15 Sunflowers for the Southwest – Land of the Sun

The simple sunflower is a native Southwest plant, used for centuries by the Native peoples.    If you plant the right varieties – and plant them in the spring – you will have a gorgeous garden full of bright sunflowers. Sunflower Origins Originally sunflowers grew only in North and Central America (the “New World”).    After  Europeans “discovered” sunflowers, they were rapidly shared around the globe. There are over 70 […]

Beautiful Brittlebush

Brittlebush is not only beautiful to behold – it is beautiful for many aspects of any Sonoran and Mojave desert habitat.    Brittlebush provides food for foraging pollinators, a shady spot to start saguaro life, a sheltered spot for wildlife to rest, and a safe corner of the world to build a little lizard den under. Brilliant Brittlebush Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)  is one of the most common and conspicuous wildflower […]

Plan Now for Fall Fruit Planting

Hard to believe it – but it is mid-July now and soon it will be time to plant fruit trees. Back East, gardeners use the winter cold to dream and plan their planting just waiting for once it warms up. Here, in the heat of a Southwestern summer, we dream about what we will plant when it cools off. Indeed the cooler weather of fall is perfect for planting as […]

Growing Lavender in the Southwest

National Lavender Day is June 29. In honor of this widely celebrated holiday, I deemed it time to share some timely tips on growing lovely lavender. Which Species? Lavender that grows well in the Southwest includes a number of European species (and cultivars) of Lavendula, plus the Sonoran Desert native shrub, desert lavender (Condea emoryi). We will look at the most commonly sold species. For a quick look at this […]

Seven Herbal Teas from Your Yard

The tea industry has declared June “National Iced Tea Month.” If you are trying to live more lightly on this earth and not spend massive amounts of carbon dioxide emitting fossil fuels importing tea made from the Asian tea plant (Camelia sinensis), consider these tasty caffine-free “herbal” teas you can grow in your own yard and enjoy anytime. Tea does not need to come from Asia! January was National Hot […]

Yeah for Yucca

Yucca?    Agave?    What’s the difference?    Many folks find it hard to tell one big round rosette of sword-like spiny leaves from another big round spiny plant with sword-like leaves. Kissing Kin Yep – it can be hard. They are all related after all.    Like palms, yucca and agaves are kin to grasses. They lack true wood.    The main thing to know as an owner of […]

Desert Trees for Fast Shade – and Pollinators

“Fall is such a great time to plant new trees, and there are so many wonderful native and near-native choices to add pollinator and wildlife benefits to your yard!” She got me with that wonderful opening sentence so I asked her if I could use some more of her words. Yes! So today we have a guest post from longtime friend and plants woman extraordinaire, Carianne Sienna Funicelli, or should […]