Articles (Posts)

Five Gorgeous Groundcovers for the Southwest

Simply put, groundcovers cover the ground (well, duh!) and technically lawn is one type of groundcover. But most people in our region are looking for not-lawn, low-water, easy to take care of, safe for humans and pets, not bothered by hungry wildlife , pretty to look at – groundcovers. Why Plant Groundcovers? Groundcovers help the entire landscape when they are included in the yard. They soften the landscape composition, add color, perhaps movement, and often fragrant flowers. Since they cover the soil, they reduce overall soil temperature, help soil moisture […]

Hibiscus For the Desert Heat

Hibiscus abound in the nurseries now, and no wonder. They are beautiful plants with glossy green leaves, very luxurious looking, reminiscent of tropical jungles. And the flowers are pretty too. Hibiscus Flowers Seriously folks, hibiscus flowers are awesome. The large size of the blooms, combined with their exotic appearance and downright durability as a plant has helped them find their way into our cultural world view. Who hasn’t see photos of Tahitian maidens, or the paintings of Paul Gauguin, replete with luscious looking blooms tucked behind the damsels ear? Well, […]

Cactus Flower Fun in Southwest Spring

Almost every cactus species is blooming in our Southwest spring and oh, what fantastic flowers cacti produce! Every color of the rainbow can be found, often in bold and vivid hues. Cactus Flowers are Colorful This is a wonderful time of year if you are a flower lover. Cactus flowers come in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. These are joined by scarlet, pink, rose, crimson, claret, burgundy, magenta, purple, lavender, cream and white. In some species, individual blossoms are rainbows in themselves! Prickly pear flowers are generally yellow, […]

Desert Mistletoe in Your Trees- Part II

DeseMany people try to eradicate desert mistletoe, thinking it is harming the tree. Mistletoe would be a poor parasite if it killed it’s host. Desert mistletoe does minimal amount of damage, and thus lives with the host trees for many years. Desert Mistletoe Provides Food In the previous post I discussed the desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) and how it is part of a healthy desert ecosystem. It provides food for the phainopepla – a bird only found in the Southwest. It also provides food for humans – but only the […]

Desert Mistletoe in Your Trees

There are many species of mistletoe around the world, parasitic and hemi-parasitic on a number of trees. All mistletoe plants are toxic. Almost all mistletoe berries are toxic. The one exception is the Sonoran and Mojave desert mistletoe, Phoradendron californicum, also called desert mistletoe. Interestingly, this unique genus is a distant relative of sandal wood. It’s a Hemi Technically, desert mistletoe is “hemi-parasitic.” No, it isn’t packing an awesome engine under the hood. We are talking about plants so it’s a Latin term. In Latin “hemi” means half. These mistletoes […]

Palm Care is As Easy As 1-2-3

For healthy, happy, palms here in the Southwest, there are only three things you need to do. Three! Palm Care is Easy Palm care tip 1: “Leaf” it alone! Prune no leaves (technically fronds) ever, because palms will drop what they do not need. If you dislike the appearance, wait until fronds are brown and drooped over before removing. You should only remove green fronds if they are a hazard to people or property (in a walkway or rubbing the roof). If you must, prune ONLY in May or August. […]