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May 05, 2009

DESERT BLOOM: Flowering Plants


Norm Schilling shares blooms from his own garden.

Eremophila hygrophanaAn Eremophila hygrophana blooming its heart out while sitting in a pot waiting to go to a job site.

Strawberry HedgehogA Strawberry Hedgehog (Echinocereus engelmannii) shows of its spectacular purple bloom in front of a sea of Golden Dyssodia (Thymophylla pentachaeta). The Golden Dyssodia is one of my all time favorites. Though it only lives a few years, it reseeds readily and spreads itself around the garden, even to places with no irrigation. It almost never stops blooming and creates little golden swaths in the yard, with little or no effort beyond planting the first plant or two.

Blue FlaxBlue Flax (Linum lewisii) and California poppy (Eschscholtzia californica) are both available as wildflower seeds and will reseed themselves readily.

Blue FlaxBlue Flax (Linum lewisii) has truly remarkably blue flowers. It is available both as a potted plant and can be grown from seed.

OpuntiaThis flower is growing from one of the large genus of cacti called Opuntia, many of which are commonly called "beavertails because of the shape of the pad. All have spectacular, glistening large blooms in the spring, but this one is even showier with both red and yellow in the floral cup.

Century PlantsA panorama of plants ranging from California Poppy in the foreground, through Powis Castle Wormwood, an American Agave and finally, growing on the other side of the wall (without irrigation and only infrequent hand watering) an African Sumac (Rhus lancea). All are very drought tolerant plants.

GazaniaA blanket of Gazania (Gazania sp.) blooms cascades around and over old railroad ties. The flowers are wonderful, but so is the silvery, fuzzy foliage.

Indian Blanket FlowerIndian Blanket Flower (Gaillardia sp.) has a stunning large blossom and a very long bloom season. Some varieties are larger than others (I prefer the smaller ones), and there are also variations in flower color... but how can you beat this stunning yellow/red combination!?

Roses and BulbinesIn this moderate water-use area of the garden, roses and bulbines (Bulbinella "Tiny Tangerine) share space and bloom time in front of a big and old Indian Hawthorne (Rhaphiolepis indica). Bulbines are actually quite drought tolerant, but like many desert plants, can grow in more moist areas as well.

Desert WillowA close-up of flowers of one of our native plants, Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua). Many of these individual plants have volunteered in my garden.

Texas OliveWhat can I say: the happy gardener amongst his flora. At my feet is Trailing Gazania (Gazania sp.) in bloom. The tree to my left is my Texas Ebony (Ebanopsis ebano). Though it is a bit cold sensitive and may freeze to the ground in an especially cold winter, I chose this tree because of its tendency to be a "bird-condo"... currently I count 5 or 6 nests in it and the tree is still not all that large. Included are both nests of Verdin and a hummingbird nest all of 2 inches across.

OxalisOxalis (Oxalis sp.) blooms pink in front of the silver foliage of a variety of Dusty Miller. I inherited this particular species of Dusty Miller when I bought the house 18 years ago. I love it, but can't seem to find this special variety in the nurseries, and I still haven't figured out its botanical name. Sometimes I find seedlings, little baby volunteer plants, in the spring and I transplant them around the yard.

See discussion rules.


NormApr 22, 2014 | The Right Plants
Our current warm spell gives the impression that some plants can thrive when they aren't really suited to our desert. Norm Schilling has some examples.

NormMar 24, 2014 | Spring Garden Party
Spring is here and the garden is blooming . . . so invite some friends to enjoy the rewards of gardening!

AngelaMar 10, 2014 | Lady Banks
If you love roses, but don't care for thorns, you may want to call on 'Lady Banks.' Here's Angela O'Callaghan with Desert Bloom.

NormFeb 26, 2014 | Signs of Spring
It may be February, but if you are paying attention, signs of Spring are visible. Dwarf peach and Mexican plum trees are in bloom. Vibrant Red Spraxis can be seen among the falling Almond blossom. Watch gardening expert Norm Schilling transplant an offshoot. Check out the slide show of photos taken from his backyard.

AngelaFeb 18, 2014 | Mulch is for Winter
Rewards for using mulch in your landscape can be had year-round. Mulch is about mulch more than just "good looks" according to Angela O' Callaghan. In any climate, and certainly in a desert, mulch is an ecologically sound way to conserve our limited soil moisture and to control weeds.

NormFeb 4, 2014 | Investing for Spring
Temperatures are scheduled to stay cool this week, but Norm Schilling finds his yard is ready for Spring. He reflects on techniques to keep older trees healthy even as the surrounding yard may change. Bigger, older trees may need more water.

AngelaJan 13, 2014 | Freezing Temps
If your garden looks like it's been zapped by Jack Frost, there's still a chance that all is not lost. Delicate desert plants can suffer chill damage even when the temperature stays above freezing. Well-established plants should survive.

NormDec 31, 2013 | Leave the Leaves
Just because most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, it doesn't mean you have to rake them all up. Norm Schilling says it's better to use the leaves as mulch to protect the plants and make rich soil. Some woody plants can be pruned now, while others should wait another month or two.

AngelaDec 13, 2013 | Winter Greens
It is the season to enjoy some winter gardening. In Southern Nevada, a cold-snap does not have to mean that your garden is done for. Angela O'Callaghan gives a few cold facts.

NormDec 3, 2013 | Winter Watering
After a recent rain followed by a cold snap this week, Norm Schilling digs in to figure out how much water is needed this time of year. Touch the leaves to get a feel and don't water much at all for the next few months.

AngelaNov 18, 2013 | Herb Gardens
Our desert environment may be hard to handle for many plants, but it is possible to grow your own herbal remedy. The healing properties of some herbs are still widely recognized. Even though we rarely have to rely on them to deal with our infirmities, Angela O'Callaghan says many herbs are pretty and simple to grow.

NormNov 5, 2013 | Fall Color
Our second Spring is in full bloom. Norm Schilling shares his favorite plants that are bringing color to the yard right now, including Chocolate Flower, Mexican Bush Sage, Autumn Sage and ornamental grasses.

AngelaOct 29, 2013 | Pumpkins
Halloween just wouldn't be the same without the jack-o-lantern. But there's more to the tradition of decorating squash than meets the eye. Angela O'Callaghan says pumpkins are more than decorations for a single day. They're food, and a very good food at that.

NormSep 30, 2013 | Fall Pruning and Mulching
Pruning for aesthetics and mulching for rich soil quality are on his to-do list before he gets started in earnest on fall planting. Find out where to find mulch and mulch more on this week's edition of Desert Bloom.

AngelaSep 17, 2013 | The Best Place to Garden
The Mojave Desert isn't the easiest place to cultivate a garden, but we do have a few advantages here. In fact, Angela O'Callaghan says Southern Nevada is the BEST place in the world to be a gardener, partly because dry air helps keep our plants healthy.

NormSep 3, 2013 | Sacred Datura
Sacred Datura is a native, but poisonous, desert plant that offers stunning blooms. Often seen at the side of the highway, it's found a home in Norm's yard.

AngelaAug 20, 2013 | Drought
Living in the desert means - learning to live with less water. The more thought you put into watering, the better off your plants will be.

NormAug 6, 2013 | Casualties of Summer
Ever the optimist, Norm finds something to learn from the casualties of summer.

AngelaJul 22, 2013 | White Prickly Poppy
Is a poppy by any other name just a weed?

NormJul 9, 2013 | Agave
Agave is well suited to our desert climate. Norm Schilling shares his collection.

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