Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Desert Purples



There have been many orange and yellow cactus flowers on my blog lately, so I thought it was time to show some shades of purple and lilac growing in my garden. This first photo shows Santa Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia santa rita) along with the oranges of the Red Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima ) and lilac Moss Verbena (Verbena tenuisecta).

Desert Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) blooms intermittently all year. The flowers are short-lived, but within a day or two, another set of buds open, so there's a nice show quite often. This plant can be invasive, so I pull up any new plants that are getting beyond the boundaries.




Texas Sage is also called Barometer Plant because it invariably blooms about 10 days after a rain or a day of high humidity. We had a trace of rain on May 24, and sure enough, about June 4, all my Leucophyllum frutescens burst out in bloom. The flowers usually last about a week. Since this is a common desert shrub, it's fun to see all the Texas Sage within the rainfall area also in bloom.

Bees love my Vitex agnus-castus, or Chaste Tree, (which is still a bush and I intend to keep it that way) but I don't see many hummingbirds hanging around this shrub. Maybe there's better pickings among the rest of the flowers in my garden.
And there's the Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida). I haven't decided if I really want this stuff, because it only looks good for short periods in the spring and fall. This Purple Heart is planted in a large wok planter and I should trim it, but I'm still debating whether to get rid of it completely. About the time I get around to pulling it all up, it starts looking good again. This has gone on for two years now.

17 comments:

Dawn said...

I really love that first photo...the colors are wonderful!

Sugarplum Cottage said...

Love all the purple, It is so interesting to see all your different flowers. I don't grow cactus, but surely in this hot and humid weather we have, I could.
I really enjoy looking at yours.
Hugs, RoseMarie

Suzanne said...

These purple-blue colors are some of my favorites in a garden! Loved seeing the desert petunia. I don't think I've ever seen one!

beckie said...

Aiyana, purple is not the first color I think of when you say desert. Reds or yellows-yes, but oh, how pretty. I love the purple leaves of the Santa Rita against the red bird of paradise and moss verbena. Such a pretty color is the desert petunia(really does look like one)and the texas sage. The Chase Tree and the Purple heart are new plants to me, but are very interesting. I know what you mean about trying to get rid of a plant and then having it look great. Lovely garden plants!

Jean said...

I'm glad to see you have plants other than cactus. The purple prickly pear is wonderful and I like the desert petunia. I also like the color of the purple heart. Everything must be so striking with a sandy background instead of green. Jean

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

desert Petunias! Love those! It is such fun to come look at all your desert plants!
Lea

VINTAGE GIRL AT HEART said...

This was a very educational post for me!!! I love all of the varities that grow out there.... I love the colors and textures of all of thesebeautiful blooms!!!

Pam/Digging said...

I have, or have had, every one of the plants you show here. I had to cut down my vitex last year, as it had gotten woody and scraggly underneath, which is all you could see since it had grown so tall. However, its flowers are so gorgeous that I'd consider planting one again someday if I could reasonably expect to keep it shrub-sized. Do you just cut yours to the ground every winter?

Sara said...

Lovely, Aiyana. Are those cactus really that purple? I don't think I've ever seen anything like that.

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the prickly pear. It is so gorgeous, it looks fake. I can't believe the color.

Lancashire rose said...

Your vitex is just how it should be. I read somewhere that you should cut back the vitex to the ground every year. Too late for mine which have become huge trees. However, there are lots of replacement seedlings around.
Jenny

Deb said...

Beautiful shades of purple in your garden. I love the cactus.

kate smudges said...

The Santa Rita Prickly Pear is a gorgeous colour. I've never seen pictures of this before.

I almost bought a Desert Petunia on Friday, but didn't. They are annuals here and don't always do well.

The Texas Sage is gorgeous as is the Chaste Tree. The Tradescantia looks pretty - I wonder what you will do.

I love Pablo Neruda's poetry - from what I can tell from your profile pic, you still seem firmly in the seed pod years and not in the dust phase. I was thinking more along the lines of seedpods travelling off into the distance - little bits of us remaining here.

Laurie & Chris said...

I love all the purple!!

Julie said...

Me loves your purple heart!!!

Ginni Dee said...

Lovely photos! Your plants are so amazing. You truly have a wonderful garden.

No Rain said...

Thanks for all the comments.
Pam, in answer to your question, I don't cut the vitex to the ground. I keep about 18 inches, and that seems to control the size.