Harvesting Native Gardens

~ Bladderpod ~ Spring entices a burst of bright yellow flowers on our native Bladderpod, attracting hummingbirds, hawk moths, gardeners, and ethnobotanists. Besides being an attractive, fire-resistant, evergreen shrub, Bladderpod produces showy clusters of flowers and inflated seed pods that can be eaten if cooked. We’ll share with you how to prepare these treats below. ♦♦♦ 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 […]

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 – 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 […]

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 – July

Honey Mesquite Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana Plant Form: Deciduous tree, shrub Water Use: Low Mature Size: 15-25 ft. tall & wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug) Native to: California, SW United States, Mexico (between 0 – 5,600 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F Honey Mesquite is a graceful, winter-deciduous tree/shrub with multiple trunks and feathery leaves that provide cool, filtered shade from spring to fall. Yellow catkin-like flowers in spring produce nutritious, tan, pea-like seed pods in late summer that […]