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 – 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 – June

Mojave Desert Sage, Desert Purple Sage   Salvia dorrii   Plant Form: Evergreen Sub-Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 1-2 ft. tall x 2-3 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade Bloom Time: Spring (May), Summer (June-July) Native to: California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington (between 2,500 – 8,500 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F Mojave Desert Sage is an aromatic, native “shrublet” with striking blue-violet flowers that emerge from purplish, ball-shaped flower heads along the stems. This […]

Plant of the Month – February

Goldeneye Bahiopsis parishii (Viguiera deltoidea parishii)   Plant Form: Semi-deciduous Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall and wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Feb-May), Summer (June), Fall (Sept-Oct) Native to: Southwestern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, northern Mexico (below 5000 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F Goldeneye is blanketed with bright, golden flowers on long stalks, contrasting nicely with its dark-green leaves — which feel like a cat’s tongue due to their stiff hairs. A moderately fast-growing, winter-deciduous […]