in front of your Christmas tree and enjoying seeing all of the gifts you bought, already wrapped and ready for Christmas morning?

OR are still shopping and trying to find the perfect gift for that person who always seem to be so hard to buy for?  For me, my mother-in-law – who I love dearly by the way, is very hard to buy anything for.  But this year I do have a perfect gift – I made her a ………  (I had better not say.  She does not normally read my blog too often, but I don’t want to take any chances).

This year, I am done shopping –  as in finished and everything is wrapped.  Well…..all except for the two gifts that are in the mail and I hope get here before Christmas.  AND I have more baking to do this week.


But, I did not forget this month’s Garden Bouquet.  Okay, I almost did until I looked at the calendar this morning.  So after church, I took my clippers and went searching for flowers out in my front garden.


Even with our relatively mild winters, it is not always easy to find December flowers, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find more then a few.



I filled my Polish pottery jug with a combination of flowers from my Cascalote tree which is in full bloom right now.  In the front are the pretty daisy-like flowers from my Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata).  

In the middle are the dainty, purple flowers of my Trailing Purple Lantana (Lantana montevidensis).  Now normally my Lantana is somewhat brown and crispy due to being affected by our occasional freezing temperatures.  But this year, I covered them and I am really glad I did because they look great out in the garden with not much else in bloom.

I had a bit of trouble figuring out where to take a picture of my bouquet because there is a lot of brown in my garden (as in my dormant bermuda grass lawn).  But there is an area in the garden with is absolutely beautiful and green….my vegetable garden.



I think it made a great backdrop, don’t you?  

I can see my carrot tops, spinach as well as my companion plants – the nasturtiums and marigolds which have done a great job at repelling bad bugs away.

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Now for my delicious treat……

I love to bake and I do keep it simple but delicious.  I do get quite a few requests for my recipes and thought that I would share some with you from time to time.


Yesterday my daughter, Gracie and I made pumpkin bread.  

If you would like to see the fruits of our labors and get the recipe, please click here.


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Okay, now back to December’s Monthly Garden Bouquet.  I realize that it can be a bit challenging to do during the winter months, but that is where creativity comes in.

Maybe you have some dried seedheads, which would make a beautiful bouquet.  

Or maybe you have some beautiful poinsettias or amaryllis.

I also think that a bouquet of evergreen foliage is beautiful.

If you would like to participate in this month’s MGB, here are the guidelines:
1. MGB begins on the 21st of each month and runs until the end of each month. Bouquets can be submitted during this time (or even later 🙂 
2. Create your own garden bouquet as fancy or simple as you like.
3. I would appreciate it if you would provide a link back to my post inside of your MGB post, but it is not required 🙂 
4. Add your link to Mr. Linky below and that’s it! 

It can be as simple or fancy as you like.  Each month, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with.