Three Useful Landscape Herbs to Plant This Fall

Pretty plants in the landscape are great – and it’s even better when you can use them in cooking. Since in a few short weeks it will be time for fall planting – here are three lovely herbs for your landscape, and for pollinators too. Plan to Plant in Fall Once it no longer gets into the triple digits, it is time to think about planting in your landscape. Plant in fall and these plants will have a chance to become well established before the heat of next summer hits. Read more

Plant Your Yard for Pollinators and People

Is it possible to have a yard full of native plants for the pollinators – and an edible landscape for humans at the same time? You betcha! Try these awesome aloysia.  (And thanks for asking that question!) Native Plants for Multiple Uses There are indeed hundreds of native plants with culinary, medicinal, and other herb uses, including deterring mosquitoes. Many of these herbs are full of compounds that make them tasty to us but not at all tasty to wildlife like javelina and rabbits. And while the leaves repel wildlife, Read more

Beautiful Brittlebush – for Your Southwestern Landscape

Brittlebush is not only beautiful to behold – it is beautiful for many aspects of a sustainable Sonoran 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 wildflowers in the Sonoran Desert; seasonally providing a glowing golden-yellow cloak for the desert. And yes, the wood is brittle, hence the name. Read more

You Can Grow Epazote Effortlessly

Epazote is an effortless ‘erb that loves our Southwestern summer heat. And it’s not too late to plant some now. Why Grow Epazote? This is an herb you need if you ever cook beans. When added to beans as they cook, epazote has the almost magical ability to help predigest” beans.  This causes them to lose their ability to cause – ahem – digestive gas production. In other words, epazote is an all natural “Bean-o.” Epazote doesn’t take much work on your part. All you need is about 10 leaves Read more

Thyme Grows Well in the Southwest

Time for another delightful herb to grow in the Southwest – thyme. (Earlier this month I discussed basil – here.)  Thyme can be used in cooking, is lovely in the landscape, and is a great pollinator plant (since next week is National Pollinator Week.) Overview Thyme is a large and very popular genus, with over 350 species and countless cultivars grown around the world. Aside from looking lovely in the landscape, it is used in cooking, and has some proven medicinal properties as well. Note that there are even native Read more

You Can Grow Basil in the Southwest

Summer time is basil time in the Southwest. The nights stay warm, the sun shines for hours on end and the soil temperatures are nice an warm. All these are conditions that basil loves. Basil Origins Basil loves the heat because it is native to India and other tropical regions of Asia. It has been cultivated for over 5,000 years with a long and rich tradition of use, a tale that could fill books. Our word for the plant comes from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king,” and indeed, it is Read more