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October 11, 2011
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DESERT BLOOM: Flowering Plants

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Norm

With a change in season the flowers are blooming in Norm's yard. Norm's comments are included below.

DestinationA few weeks ago, I talked about "destination" on Desert Bloom. The path winding off into the distance, the arms of the bench beckoning... yup, 'nuff said. :)

Rain Lily The delicate flowers of Rain Lily (Zephyranthes candida) gracing the garden after our recent rains...hence the name.

Dwarf Katie RuelliaBrushing the spent blooms off of a Dwarf Katie Ruellia (Ruellia brittoniana "Katie"), getting her spiffed up for her photo, when Flo surprised me and snapped this one.

Dwarf Ruellia Dwarf Ruellia "Katie" (Ruellia brittoniana "Katie"), with her profusion of purple Petunia-like flowers, tight form, rich green foliage and lots of blooms throughout the year. In spite of my attempt to clean her up a bit, she really does look better in person. :)

Black Moudry Grass Black Moudry Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Moudry') with her infloresences radiating in the autumn sunlight. I love how they glow, especially when planted against a shaded background!

ky FlowerA close-up of the small (3/4") flowers of Sky Flower (Duranta erecta)...zillions of blossoms every year from May through November. This plant can get big, so give it room to grow, and (gulp) they're a little cold sensitive. This one froze to the ground a few years ago, but sprang right back and grew to 6 feet+ in a few months when the weather warmed back up.

Pomegranate treeThe fruit is almost ripe, but until I eat them, they adorn my Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) like Christmas ornaments for months!

Golden Dyssodia Ahhhh...my favorite little desert perennial/wildflower, Shrubby Dogweed (Thymophylla pentachaeta) bloomin' away, non-stop, even in December and January sometimes. My designer, Corina, much prefers the name "Golden Dyssodia", but I love the sound of "shrubby dogweed"...maybe because I think it a cute name for a cute plant...oh...and I LOVE dogs! :)

Golden Barrel CactusWho says you need flowers to get color?!! 3 of my favorite desert-adapted color-plants, Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida) and the oh-so-bold White Variegated Agave (Agave americana 'medio-picta'). They look great all year round...'cept for the Purple Heart, which freezes to the ground each winter then shoots back up in spring. Desert landscapes rock!

Blackfoot DaisyThe sun-loving, floriforous Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum). You wouldn't think from these delicate (and fragrant!) blossoms that this is such a tough, drought-tolerant ground cover/perennial! Many months of blooms and I do nothing...well, other than having planted her where she'll be happy and giving her an occasional drink.

Texas Olive treesA close-up of the blooms on one of my beloved Texas Olive trees (Cordia boissieri). It shows the apparent delicacy of the paper-mache-like petals and how the throats of each bloom starts out softly yellow and ages to that gorgeous bronze tone.

exas OliveTexas Olive (Cordia boissieri) on the right, rich olive green with exceptionally big leaves for a desert plant, and the bold-colored Mexican Blue Palm (Brahea armata) to the left. Both are extremely drought tolerant and tough...though the ...Texas Olive is a bit cold sensitive. Hmmmm...I think I might adorn her with the old-style Christmas lights this winter (they give off some heat) in case we get a heavy cold-spell. What a cheery way to help protect a plant!

Madam Galen Trumpet CreeperMy wonderful Madam Galen Trumpet Creeper (Campsis x tagliabuana 'Madame Galen') having pretty much finished her flower show for the year...but now adorned with dozens of seed pods that look like elongated green bananas. I'll cut them off w...hen they turn brown and begin to open, lest I end up with more Trumpet Creeper than I want. :) This species gives me thousands of big red-orange flowers that attract hummingbirds from April/May through October 2nd...there's still 2 blooms open! Notice the patio behind? It faces west, so while I love this plant for her beauty and the hummers she brings, her greatest value is in the shade she gives my patio all summer long. Oh, and then she drops her leaves in winter and lets the sun shine in!

Dwarf Pampas grassDwarf Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila') starting her show of luxuriant inflorescences (the grass equivelent of flowers). The blossoms of ornamental grasses can so capture the sunlight and radiate spectacularly!

Pink Trumpet VineThe first flowers of Pink Trumpet Vine, (Podranea ricasoliana), a fall bloomer, growing under the canopy of an old olive tree. Lots more flowers to come! This plant's hard to find in local nurseries, but worth the search, even if you hav...e to buy a little one online and have it mailed to you. Whattayasay, Star and Plant World...carry this plant, PLEASE! Btw, give this plant room to grow...mine is trellised to a wall, but spreads to about 15 feet wide and 12 feet tall! Trellised to the wall, she's very two-dimensional, so I can walk under her beautiful canopy. Oh, and the flowers are fragrant too! :)

OcotilloOcotillo (fouquieria splendens), leafed out from the recent rains. Tough, bold, and superbly drought tolerant, plant these (and the Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia to it's right) in the fall, and mist the canes and foliage instead of watering it at the base for the first year or so. I introduced this specimen to my garden some 15 years ago, when I found her growing as a baby on a well-site, smaller than my little finger! How time flies and babies grow up!

OcotilloSilhouette of Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). See the brown twigs?...spent blossoms from the spring that the hummingbirds LOVE! Some say this an ugly plant, but the hummingbirds and I beg to differ!

Pink Oxalis Pink Oxalis (Oxalis rubra) growing under the almond trees. Dainty flowers, small, shade tolerant and tough...a great garden perennial for intimate spaces. Be aware that this bulbous plant takes a year or two to really kick in, but then rewards you with rich green foliage and LOTS of flowers. And if all that weren't enough, you can pick the flowers and chew the stems...they're nature's sweet-tarts, infused with pleasing pucker-power!

Sacred DaturaThe BIG blossom of Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii). This plant has reseeded itself profusely throughout the garden...too profusely sometimes, so now I cut the mace-head-like seed pods off, so I don't have to pull and dispose of so many bab...y plants. The flowers have intoxicating fragrance, but beware...this plant is poisonous to eat. The flower show has another unusual and very cool aspect. The blossoms all open exactly at dusk, and a single plant can have dozens of the 4-inch flowers all open at once...and the entire event occurs in about 5 minutes! You can actually sit with an (insert beverage of choice here) and watch the flowers open in front of your eyes! You really can see them open, and sometimes the petals unfurl with a spring as they let loose from their tightly curled form! Sooooo cool!

Gold StarTecoma stans 'Gold Star', a heavy bloomer from May through first frost. There's lots of different species of Tecomas, and come in all sizes. This one's only about 4 feet tall, but others grow up to 12 feet in a year. They freeze back to ...the ground every winter, but then come back quick when things warm up. Because they disappear, I recommend surrounding the plant with more evergreen speices, so you don't have a big visual hole in the garden during the winter.

cactus gardenThe cactus garden. Two different species of the genus Opuntia (the smaller is Bunny Ears or White Dot Cactus (Opuntia microdasys), the larger...well, sometimes I forget the names of all the hundreds of species of Opuntia). The spring flower show is long past, but the color continues in the bright red fruit. And soon the Ground Squirrels will be harvesting the bounty! :)

Trichocerus hybrid cactusA Trichocerus hybrid cactus that has musical qualities. No, really. I discovered that if I GENTLY and CAREFULLY run my fingers up the length of the pads, it sounds like a rain-stick! Don't try this at home, and if you dare to anyway, don't hold me accountable! It's the only musical instrument I play. :)

Cape PlumbagoCape Plumbago (Plumbago capensis), a shade loving, sprawling shrub for moister garden areas... blue, blue, oh-so-BLUE! :)

See discussion rules.

Archives

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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