Thursday, March 20, 2008

Desert Garden Stroll

Lately, most of my time in the garden has been dedicated to picking and chopping weeds, trimming trees, thinning Agave, checking for Agave Snout Weevil, replacing plugged emitters, and repotting cacti and succulents into new pots. So, this afternoon I took a leisurely stroll with my camera to capture some of the fruits of my labor.

I love the quality of light in very late afternoon, so I take a lot of photos just before the sun goes down. Colors look richer then, and the photos take on a painterly quality. The dark green of the Agave desmettiana provides a nice background for the yellow Baileya multiradiata, or Desert Marigold.

At first glance, the new pads forming on an Opuntia basilaris look like maroon flower buds. This Prickly Pear retains its purple margins all year, but the purple in the pads will fade as the weather gets warmer. If I want to limit the number of pads, it is easy to clip off the pad buds at this stage.

We had some strong wind gusts late last week and it wreaked havoc on the fragile Chuparosa (Justicia californica) stems, which are now leaning in all directions, providing an interesting tangle of Chuparosa and Desert Bluebells.

This is my favorite Gazania rigens cultivar. It is from the Daybreak Series. I like to plant these on the slopes of the raised areas of my garden where they are not visible until you walk around the corner... and then, pow! An unexpected burst of brilliant sunny color.

The flower stalk of a Coral Aloe will last for at least two months. Bush Morning Glory is in the background.

The Eremophila maculata v. brevifolia 'Valentine', or Valentine Emu Bush, is so loaded with flowers that its branches are dragging on the ground. This year I'm going to have to trim it after the flowers are gone. I've avoided trimming to gain maximum flowering, and I certainly reached my goal with this shrub.

The Drosanthemum hispidum (Desert Ice Plant) has just started flowering. By May this trailing groundcover will be totally covered in these hot pink flowers.

I decided to try a lighter color Gazania in my garden this year. I usually go for the brilliant shades, but I had just the place for these. It recently occurred to me that I've never purchased a purple or pink Gazania. Perhaps I should change that!

Last but not least, the Trailing Purple Lantana (Lantana montevidensis ‘Imperial Purple’) is at its best right now. When it fades in warmer weather, the New Gold Lantana (Lantana camara 'New Gold') will be ready to burst out in bloom and will provide color well into fall.

17 comments:

Helen Read said...

What beautiful photos! Being from the Southwest - and - now in the midwest, where it seems the cold weather will never leave us, your photos are a breath of fresh air!
Thanks! Also, thanks for your visit to Brushstrokes, etc. and your kind comments!

barbara said...

The prickly pear looks as if it is dancing in the ocean's waters.

Rose said...

I enjoyed seeing all the blooms! I visited Phoenix for the first time in January (my daughter now lives there) and spent a morning at the Desert Botanical Gardens. A beautiful place, and I learned so much. In fact, since nothing much is blooming yet here in Illinois, I wrote a post about the DBG yesterday. Maybe you can correct any misinformation I included. :)

Teri C said...

Am I ever glad you took this walk with your camera! Just gorgeous flowers and plants! WOWEE!!

Nancy J. Bond said...

Unique and lovely! Part of the beauty of the Blotanical community is being able to stroll through gardens in very diverse environments. I think your hard word certainly paid off!

verobirdie said...

Beautiful pictures! I like the Opuntia basilaris and the gazanias best.

Barbara said...

It was a great pleasure again to see these brilliant colours of your blooming plants. I like very much the chuparosas which I never saw before. Stunning this special blue!
I wish you happy Easter!

Julie said...

My God this is gorgeous! The whole darn thing! It is by far the most well kept, clean, pristine garden I have ever seen!!! That Prickly pear is really great looking right now with those red pads coming out...amazing! Thanks for all the bloom pics!!!

garden girl said...

Beautiful desert blooms. I love the diversity of gardens I can find and visit through blotanical!

Ginni Dee said...

Great photos! I just love your garden. I especially love the purple-margined cactus.

jodi said...

Just what I needed, Aiyana, to remind me that spring will come--even though most of these plants wouldn't survive in my garden, I can feel the sun's warmth on their happy faces. Maybe I need to visit Arizona sometime during our winter to get me through!

Jon said...

What great photos on this post...particularly the one of the opuntia...as well as all the others on your blog. Your climate and plants are so different from ours in Mississippi...it is refreshing to me to see such beautiful differences. I like your blog's background color...would it be called "adobe tan"? It is so appropriate for your theme. Jon on 3-21-08 at http://mississippigarden.blogspot.com

kate said...

Aiyana,

I enjoyed scrolling through your photographs ... The Valentine Emu Bush is spectacular. The Coral Agave is striking as is the Chuparosa, with the Desert Bluebells intermingling with it. I like the Trailing Purple Lantana as well ... your garden is amazing in spring!

Kylee said...

Everything looks so pretty and perfect, Aiyana! I grow gazanias too, and actually had those yellow and white ones this past year, too! I did a post on the different faces of gazanias. They're such a "graphic" bloom!
Happy Easter to you!

Wurzerl said...

Hi Aiyana, if I' m scrolling through your Spring garden I think to be in the Botanical Garden of Munich in the Cactus house. It' s very interesting for me, thank you for sharing it with us.The Gazania rigens and the Opuntia basilaris are my favourites in this post. I also love the Convulvus post in front of it.
Wishing you a Happy Easter
Is it ok if I do your link to my favourites?
Wurzerl

Ross said...

Great photos, it's interesting to see Opuntia which is an invasive plant in South Africa and Gazania, which is indigenous to SA growing together quite happily...

yoxx said...

wonderful photos...