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 […]

Plant of the Month – February

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub Water Use: Low Mature Size: 2-5 ft. tall x 2-6 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Winter (Dec-Feb), Spring (Mar-May) Native to: Mediterranean Region Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F  Rosemary has been prized for centuries for a multitude of reasons, including its aromatic properties, flavorful herbal use, picturesque form, and rugged landscaping uses.  This drought-tolerant native of Mediterranean climates endures hot sun, reflected heat, and poor soils, and all it asks in return is good […]

Plant of the Month – December

Holly-leaf Redberry Rhamnus ilicifolia Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 3-9 ft. tall and wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June) Native to: California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Baja California (500 – 6,600 feet elevation) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F  Holly-leaf Redberry is a handsome, mounding, evergreen shrub with dark-green, glossy, holly-like leaves. Tiny yellowish flowers are inconspicuous, but female flowers produce bright red berries relished by birds and small mammals. Male and female flowers […]

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 […]