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. […]

Almond Trees Grow Well In the Southwest

Almonds join a number of other plants from the warmer areas of the eastern Mediterranean that grow well in our Southwest gardens. Celebrate “National Almond Day” – February 16! There are many trees you can plant in your Southwest yard, but if you are going to the effort of planting and watering a tree, why not make it one that will also provide a nutritious and tasty snack – like almonds. Almond Tree Care These lovely trees are living beings, so they will need some care, but they do need […]

Figs are Easy to Grow in the Southwest

Figs are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow in our area. They do well in our alkaline soils, and can quickly grow into lovely, spreading shade trees. Trees produce fruit in as little as two to three years, and thrive and produce with little effort for the next hundred years or so. Figs do not need cross pollination, so a single tree can produce ample fruit for a household. Planting Figs Plant fig trees in the ground in late winter to early spring when they’re dormant. Figs won’t […]

Lovely Leucophyllum – the Snapdragon Shrubs

Gardening in the Southwest is unique in many ways, and tops on the list are plants you don’t find anywhere else on earth. Leucophyllum , a shrubby member of the Snapdragon Family is one of these unique species.   Lovely Leucophyllum There are more common names for Leucophyllum than you can shake a stick at. Some of the more common common names are: rain sage, Texas sage, Texas rain sage, Texas ranger, Chihuahuan rain sage, blue ranger, cenizo, Texas silverleaf, barometer bush, ash-bush, wild lilac, purple sage, senisa, cenicilla, palo […]

A Passion for Passion flower

Earlier this spring, I mentioned  that vines are great in the garden for all their lovely blooms (Part I- Overview and Part II – Native Vines). A reader asked about edible vines, and here is one option for the Southwest – passion flower! Plants with a Punch Called variously passion flower, passion fruit and just plain passion vine, Passiflora has over 500 species and countless varieties, most with edible fruit. You may have tasted it before! Hawaiian Punch is made from the tasty Passiflora edulis. That particular species is not […]

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 […]