Rain Lilies Welcome the Summer Rain

I said “rain lilies” in the title because I didn’t want to daunt you with the scientific name, Zephyranthes. But if gardeners wrote alphabet books, Z would be for Zephyranthes! Z is for Zephyranthes Zephyranthes are some of the most delicate, graceful flowers there are. They come in red, pink, rose, coral, white, pale yellow, vivid lemon yellow, deep orange, or in sunset blends of colors. Most zephyranthes bloom repeatedly through the summer and into early fall. Zephyranthes are native to the New World, and grow best in areas of Read more

You Can Grow A Colorful Garden in the Heat

Most of us enjoy color in our life, including colorful flowers in the landscape. Something cheerful to greet us as we look out the window with the morning cup of coffee, or something welcome us home from the daily grind. Gardeners and landscape folks (members of the Green Industry) call this “color.” Lucky for us, “color” in the Southwest is a year round thing, especially if we use some annuals. Color Choices There are over 10,000 trees, shrubs, and perennial plants that can grow in the Southwest, and they all Read more

Castor Plants Add Color to the Landscape

Castor for color, and because the critters don’t eat it! Castor is a large, colorful plant for warm season color in the Southwest. Indeed, it grows large enough for some shade too. What is Castor Castor (Ricinus communis) comes to us from eastern Africa and is now spread world-wide in tropical areas. Oil of the seeds was important in ancient Egypt, imported at great cost from the kingdom of Nubia. Any plant that could reap great profits was subject to “industrial sabotage” back in the day, which is how castor Read more

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, Read more

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, Read more

Growing Gardenias and Camelias in the Desert

Many garden centers have camellias and gardenias prominently displayed at this time of year. Occasionally an azalea too. These are in flower and their beauty and fragrance is very tempting. Before you succumb to temptation, realize that these not native to our arid Southwest climate and will need some special care. The Issue is Our Soil & Water & Climate Camellias, gardenias, and azaleas need acid soils. Our Southwest soils are alkaline. Our water comes out of the tap alkaline. Furthermore, all soils have an amazing capacity to buffer themselves, Read more