Plant of the Month – May

Firecracker Penstemon, Eaton’s Firecracker, Scarlet Bugler Penstemon eatonii Plant Form: Evergreen perennial Water Use: Low Mature Size: 2 feet tall and wide (flower stalks 2-4 feet tall) Exposure: Full sun Bloom Time: Late winter – spring (Feb – June) Native to: S. California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F Firecracker Penstemon is irresistible to hummingbirds due to its nectar-filled, brilliant, scarlet flowers. It is among the first to bloom in spring, providing an early-season nectar source for hummingbirds. […]

Mushrooms to the Rescue!

Native desert plants are faced with a big dilemma: how to gather nutrients and moisture from soils that are practically devoid of either. To the rescue are fascinating, symbiotic root partners: fungal relatives of truffles, attached to plants’ roots by thread-like hyphae called mycelium. These living, microscopic fungal partners, or mychorriza (literally “fungus root”), attach to plant roots and spread outward like a three-dimensional net, expanding the surface area and absorption capability of the plant’s root system by magnitudes, and […]

Plant of the Month – October 2014

California Fuchsia Epilobium canum/Zauschneria californica   Plant Form: Semi-evergreen Perennial Water Use: Low Mature Size: 2 feet tall & wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade Bloom Time: Summer, Fall (June – October) Native to: California, Arizona, and Baja California below 10,000 feet Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 10°F     California Fuchsia is an easy-to-grow, herbaceous, perennial sub-shrub with tubular orange-red flowers that are an important nectar source for hummingbirds during migration (the plant is dependent on hummingbirds for pollination). Also […]

Plant of the Month – September 2014

Desert Marigold Baileya multiradiata   Plant Form: Perennial Flower Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 18”- 20” tall & wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring – Summer, Fall (April – July, and again in Oct. if summer rain occurs or if watered) Native to: All of Western US and Mexico at elevations below 6,000 feet  Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 10°F     Desert Marigold is a cheery, fast-growing but short-lived perennial with bright yellow flowers from spring through fall. At […]

Plant of the Month – May 2014

White Sage Salvia apiana   Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 2-3’ tall x 3-6’ wide (flower stalks add another 2-6’ in height) Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (April – June) Native to: California to Baja California (below 4,500 feet)  Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 15°F   White sage is an aromatic, slow-growing, evergreen shrub prized for a variety of qualities. Gardeners treasure this drought-tolerant native for its beautiful white foliage, almost luminous in the early […]

Plant of the Month – March 2014

Bush Monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus (Diplacus longiflorus)   Plant Form: Evergreen Perennial Sub-Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 2-3’ tall x 3’ wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade Bloom Time: Spring, Summer (Mar – August) Native to: Southern California below 5,000 feet Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 15°F   Bush Monkeyflower is a fast-growing, evergreen, woody sub-shrub prized for its variety of showy flowers. Light green leaves, which become sticky on hot days, contrast nicely with trumpet-shaped yellow, orange, or red […]