Plant of the Month

El Toro Muhly GrassMuhlenbergia emersleyi ‘El Toro’ Plant Form: Ornamental Grass Water Use: Low Mature Size: 1-3 ft. tall and wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Summer (July – Aug), Fall (Sept – Nov Native to: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas Hardiness: Cold hardy to -10°F El Toro Muhly Grass offers up masses of airy, rosy-purple flower spikes in summer to mid-fall, which dry to a tan color in winter. Plant on the east or west side of your yard to collaborate […]

Plant of the Month – September

Evergreen Sumac Rhus virens Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub, Small Tree Water Use: Low Mature Size: 8-12 ft. tall x 10-15 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov) Native to: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas Hardiness: Cold hardy to 5°F  Evergreen Sumac is a very adaptable, large, evergreen shrub that tolerates every stressful desert situation thrown at it: burning heat, freezing cold, extended drought, nutrient-poor soils, and even difficult clay and caliche soils. Given all these challenges, this […]

Plant of the Month – August

Golden Dogbane Thymophylla pentachaeta Plant Form: Perennial Water Use: Low Mature Size: 6-10 in. tall x 1-2 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (March-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov) Native to: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Northern Mexico Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F  Golden Dogbane is a dainty, colorful plant that brings happiness to both gardeners and butterflies. Because it provides both nectar and food for butterflies and their larvae, it is perfect for butterfly gardens. Gardeners can plant just a few […]

Plant of the Month – June

Artichoke Agave, Parry Agave Agave parryi Plant Form: Succulent Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall & wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Summer (June-Aug) Native to: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F  Artichoke Agave forms a dense, symmetrical rosette that actually resembles a giant artichoke. Wide, foot-long, blue-gray leaves are edged with spiny margins and tipped with a one-inch terminal spine. A rosette slowly matures over time until it produces offset “pups” at its base, eventually […]

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 […]