Oct
1
0

Plant of the Month

Lion’s Tail
Leonotis leonurus

  • Plant Form: Semi-evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3 – 6 ft. tall x 2-3 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov)
  • Native to: South Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 20°F

This is a fun plant all around, showing off its curious rounded flower buds that look like miniature orange pumpkins nestled inside green cups — right in time for Halloween. The fur-like covering and edges of Lion’s Tail flowers do look reminiscent of lions’ tails or lions’ ears. While the prolific flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, they do not attract browsing deer and rabbits.

Lion’s Tail is prized for its dazzling, tubular flowers covered with a fur-like coat of fine hairs, said to resemble either lions’ tails or lions’ ears. Tiered whorls of orange blossoms encircle the square stems, which are covered with dark green, lance-shaped leaves. The abundant flowers are a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, but seem to resist browsing by deer and rabbits. Cut flowers are good in arrangements. Plants are not fussy about soil type as long as it is well drained. This easy-care plant is virtually pest-free and disease-free. Prune yearly after flowering, and mulch well over winter to protect the wood crown from cold. If this more tender plant freezes back in winter, new growth often resprouts from hardened wood. Use this striking plant in borders and beds, containers, cottage and Mediterranean gardens, and even for screening.

 

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for October

Dec
2
0

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!  

 

October Garden Tasks

Fall is the perfect time to plant new native and drought-tolerant plants, when soils are still warm but air temperatures have cooled down. Your established plants will need less water as nights get cooler and longer, so remember to adjust your irrigation timers to water less often.

 

     Take advantage of fall planting season to develop strong, summer-ready plants

 

~ Continue to plant native and drought-tolerant perennial plants and trees. Fall plantings develop deep roots while soils are still warm but the air is cool, which stimulates root growth. This early root establishment reduces water needs during your new plant’s two- to three-year establishment.

~ Adjust irrigation timers as nights get longer and cooler. Simply making monthly changes to your irrigation schedule can save more water and money than any other thing you can do

~ Fall opportunity to transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from late September to October.

~ Reduce water to cactus and succulents to prepare them for winter rest and protect against frost damage.

~ Fall annuals abound in nurseries, but are mostly high water-use; consider using them only near entries, on patios, and in containers. Plant perennials and bulbs for less maintenance and lower water use.

 

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

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

Dec
8
0

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