Tag Archive for: White Trailing Lantana

backyard desert garden with fall-blooming plants

Fall is my favorite time of year for two main reasons.

First, it signals the beginning of the holiday season. And yes, I am one of those people who decorate for Christmas early. Thanksgiving dinner at my house is celebrated with a fully decorated tree in the background.

Secondly, fall is a time when my garden comes alive again. I don’t have to tell you that summer is a stressful season for plants. But the lower temperatures of fall bring about changes to your plants.

You may have noticed that your plants look healthier than they did in summer. This is why gardeners in the desert often refer to autumn as our ‘second spring.’

Here are some of the differences you may see in your plants this time of year:

  • Darker foliage has replaced the sun-bleached appearance of some plants due to less intense sunlight.
  • Flowering increases and the blooms may also appear more intense in color due to less intensity from the sun.
  • Some plants only bloom in fall, like black dalea (Dalea frutescens), cascalote (Caesalpinia cacalaco), and my favorite pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris).

In the section of my backyard, pictured above, pink muhly and white trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis ‘Alba’) look especially vibrant in fall.

Pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana) dominates the back corner and blooms in spring and fall. I always know when cooler temps are on their way when they begin to bloom in September.

However, as autumn transitions into winter, the blooms in this area will slow and fade. A few hardy blooms may remain, but overall, the plants will slow down in their growth and flowering. The exception is my angelita daisies (Tetraneuris acaulis) which will bloom off and on through winter.

I invite you to take a walk through your garden and note the changes to your plants. This is a happy time of year in the garden!

plant sales

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.

local plant sales

Earlier this month, I was a special guest expert at a local plant sales 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.

plant sales (Phoenix Public Library)

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!

plant sales (cool-season plants)

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?

November Blooms

I came upon this group of containers yesterday.  

uncontrolled plants

Pretty uncontrolled plants, huh?

Well, hidden underneath all the plants are actually 4 containers.

AND

they are all mine…..

I know, I know.

How could I have let things get so out of control?

Well, life sometimes gets a bit crazy and other then watering my pots, they didn’t get any other attention this summer.

I didn’t go out of my way to plant colorful annuals this past spring, opting instead for perennials.

uncontrolled plants

My Sweet Potato Vine did wonderfully despite being neglected.  It is a newer variety called ‘Pink Frost’ (Ipomea batatas ‘Pink Frost’).

container plants

A single Vinca flower pushes its way through the other plants.  I planted Vinca for my father-in-law, in his garden, this summer before he passed away in September.  He gave me his leftover plants, which I threw in one of my containers.

Purple Trailing Lantana

Purple Trailing Lantana is spilling over and has reached the ground because I never pruned it back.

container plants

I also planted White Trailing Lantana, which is mixed in with my Sweet Potato Vine.

Now I must admit, that my container plants are usually better maintained.  But under the circumstances, I think that they did great considering that all I did was water them.

Believe it or not, I used to be in charge of hundreds of of container plants every year (usually annuals).  They had to look perfect because they were in high profile areas.

You certainly wouldn’t know it looking at my own containers right now would you?

I sometimes describe myself as more of a “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of horticulturist at times ๐Ÿ˜‰

For those of you who maybe can’t stand my messy containers, don’t worry.  I have plans for ripping out some of the plants, some pruning and some new additions.

I’ll show you what I did next time ๐Ÿ™‚

**********************

My daughter and her husband came over tonight for dinner.  She is definitely ready to ‘pop’.  I remember being so anxious for her to be born (she was 5 days late).

I think it is even harder now, waiting for my first grandchild to be born.

ONE more day until her due date!

I wonder if her baby knows that ๐Ÿ˜‰