Plant of the Month

Peruvian Verbena Glandularia (Verbena) peruviana purple Plant Form: Perennial groundcover Water Use: Low, Moderate Mature Size: 6-12 in. tall x 2-3 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (March-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov) Native to: South America Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F  Peruvian Verbena is a fairly fast-growing groundcover that trails and spreads with new herbaceous roots to form a dense mat. This desert-friendly, rabbit-resistant perennial produces clusters of colorful flowers at the end of each stem, with colors ranging from purple […]

Harvesting Your Native Garden

Part of my appreciation of our native desert plants comes from the indispensable gifts that these plants have provided for millennia to humans, wildlife, birds, insects, soils, and the whole ecosystem. Indigenous peoples have long valued and used native desert plants for food, medicine, healing, shelter, clothing, utensils, and ceremony. I would like to share some of these uses that we can incorporate into our lives today, but this comes with a responsibility to reciprocate thoughtful care and stewardship for these tenacious but […]

Plant of the Month – May

Santa Rita Prickly Pear, Purple Prickly Pear Opuntia violacea var. santa-rita Plant Form: Cactus Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 2-6 ft. tall x 4-6 ft.wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug) Native to: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F  Santa Rita Prickly Pear defies the convention that plants are only showy when they are in bloom. This cactus is colorful year-round. In winter, the fleshy pads attain a rich purple color, lending its […]

Plant of the Month – January

Oregon Grape, Holly-leaved Barberry Mahonia aquifolium Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub Water Use: Low Mature Size: 3-6 ft. tall x 3-7 ft. wide Exposure: Part Sun, Filtered Sun, Full Shade Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May) Native to: California, Oregon, Washington, Canada Hardiness: Cold hardy to -10°F  Oregon Grape offers a brilliant solution to a landscape dilemma: finding a drought-tolerant plant that can live in full shade in southwest deserts. This easy-care, evergreen shrub is excellent in dry shade or part shade as a […]

Plant of the Month – October

Sulfur Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum Plant Form: Evergreen Sub-shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 1-2 ft. tall x 1-3 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Oct) Native to: California, Western North America, Central Canada (4,000 feet – 10,000 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F Sulfur Buckwheat creates a big garden impact despite being such a diminutive plant. This exceedingly variable species can vary from a small perennial herb only 3 inches tall to a […]

Plant of the Month – September

Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia   Plant Form: Deciduous perennial Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 3-4 ft. tall & wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Summer – Fall (June – September) Native to: Asia (Afghanistan to Tibet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to -20°F Russian Sage is a hardy, drought- tolerant, heat-loving perennial that is underused in southwest landscapes. Small but brilliant violet-blue flowers seem to float in an airy cloud above its foliage from summer until a hard frost. Neither Russian […]