May
31
0

Plant of the Month – June

Santolina,
Lavender Cotton

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Santolina is a small but mighty asset in drought-tolerant settings, making a sturdy and colorful hedge, border plant, groundcover, solitary specimen, or a beautiful addition to rock gardens, and herb or knot gardens.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 foot tall x 2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun – Part shade
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to Summer (May – August)
  • Native to: Mediterranean Basin
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

 

Santolina is a tiny powerhouse when it comes to useful, beautiful, drought-tolerant plants. This soft, gray-green plant grows tight and compact, and holds bright yellow, button-like flowers on tall stems high above the rounded plant in late spring and summer. The flowers are great in dried arrangements, wreaths, and crafts. Rub the finely-dissected leaves between your fingers to release the pungent fragrance, and imagine being in a Christmas tree farm with fresh-cut wreaths. Deer and rabbits avoid eating this plant. Santolina survives heat, poor soil, and infrequent watering, but must have well-draining soil, and can be killed by overwatering. Prune back to the ground in spring if it becomes sparse or leggy. Versatile as a small hedge, border plant, solitary specimen, or large-scale groundcover, especially as a sturdy soil-builder on problematic hillsides. Beautiful in rock and succulent gardens, herb and knot gardens, or massed by itself for dramatic effect.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for June

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May
1
0

Plant of the Month – May

Firecracker Penstemon,
Eaton’s Firecracker,
Scarlet Bugler

Penstemon eatonii

Firecracker Penstemon is a hummingbird magnet that is also prized by gardeners for its brilliant, abundant flowers.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2 feet tall and wide (flower stalks 2-4 feet tall)
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Late winter – spring (Feb – June)
  • Native to: S. California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

Firecracker Penstemon is irresistible to hummingbirds due to its nectar-filled, brilliant, scarlet flowers. It is among the first to bloom in spring, providing an early-season nectar source for hummingbirds. This low-growing, shrubby perennial produces a mound of rich, dark green leaves from which tall stalks of flowers emerge, the tubular flowers usually hanging to one side of the inflorescence. Grows best in well-drained soil with full sun, as shade can cause plants to sprawl. Overwatering may cause the plant to rot. Harvest the flowering spikes in summer when seed capsules are dry to scatter seeds to start new plants. The basal rosette of leaves will remain attractive year-round. Plant in masses for a stunning display (and to drive hummingbirds crazy), or as accents against cacti, boulders, or rock walls.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for May

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 May Garden Tasks

Due to warmer weather, it is best to water during the early morning and late evening hours to reduce evaporation.

Due to warmer weather, it is best to water during the early morning and late evening hours to reduce evaporation.


Rising temperatures cause changes in plants…prepare for summer!

 

~ Change watering schedule from mid-day to early morning or evening as weather heats up to minimize loss through evaporation.

~ Maintain a good mulch of organic matter (such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood) covering garden soil throughout the summer to hold in moisture, moderate soil temperatures for optimum root growth, improve the soil as it decomposes, and prevent weeds from germinating. Mulch allows you to water less often (but still deeply). Keep mulch several inches away from tree trunks and plant stems for good air circulation.

~ Remove spent flowers from annuals, perennials, and shrubs—unless you want to collect seeds (such as from Penstemons); “deadheading” old flowers stimulates repeat blooming.

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches.

~ Encourage your plants’ roots to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for May

 

 

 

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 April Garden Tasks

    Color season is reaching its peak—spend time outside enjoying it!

 

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

~ Reset irrigation schedules and increase watering time as temperatures rise

~ Plant cold-tender perennials, preferably in pots so winter protection is easier

~ Transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from March to mid-April

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches

~ Keep mulch on the soil–especially with organic matter such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood–to temper the drying and heating effect of the sun; irrigation will be more effective with less frequency and quantity

~ Teach your plants to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

~ Check aphids on new growth; wash off with a strong jet of water

~ Continue pulling weeds before they form seed heads (if weeds are brown, you waited too long); you’ll have fewer weed problems later. Remember that weeds need disturbed soil to prosper; if you disturb soils with a hoe to remove weeds, you are cultivating the perfect bed for next year’s weeds. Instead, pull weeds by hand to minimize soil disturbance, or mow weeds before seeds form, then cover with mulch to prevent next year’s weed crop from forming. If you don’t have enough mulch to cover all your weeds, mow repeatedly during the spring growth season often enough to remove flowers before seeds develop. After just a season or two, you will greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for weeding.

 

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for April

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Mar
31
0

Plant of the Month – April

Warley Rose Rockrose

Cistus x crispatus ‘Warley Rose’

This spreading groundcover gets rave reviews from gardeners for its brilliant flowers and for its tolerance of heat, drought, cold, and poor soils.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 1 – 2 feet tall  x 5 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Apr – June)
  • Native to: Mediterranean region
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F

Warley Rose Rockrose will dazzle you with bright pink, crepe-paperlike flowers with golden, fuzz-ball centers that adorn its deep green, crinkled foliage. This low, mounded, evergreen shrub is named for its preferred native habitat of rocky, relatively poor soil on scrubby hillsides in Mediterranean Europe, and is perfect for sunny, dry, hot situations. Like all rockroses, it is a very drought resistant, sturdy plant that requires little maintenance, shuns fertilizer, and doesn’t like too much summer water. Prune lightly to shape after flowering, but don’t cut into wood, as it may not resprout. Warley Rose Rockrose thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, and is a great groundcover, border edging, or rock garden plant. Works well in containers. As a bank cover, this spreading plant helps control erosion.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for April

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White Evening Primrose,
Tufted Evening Primrose

Oenothera caespitosa

This lush desert groundcover is surprisingly drought-tolerant due to its deep roots. It’s large, beautiful flowers attract pollinators all night, then say goodbye each day with a fading pink farewell.

  • Plant Form: Evergreen groundcover
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 6 – 12 inches tall  x 2 – 3 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full or filtered sun
  • Bloom Time: On & off all year; most prolific in Spring, Summer, Fall (Apr – Sept)
  • Native to: Western U.S. and Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

White Evening Primrose creates masses of fragrant, four-inch wide, snow-white flowers each evening that attract night-flying pollinators like hawk moths. Throughout the next day, we can enjoy each one-day flower that opened at dusk as it ages from white to pink before closing in the heat of day. Plants form a rosette of large, fuzzy, dark-green leaves. While short lived (usually three years), this plant is fast-growing, and easily reseeds. Replace when plants begin to decline or die out. White Evening Primrose requires excellent soil drainage and a little supplemental water in summer, but too much summer water will kill it. Trim off dead leaves and seedpods. This southwest beauty makes a delightful border flower in small spaces, entryways, and patios, and offers a colorful accent in rock gardens.

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