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 – November

Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus betuloides Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 8-15 ft. tall x 10-12 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May) Native to: California, Oregon, Baja California (below 6,000 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to -30°F  Mountain Mahogany is a large, upright, evergreen shrub or small tree with beautiful, smooth, light gray bark. Small, wedge-shaped leaves with toothed edges resemble birch leaves, giving this plant its other name, Birch-leaf Mountain Mahogany. Its small, cream-colored, rose-like […]

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

Desert Willow, Desert Catalpa Chilopsis linearis Plant Form: Deciduous tree Water Use: Low Mature Size: 15-25 ft. tall x 18-20 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Apr-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Oct) Native to: California, Arizona, Mexico (below 5000 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F Desert Willow is a fast-growing, multi-trunked tree or large shrub that twists and leans as it reaches skyward, creating an interesting, open crown in age. Its long, narrow, bright green leaves give a willowy appearance, […]

Plant of the Month – August

Jojoba, Goatnut Simmondsia chinensis Plant Form: Evergreen shrub Water Use: Extremely Low Mature Size: 6-8 ft. tall x 8-10 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Winter (Feb), Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June) Native to: California, Arizona, Mexico (between 0 – 4,900 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F Jojoba is a long-lived, slow-growing dense evergreen shrub that is one of our most drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant native plants. Thick, leathery leaves grow upward so that only their edges face the sun during the hottest part of the […]

Join Robin’s Next Class

Beautiful, drought-tolerant southwest desert plants can add richness and enjoyment to your garden, supplement your edible garden offerings, and enhance the  lives of your neighborhood songbirds and wildlife. Learn how to plant, irrigate, and care for your native plant garden, with inspiring classroom instruction inside, then move outside into a “nearly native” demonstration garden, with over a hundred examples of mature desert native plants.  Our classes and workshops show you easy, fun, and healthy ways to incorporate our native plants […]