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

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 Read more

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 Read more

Grow a Marvelous Mesquite

Mesquite harvest is nearing, and I will discuss harvest further on SavortheSW – my site dedicated to using the plants that grow in our yards here in the Land of El Sol.  Meanwhile, lets look at growing a mesquite tree or two to help provide food grown as locally as your own backyard. (Mesquite no-bake cookies are YUM!) All Mesquite are NOT Equal There are a number of mesquite species and some are NOT native. This has lead to problems in the urban landscapes. Non-native mesquites from the grasslands of Read more

Native Vines for the Land of El Sol

Last week I wrote that vines are easy to grow since they need very little root space to flourish. They work well for both large and small yards!  Here are some of you top choices. Where to Buy There are a vast number of native vines that grow well in the area. Most of the ones I mention here are easily available at local nurseries. Big box stores will not have them because they buy nationally, not locally. (List of local Southwest nurseries – here.) Breaking every blogger rule – Read more

Vines for the Desert

Vines are fun to grow. Since they need very little root space to flourish, they will have ample room to grow, no matter if your yard is small or large. Many vines have beautiful flowers, and the bloom period can be months long, offering another opportunity to fill your yard with color. Vines for Shade! Vines are good for arbors. Say you want summer shade and winter sun, vines are the answer, simply plant one that is winter deciduous. If you want a year round leafy bower, plant an evergreen Read more