Does the idea of having to venture outside, when temperatures are above 100 degrees, to care for your garden have you thinking twice? I must admit that there have been times when I have let the plants in my landscape fend for themselves in summer after setting the irrigation controller. But, there is often a price to pay afterward when you have to play catch up with extra pruning and other maintenance.
There are however many different plants that thrive in summer with little fuss allowing you to enjoy the comforts of your air-conditioned home while viewing your beautiful garden through the windows. Here are some of my favorite fuss-free plants for the summer garden.
Mexican honeysuckle has lush green foliage and produces tubular orange flowers throughout the entire year. They do best in filtered shade and attract hummingbirds. I like to plant them underneath trees such as mesquite or palo verde.
Learn more about Mexican honeysuckle.
Artichoke agave is highly prized for its rosette shape, and it’s easy to see where it got its name. The blue-gray color and maroon edges add great color contrast to the garden when it is placed alongside plants with dark and light-green foliage.
Of course, these are but one species of agave that would make a delightful, fuss-free addition to the summer garden. I also recommend cow’s horn agave (Agave bovicornuta), smooth-edge agave (Agave desmettiana), and Victoria agave (Agave victoria–reginae) to name a few.
‘Summertime Blue’ is a delightful shrub that needs next to no maintenance throughout the year and decorates the garden with its bright green foliage and violet-blue flowers that appear spring through fall. It grows slowly but will reach approximately 6 feet tall and wide. If given enough room, it can go a year (or two) before needing pruning. While you may have to look around for a nursery that carries it, it’s well worth the effort. It is also usually found at the Desert Botanical Garden’s spring and fall plant sales.
Lady’s Slipper is a uniquely shaped succulent with thornless stems that have a ‘Medusa-like’ growth habit that is more pronounced in light shade. The upright stems add a welcome vertical element to the landscape, and small orange flowers are produced off and on through spring and fall. They can be grown in containers or planted in the ground and do well in full sun or light shade.
Bush lantana is a familiar sight to many who live in arid climates like ours. This species of lantana is slightly different than the trailing gold and purple lantana. It has larger leaves, grows taller, and has multi-colored flowers that vary according to the variety. Bush lantana is a great choice for a colorful summer garden as they are seemingly heat-proof.
Totem Pole ‘Monstrosus’ (Lophocereus schottii ‘Monstrosus’)
Totem pole ‘Monstrosus’ has become quite a popular addition to the desert garden and it’s easy to see why with its knobby shape. Another bonus is that they are almost always thornless, which makes them suitable for areas near entries or patios where a prickly cactus aren’t welcome. Plant in full sun in a row for a contemporary look or place next to a boulder for a more natural appearance.
Learn more about totem pole cactus.
‘Heavenly Cloud’ Texas sage is well worth adding to your landscape for its lovely purple blossoms that appear off and on throughout the warm season, often in response to increased humidity. All species of Texas sage do well in summer and can be nearly maintenance-free if allowed enough room to reach their 8 foot tall and wide size as well as left to grow into their natural shape. This particular species blooms more than the more common ‘Green Cloud’ Texas sage.
Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
Golden barrel cactus are wildly popular, and it is easy to see why with the globular shapes and yellow coloring. This cactus is quite versatile, able to grow in both sun and light shade. I like to use it in groups of three next to boulders or in a row. They also do well in containers planted singly or along with other succulents.
Learn more about golden barrel cactus.
|Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri)|
|Trailing Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’)|
|Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)|
|Newly-planted red yucca|
Do you like red yucca (Hesperaloe parvifolia)?
In honor of Halloween, I thought that I would do a ‘scary’ post for all of you.
Now, this post isn’t filled with ghouls, witches, skeletons or zombies. But that doesn’t make it any less scary.
Over the years, I have photographed examples of truly horrific pruning, which are quite scary 😉
WARNING: The following images are not for the faint of heart…
This past week, I have been sharing with you my latest landscape project that is located next to a golf course.
I shared with you the tree and shrubs that I had chosen and not it’s time to show you what perennials and succulents that will be going in.
*All the following perennials are drought tolerant and require full sun with well-drained soil.
|Newly planted landscape with Purple Trailing Lantana, Parry’s Penstemon, Desert Spoon, Palo Blanco trees and Damianita.|
When you pair beauty and low-maintenance in a single type of plant – that is one that I highly recommend.
Earlier this week, I was doing a landscape consult with a client who had multiple Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) plants throughout his garden and I was reminded again, how much I enjoy this succulent plant.
I’d love to share with you just a few of the many reasons to add red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) to your landscape…
Don’t prune the foliage like the homeowner did in the photo above – why create more maintenance then is needed? Especially when it results in turning an attractive plant ‘ugly’?
The other day, I was driving home from a landscape consult and as usual – I was on the lookout for examples of good and bad landscaping.
This particular day, I saw some great examples that I would love to share with you.
First the good…
You can really tell the difference when you see the photo below from the house next door – which is a bad example by the way…
Some daughter-in-law’s don’t have much in common with their father-in-law.
In my case, when I married my husband 25 years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would have any shared interests with my father-in-law…..he was a dentist (I was deathly afraid of dentists), he ran 3 miles a day (I got a ‘stitch’ in my side if I tried running to the corner), he was very orderly and meticulous (I am neither of those things) and he was soft spoken (while I can be a bit loud).
I knew he loved me and I him, but sometimes conversation would lag because besides the kids and family, there wasn’t much else to talk about.
That is until I started to become interested in plants and landscaping. You see, my father-in-law always had well-designed landscapes filled with beautiful plants. As I decided to pursue a degree in Urban Horticulture, he was very supportive.
|Goodding’s Verbena (Glandularia gooddingi)|
|Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)|
|Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)|
|Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)|
|Purple Prickly Pear (Opuntia violaceae)|
|‘Torch Glow’ Bougainvillea|
|Phoenix Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima ‘Phoenix’)|
|‘Rio Bravo’ Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’)|
|Mexican Fence Post (Pachycereus marginatus)|
So, have you seen any pruning disasters lately? I seem to be seeing quite a few….
I love taking walks in the spring outdoors. All too soon, summer will be here and walks will have to happen in the early morning hours before the heat of the day arrives. I suppose that I could always take a walk inside of our local air-conditioned mall, but I think that would get expensive after a while, don’t you?
Besides, I would miss the natural beauty outdoors….
So, let us continue our walk with my husband and my two twin nephews – Danny and Dean….