Plant of the Month

White Sagebrush, Silver Wormwood
Artemisia ludoviciana

  • Plant Form: Evergreen sub-shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall x 3-4 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (July-Aug), Fall (Sept)
  • Native to: North America
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to <0°F

White Sagebrush spreads to fill in those bare spaces between shrubs while providing a silvery contrast to darker green plants around it. This North American native groundcover is extremely hardy, tolerating poor soils, heat, and drought.

White Sagebrush is grown for its beautiful silver-white foliage. This attractive groundcover’s native range extends from Canada to Mexico. It spreads by underground stems (rhizomes) to create a bushy clump. Although its small yellow flowers are inconspicuous, its silvery, felt-covered foliage is valued to complement neighboring green foliage and is useful in cut flower arrangements or in dried arrangements (dry stems first by hanging upside-down in a dark room). The crushed leaves are wonderfully aromatic, and are resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits. This fast-spreading plant combines well with almost everything, but if it spreads beyond your wishes, soil barriers can be used to keep it inside borders. Although this sage tolerates heat, drought, and poor soils, it does require well-drained soils. Shear plants to revitalize them. Use under roses and shrubs, in beds and containers, on slopes, and in butterfly, moonlight, cottage, herb, and rock gardens.


Check out our “Garden Tasks” for July 


The Desert Underground

Who would guess that anyone could say, with any credible authority, “Mushrooms can help save the world?” And even more preposterous, that in the desert, fungal threads that connect to plant roots combat global warming? Even though these statements sound like science fiction, we are finding that both are proving to be absolutely true. 

These concepts were at the forefront of the vision to create an artistic, visually compelling book that would transport readers along a graphic “tour” of the unseen desert beneath the soil surface. Robin’s new book, “The Desert Underground,” will lead you on a virtual tour of the hidden but magnificent world of microorganisms intertwined with roots that silently works under our feet every day.

“The Desert Underground” book reveals the amazing partnerships that connect every native plant underground across the landscape. Journey through the interlocking biological and geological systems that work together to create a surprising carbon sponge, helping to combat climate change wherever desert soils remain intact.

Come on a virtual tour of the desert’s surprising living soils under your feet. Join in this tour within the pages of “The Desert Underground” book by Robin Kobaly.
Sample page from “The Desert Underground”

Robin’s newest book was released at a special exhibit featuring “The Desert Underground” at the Joshua Tree National Park Art Expo at the 29 Palms Inn in September 2019. A series of large graphic displays, created with the original artwork presented in Robin’s book, led viewers along an illustrated tour through our desert soils, delving deeper and deeper into the underground. The exhibit was created by Robin Kobaly and was presented by The SummerTree Institute, an environmental education nonprofit, of which Robin is Executive Director.

Visitors take a virtual “tour” of the desert underground at the
Joshua Tree National Park Art Expo in fall 2019.

For more information about
The Desert Underground” book,
or to order your own copy,
visit www.summertree.org/the-desert-underground/.

Check out our other events and workshops!  


 July Garden Tasks

As temperatures climb, it becomes more important to check your irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

As temperatures climb, it becomes more important to check your irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.



Smart water-wise practices pay off now:


Climate-adapted plants + mulch + deep watering =

less water use + happy plants + a beautiful yard!



~ Check irrigation emitters, valves, and lines for clogs, leaks, and breaks.

~ Flush out lines by removing end caps with your water system on; sand or deposits that build up in lines can clog emitters.

~ If you water by hand, leave a dripping hose at the drip-line of trees and shrubs (at the outer edge of branches) to deeply soak soil once a month; set a timer to remind you to move hose to next plant.

~ Keep adding to mulches as they decompose to conserve water, keep roots cool, and reduce the frequency of watering.

~ Encourage repeat blooming by pinching or cutting back dead flowers on annuals, perennials and shrubs


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

California Native Landscaping

Enter the fascinating world of southwest desert plants

Through our series of workshops and classes, we invite you to enter into the captivating world of plants and their impressive uses. Experience the plants growing in your area’s natural community as you never have before…through taste, smell, touch, and stories.

Let us lead you through native gardens to witness the variety and beauty of native plants available to gardeners throughout the southwestern United States. Join us in exploring the ancient and modern uses of our native plants for medicine, tools, shelter, clothing, and food. Enjoy learning how to incorporate drought-tolerant native plants into your garden design for benefits you might not have imagined. Discover the fun of using native southwest desert plants for food, herbal remedies, landscape, and even art.

In our workshops and classes, you will learn which of California’s 4,800 native plants are perfectly suited for your particular yard, and which ones best serve as evergreen hedges, privacy screens, shade-giving trees, long-lived ground covers, erosion control, seasonal color, interesting vines, and striking specimen plants. Find out how to select, plant, irrigate, and care for a remarkable variety of attractive, drought-tolerant native plants. Read More


Water-Wise Landscaping

Water-Wise Landscaping DVD

Water-Wise Landscaping DVD

Available Now!

This engaging DVD, produced by The SummerTree Institute and featuring professional botanist Robin Kobaly, contains all the essential information you need to transform your High-Desert property into an enchanting, Water-Wise Landscape. You choose your path of discovery by selecting the topics within yard themes. This comprehensive DVD, with nearly four hours of hard-to-find expert information, covers the resources you will need to plan, design, plant, irrigate and maintain an attractive, drought-tolerant landscape.

To help you choose the right plants, you will find descriptions and growing tips for over 80 plants suited to high-desert gardens, all grouped by water-use themes.

Discover how you can create beautiful drought-tolerant landscaping in the high deserts of the Southwest with valuable tips and insider’s information. Robin leads you on this journey with fun demonstrations and real-life examples of yard solutions.

Here’s a sample:

Water-Wise Landscaping DVD

Special Features:

  • Yard Design
  • Understanding Soil and Mulch
  • Planting Tips
  • Irrigation
  • Maintaining a Healthy Landscape
  • Profiles of 84 Star-Performing Plants
  • Price: $20.00, plus $2.50 shipping – All proceeds go to The SummerTree Institute to help support outreach efforts and educational materials for the non-profit’s “Water-Wise Landscaping” programs. Visit www.summertree.org for more program details.

Other Ways To Order:

To place an order with your credit card by phone, please call 760-363-1166.
Download the Water-Wise Landscaping DVD order form to mail a check or credit card information.

“All I can say is Wow! The presentation – Robin, the DVD –was simply superb…”
—Michael Stevens, Community Liaison Officer, Mojave Water Agency

“This DVD is absolutely a phenomenally crucial tool in educating the public…I’m so excited about this wonderful educational tool!”
—Marie Sovitsky, Publications Coordinator, Mojave Desert Resource Conservation District